Written by Lindsay Krause
A remote land of elemental forces – snow, ice, water and rock make up the otherworldly landscape of Antarctica. The seventh continent’s barren terrain remains untouched by humans, belonging only to the penguins colonizing the white wilderness and the pods of killer and humpback whales in the waters. A bucket list destination for most and final frontier of adventure travel, Antarctica is so remote that few will ever experience its coastline, let alone its interiors. But Ker & Downey® Africa, in collaboration with our expert on the ground team, now offer an exclusive day trip from Cape Town to Antarctica.
Time restricted travelers can now experience the thrill of Earth’s southernmost continent within a 24 hour day trip from South Africa to Antarctica. Previously only accessible by a 10-21 day boat cruise from Argentina or New Zealand, you can now board a private Gulfstream jet in Cape Town and arrive in the interior of Antarctica a mere 5 hours later.
Covering approximately 540,000 square miles, 98% of Antarctica is covered by a 40 million-year-old ice sheet, roughly the same size as the USA. The isolated continent remains uninhabited by humans and instead, the frozen landscape is home to million-strong Emperor Penguin colonies, the colossal albatross, 6 different species of seal and whales that migrate through the iceberg flanked channels each year. Visiting this immense, untouched landscape can be dwarfing. From enormous ice shelves, jarring mountain peaks, and tremendous glaciers, Antarctica gives everyone who discovers its remote interiors a newfound perspective on man vs. nature.
Starting in the City of Cape Town, your day trip to Antarctica begins with a safety briefing and a weather forecast to ensure you are properly kitted out for the icy landscapes down south. A mere 24 hours later, board a private 12 seater jet and transfer 2,400 miles from the southernmost tip of Africa to the icy wonderland of Antarctica. The 5-hour flight takes you through the dark African night into 24 hours of continuous sunshine while soaring over thousands of icebergs floating in the Southern Ocean. Touch down on the blue ice runway at Wolf Fang’s mountain range where you’ll be greeted by your expert guides. Surrounded by the white deserts of Antarctica, the runway sits beneath mile high monoliths of rock rising vertically from the ice. From here, you will be guided on a gentle hike to the base of the nearby Nunatak mountain and enjoy a champagne picnic at the summit with unrivalled views of the surrounding landscape. Who would guess that only 5 hours ago you were still in warm South Africa? Capture that photo for your bucket list album before being guided back to the jet for your return flight. End it all off with a drink chilled with 10,000-year-old Antarctic ice as you soar over the Southern Sea back to Cape Town.
With (sometimes) brutal katabatic winds reaching speeds of 198 mph, a trip to Antarctica is entirely weather dependent. Antarctica remains the coldest location on Earth and ‘Summer’, if you can call it that, in Antarctica falls over the months of December to March. Here the sun shines for over 24 hours a day and temperatures reach 34 degrees Fahrenheit / 1 degree Celsius. During the months of December to February, young penguin chicks start to hatch, pods of whales migrate to the icy waters and wildlife is plentiful. However, to catch the icescapes in their most undisturbed state, we suggest taking a trip to Antarctica during the month of November before the summer sun melts the colossal icebergs and glaciers.
One day not enough for your liking? Check out our 10 day South Africa to Antarctica Expedition. Catering to only 12 guests per expedition and professional polar explorers as your guides, the days’ itineraries are tailored to each individual. From gentle trekking through ice tunnels, traversing the snow in a 4×4 and hiking under gigantic ice shelves to more adrenaline-fueled activities, such as kite-skiing, ice climbing, zip lining and rappelling down mountainsides. And your shelter for the night? The uber-luxurious Whichaway Camp – a constellation of igloo-inspired sleeping pods complete with old-world style interiors and a private chef.
Planning to tick Antarctica off your adventure bucket list? Get in touch with one of our expert Ker & Downey® Africa Adventurists who can help you add this day trip to Antarctica to your next South Africa safari or extend your trip with our epic 10 day South Africa to Antarctica Expedition.