south georgia elephant seals and king penguins st andrews bay istk

South Georgia Explorer

from £9565 excluding flights

  • 14 nights
  • Nov
Home Destinations Polar Antarctica South Georgia Explorer


south georgia st andrews bay king penguins sunset istk

Visit the world’s largest king penguin rookeries

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Learn about the old whaling stations and research facilities

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See beaches filled with basking elephant and fur seals

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Encounter a host of endemic birds found nowhere else in the world

Why this trip...

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Immersive exploration

Immerse yourself in your surroundings on a true exploration of remote and spectacular areas

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Expertly guided

In-depth knowledge and expertise will enrich your experience on this trip

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Small Ships

Access remote places whilst enjoying a safe and friendly atmosphere onboard


This unique, in-depth itinerary is the perfect alternative to a classic Antarctic expedition, presenting a truly special journey following the wild and dramatic coastline of South Georgia. As one of Britain’s most remote and uninhabited territories, few places compare to South Georgia in terms of its diverse wildlife, breath-taking scenery and fascinating history.

South Georgia is sometimes knows as the “Galapagos of the Poles” due to its rich abundance and variety of wildlife. As one of the most fertile breeding grounds in the world for sub-Antarctic wildlife, you can encounter up to four different penguins species on the island, including the massive and captivating king penguin colony at Salisbury Plain. Sightings of numerous other marine mammals are possible, with beaches often covered in fur and elephant seals and plentiful colonies of birds, including albatross, skuas, petrels and terns.

The alluring wilderness of South Georgia also holds an intriguing history, with the remnants of old whaling stations and other abandoned outposts scattered across the island. South Georgia is however most well-known for Sir Ernest Shackleton’s heroic crossing of the island in 1916, in search of assistance and rescue during his ill-fated trans-Antarctic expedition. He was laid to rest on the island and you can visit his grave, which is located at the settlement of Grytviken.


Embark in the late afternoon and settle into your cabin before you set sail across down the historic Beagle Channel towards open sea.

There are many activities to keep you engaged while you are at sea. You could learn to identify the seabirds that glide alongside the ship, or attend the illustrated presentations by the Expedition Team. They will prepare you for the shore landings and Zodiac cruising to come. En-route, you’ll officially enter Antarctic waters once you cross the Antarctic Convergence, an invisible biological boundary encircling the continent.

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With breath-taking scenery and a rich abundance of wildlife, South Georgia is sure to captivate. Against a spectacular backdrop of mountains and glaciers you may encounter hundreds of thousands of pairs of king penguins, interspersed with huge elephant seals or lively fur seals, whilst albatross soar overhead.

Landing sites on the island are varied, and will be largely determined by the weather and sea conditions during your voyage. Perhaps you will cruise through the dramatic Drygalski Fjord, where jagged, sharp peaks rise straight out of the sea. You may also experience uncharted waters at King Hakkon Bay, a long, narrow inlet in an area that hasn’t yet been fully mapped. This is where the great explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton made landfall in his lifeboat in 1916, searching for rescue for his Endurance crew, who were marooned on Elephant Island. One of the most historic sites you will visit on the island is Shackleton’s resting place. You can visit his grave at the settlement of Grytviken, which was also home to one of the first whaling stations established in sub-Antarctic waters.

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After a week of endless wildlife encounters, your journey home begins. Along the way there will be plenty of time to share stories and swap photos with your fellow passengers as you reflect on everything you’ve seen.

Arrive in Ushuaia this morning and disembark, ready for your onward adventure.

  • All voyage itineraries are intended as a guideline only – embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy of expedition travel. Actual routes and landings will be dependent on weather, sea and ice conditions. A degree of flexibility is essential in the polar regions!

M/V Plancius

The M/V Plancius is a traditional ex-research vessel, with proven experience in icy waters.

  • Passengers: 116
  • Class: Ice-strengthened
  • Rubber Boots: Loan of rubber boots
  • Optional Activities
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M/V Hondius

The M/V Hondius is one of the strongest vessels of its category in the polar regions.

  • Passengers: 174
  • Class: Ice-strengthened
  • Rubber Boots: Loan of rubber boots
  • Optional Activities

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Prices and Departures

Price from £9565 excluding flights

Airfares are quoted separately to the holiday price. When enquiring, our Travel Specialists will provide the best fare possible from your preferred airline / airport.
Note: Airfares tend to be cheaper the earlier you book.

What's Included

  • Shipboard accommodation
  • All breakfasts, lunches & dinners on board
  • Tea & coffee available around the clock
  • All Zodiac transfers, cruising & shore landings
  • Presentations by the Expedition Team and guest speakers
  • Loan of rubber boots during voyage
  • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges
  • 24 hour emergency assistance from our team during your holiday
  • No surcharge guarantee
  • Full financial protection

2023/24 Departures

Prices are per person, based on a twin cabin. Due to fluctuating currencies our advertised voyage prices are indicative, and where applicable will be recalculated based on the exchange rate of the day at the time of enquiry.

Departure Duration Vessel Prices from (pp)
09 Nov 2023 15 days Plancius £9,565

2024/25 Departures

Prices are per person, based on a twin cabin. Due to fluctuating currencies our advertised voyage prices are indicative, and where applicable will be recalculated based on the exchange rate of the day at the time of enquiry.

Departure Duration Vessel Activities Prices from (pp)
27 Oct 2024 18 nights Hondius £11,773

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Tailor made trips

As independent destination specialists, we are able to tailor make holidays to suit you, be that customising the itineraries shown on this website or creating something bespoke.


Travelling sustainably

We believe travel is about finding the right balance between minimising our impact on the environment and broadening minds through new experiences and cultural interaction.