Discover wild, intriguing lands few have seen !
Steeped in Shackleton and whaling lore, covered mostly in glaciers, South Georgia explodes with life: king, gentoo, and macaroni penguins, enormous elephant seals and a thriving fur seal population. On South Georgia you can observe one of the world’s great wildlife spectacles: tens of thousands of stately king penguins on a single beach. See the human face of the region in the Falklands, reminiscent of Great Britain, with grazing sheep, tea and crumpets. And in this privileged place, the albatross reveal the beauty of their mysterious lives.
A glimpse of the wildlife spectacle of South Georgia & The Falklands
- Walk amid stately king penguins—tens of thousands on a single beach in South Georgia.
- Observe magnificent albatross in the Falklands, and see Magellanic penguins peeking from their burrows.
- Hike in the footsteps of “the Boss,” Sir Ernest Shackleton, and hear his tale of survival.
- Paddle a kayak amid curious fur seals, and explore in a Zodiac among the bergs.
More time for incredible wildlife experiences
This expedition maximizes your time experiences the wildlife spectacle of South Georgia’s incredible coastline. Discover penguin colonies that sprawl to the horizon. Wade through tussock grass along a hillside dotted with nesting albatross. Share a beach with 8,000-pound battling elephant seals.
Human element of the sub-Antarctic
Meet the welcoming islanders of the Falklands and learn about their unique way of life on this remote region. Explore Stanley, the island’s capital, with the quaint feel of a Scottish island. It was once a port for repairing ships after damaging Drake Passage voyages, or refueling steamships going around Cape Horn. It became something of a forgotten outpost once the Panama Canal opened and its residents became largely reliant on sheep farming. Today, fine Falkland wool is still regarded as among the best in the world. Meet some of the 2,500 residents, you’ll find most of them travel abroad for their educations and return with new skills to further develop the islands to their true potential in a changing world.
Walk in Shackleton’s footsteps
Ernest Shackleton’s famed Endurance expedition was beset by tragedy when he lost his ship in the Antarctic ice in 1914. Through extraordinary leadership and dogged, relentless effort, none of his men were lost; all were saved in 1916. We’ll visit the site where he landed after sailing across the Drake Passage in a lifeboat, as well as the now ruined whaling station he hiked to for help.
Experience Buenos Aires, too
Discover the highlights and some hidden gems of Buenos Aires on a carefully curated day of exploring the city. See the Beaux-Arts palaces and the famous balcony forever associated with Eva Perón. Enjoy plenty of exclusive events before a group charter flight to Ushuaia to embark National Geographic Explorer.
Every day is exciting and engaging
You’ll get out on adventures every day we’re in South Georgia and the Falklands. The Falklands are ideal for walking adventures, with some hikes ending in a “cream tea” served in the parlor of a welcoming farmhouse. In all locations, your expedition leader will enable daily Zodiac cruises and kayak expeditions too, sometimes twice a day—creating the opportunity for you to experience the wonders with all your senses, at water-level or eye-level. Days at sea offer engaging presentations from staff on history, photography, and more—or opt to relax, too. Enjoy the view from behind Explorer’s panoramic glass windows. Or visit the fitness center with its generous views of the ice vistas, or ease into the sauna or a massage in the wellness center.
Falkland Islands Penguins
There are five species of penguins in the Falkland Islands. Rockhopper penguins have the highest numbers, followed by Gentoo and Magellanic, and then King penguins. Macaroni penguins are more elusive – you’ll have to work harder to see one of these Rockhopper lookalikes mingling discreetly among their yellow-feathered buddies.
When to see Gentoo penguins in the Falkland Islands
Gentoo’s can be found in the Falklands all year round. The best time to see their chicks is from when they hatch mid-November, through to February.
When to see King penguins in the Falkland Islands
As the breeding cycle of the King penguin takes over a year, there are always penguins at Volunteer Point. But over the winter months, chicks are largely left to themselves with their parents only returning sporadically to feed them. Chicks start hatching late January and don’t go to sea until they have their adult feathers – around 10-11 months later.
When to see Rockhopper penguins in the Falkland Islands
Rockhopper penguins are migratory birds. They return to the Falklands Islands in early October to breed and leave again by the end of April.
When to see Magellanic penguins in the Falkland Islands
Magellanic penguins return to the Falklands in the summer months to breed. They start arriving in early September and return to the same burrow they left the year before. The burrows are deserted again by the end of April.
When to see Macaroni penguins in the Falkland Islands
They share another similarity with Rockhopper penguins – their breeding patterns. Macaroni penguins return to the Falklands in October and after rearing their young, return to sea in April.
• Marvel as you sit quietly alongside the largest black-browed albatross colony in the world, observing as they take off, land, court, and preen each other.
• Explore seldom-visited corners of this archipelago, traveling with a freedom increasingly more difficult in our crowded world.
• Enjoy the flexibility and serenity of being aboard a small, 12-passenger vessel.
• Take ample time to create your best photographs, and/or discover the joy of participating in scientific research.
Itinerary Updated: June 2019
In the Falkland Islands, average temperatures range from nighttime lows of about 35°F (2°C) to daytime highs of 50°F (10°C). Wet, penetrating cold is not usually a problem, but you will need to protect against almost constant wind and sea splash, especially when riding in the Zodiacs.
In Punta Arenas, the average temperatures range from nighttime lows of about 37°F (3°C) to daytime highs of about 51°F (11°C).
Participating in this voyage does not require a high level of physical fitness, but please be sure that you can: (1) stay without medical assistance for the duration of the trip, (2) swim or float, (3) be sufficiently stable on your feet that you can, for example, stand on a bus/train in normal conditions without (or minimally) holding on, (4) get in and out of a Zodiac on a beach with a little swell, (5) walk 10 blocks without getting exhausted, and (6) climb a 6ft vertical ladder. Once on shore, you can walk for short or long distances (within specified guidelines); it is up to you. Landing details will be given in advance of each landing. Please contact us if you have any health or fitness concerns that may make this trip challenging.
The tour will start from Punta Arenas, Chile
Arrive in Punta Arenas, Chile. Transfer to your hotel for a free day to rest or explore this quaint city.