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South Georgia Holidays

The Sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia is arguably one of the most naturally beautiful and dramatic islands in the world. Known for its huge king penguin colonies, it is long and narrow, shaped like a huge, curved, fractured and savaged whale bone, some 170 kms long and varying from 2 to 40 kms wide.

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It embraces many rocks offshore and small islands that provide rodent free homes for breeding birds and mammals. The larger ones include Willis Island and Bird Island at the north-west tip, Cooper Island off the south-east, and Annekov Island, 15 kilometres to the south-west.

Two mountain ranges (Allardyce and Salvesen) provide its spine, rising to 2,934 metres at Mount Paget’s peak (Eleven peaks exceed 2,000metres). Huge glaciers, ice caps and snowfields cover about 75% of the island in the austral summer (November to January); in winter (July to September) a snow blanket reaches the sea. The island then drops some 4,000 metres to the sea floor.

The territory of South Georgia was formed in 1985; previously it had been governed as part of the Falkland Islands Dependencies. Argentina claimed South Georgia in 1927, and the South Sandwich Islands in 1938. Argentina maintained a naval station, Corbeta Uruguay, at Port Faraday on Thule Island in the South Sandwich Islands from 1976 until 1982 when it was closed by the Royal Navy. The Argentine claim over South Georgia contributed to the 1982 Falklands War, during which Argentine forces briefly occupied the Island, and remains unresolved to this day.

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