South Georgia is a 100-mile long island with mountains and glaciers that equal the grandeur of Antarctica. There is also a green fringe of vegetation that supports a greater variety of wildlife, including the magnificent king penguin and wandering albatross and many smaller birds such as the endemic pintail and pipit, as well as teaming colonies of fur seals.
For those interested in Antarctic history, several voyages visit the scene of Shackleton’s epic crossing of the island.
The Falkland Islands are different again - an archipelago of large and small islands with pristine wildlife, unspoiled beaches and cliffs providing safe-haven for hundreds of species. The Falklands’ 2,500 human inhabitants are mainly of British descent, and can trace their origins back over 150 years to the early days of settlement. Nearly all of them live in the capital, Stanley, a colourful harbourside town. Life is relaxed and there are familiar reminders of its British heritage, such as red phone boxes and very English pubs.
“The voyage was in late March, technically late in the season, but we were astounded by how much we saw, all weathers thrown at us and a superb range of wildlife and seabirds. Enormous majestic icebergs shot through with cobalt-blue stripes floated quietly by as we sailed gently through startlingly narrow channels, necks craned to catch the top of the snowy peaks on either side.”
Fiona’s travel tips
TOP TIP: Dress in layers - you will need them.
BEST TIME TO GO: The best time of year to visit the Falkland Islands is during the Austral Summer, particularly between the months of December to February. This is the peak of wildlife activity and, usually, the warmest time of the year.
WHY NOT: Combine your voyage in the South Atlantic with a fabulous trip to Argentina or Chile – we have plenty of suggestions!
“It was a fascinating voyage with lasting impressions. The wildlife both on the Falklands and on Antarctica is incredibly rich. The organisation on board the ship was very good. Among the talks given by the scientific crew I enjoyed the witty talks by Robert Headland the most. The familiar atmosphere in the lodges on Sea Lion Island and on Carcass Island was very nice indeed. Last but not least I should like to thank you for the impeccable organisation on your part.”
Mr Hubert Kalf, Epic Antarctica icebreaker voyage