The Antarctic is one of the least visited regions on the planet, but as there is so much to see here, it is well worth making the effort to travel to the world’s most southerly continent.
A trip to the Antarctic really is like nothing you’ll have experienced before. The landscape is made up of awe-inspiring ice formations and features vast, white cliffs and mountains that glisten in the sun.
Antarctic cruises: what to look out for
An Antarctic expedition is a fantastic opportunity to see some truly unique wildlife. The animals that live on the immense ice plains are highly evolved to cope with the hostile environment and freezing temperatures.
Among the creatures you can see while sailing around the Antarctic are emperor penguins, leopard seals, orcas, minke whales, chinstrap penguins and fur seals, to name just a few. Don’t forget to look up into the sky, though, as you are likely to spot albatrosses, skuas, petrels and shearwaters gliding through the air.
To make the most of the wildlife-watching opportunities during your Antarctic holiday, you’ll be able to get closer to shore in a small zodiac craft, allowing you to enjoy a good look at some of the amazing animals that live on the ice.
There will also be opportunities to go ashore, depending on the itinerary you choose, with the Remote South Georgia trip from Explore Worldwide offering a ski exploring option that will see you attempt to cross the island from south to north on a ski trek.
Choosing when to travel
The Antarctic summer begins in October and ends in March, so you’ll need to book your Antarctic adventure during this period. You can look forward to 24 hours of daylight at this time of the year, which means you can really make the most of your break.
Depending on what you want to see, you’ll need to choose your month carefully, as the changing landscape throughout the summer means the wildlife you can spot varies.
For example, November is the best time to travel if you’re interested in watching some of the fascinating mating rituals between the seabirds, while December and January are the best times to observe the penguin chicks and baby seals.
Later in the season, when the ice floes are at their thinnest, you can venture further into the Antarctic, and this is also when you are most likely to spot humpback and minke whales, among other marine mammals.
Of course, it isn’t only the wildlife that is worth seeing on an Antarctic expedition, but also the vast plains, cliffs and mountains of ice that glisten in the sunlight. The size of the icebergs that drift around the mainland is awe inspiring.
If you’re keen to get closer to the huge ice peaks or explore some of the expansive ice plains, it’s best to choose a trip that involves some shore excursions. Snowshoeing is a good way to get around off the boat and will allow you to marvel at the tranquility in Antarctica, as well as its stunning scenery.
For a really unforgettable experience, pick a trip that includes a visit to one of the scientific research centres that operate in the area. Among the facilities you can spend time at are the Ukrainian Vernadsky Station and the British research station on Goudier Island, where there’s also a post office!