On arrival in Cape Town, you will be met by one of the Abercrombie & Kent team for your private transfer to The Silo Hotel. Newly opened just this year, this is Cape Town’s most exciting new hotel, with only 28 individually designed rooms located over six floors above the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA).
If you wish, enjoy a private tour of the Zeitz MOCAA, home to Africa’s largest collection of contemporary African art. As one of the founding members, A&K is proud to support the museum’s main aim of encouraging intercultural understanding.
Geoffrey will host a private expedition dinner in the evening.
Today you will venture up to the stunning winelands of Constantia – located about 25 minutes’ drive from the city – where you will meet some of your expedition support team, have a thorough introduction to the Antarctic adventure that lies ahead of you and check through all your kit and items of polar clothing to ensure you are fully equipped and comfortable. Everything will be provided to you.
You’ll return to your hotel in the afternoon before being chauffeur driven in glorious vintage cars to The Test Kitchen Restaurant for dinner.
Owned by Luke Dale-Roberts, one of South Africa’s most celebrated chefs, the restaurant is famed for its innovative creations, fresh flavours and gastronomic excellence.
We’ll aim to depart at 10:00am from the private jet facility at Cape Town International Airport where your Gulfstream pilots will be waiting for you. With the official destination registered as “Unknown International Airport” you’ll fly for five and a half hours across the mighty Southern Ocean, crossing thousands of icebergs spreading out across the sea.
Halfway through the flight, you’ll cross into the polar circle and into 24 hours of continuous daylight.
Landing on your private specialist ice runway, named ‘Wolfs Fang”, you will immediately be able to appreciate the vastness of your surroundings as the horizon stretches into the distance, punctuated only by a row of jagged mountain peaks.
A separate ski equipped aircraft will then ferry you the short 25 minute hop to your luxury camp, Whichaway, which has been diligently designed and now meets Geoffrey Kent Inspiring Expedition discerning demands. We’ll take you for a gentle trek around this snowy oasis to orientate you to your new surroundings.
On your first day, we will head to the 650ft long ice caves. The tunnels are made of iridescent blue ice that is as surreal as it is unique. You are able to walk through them and experience the still air and bizarre ice formations that are carved by meltwater. On the way back, we’ll use our specialist 4x4s to drive to the nearby science base to meet some of the scientists that have been there undertaking research throughout the winter.
You will leave early in the morning in a BT-67 Turbo prop plane and fly five hours across the High Polar Plateau. Landing at 83 degrees south to refuel, you will have the chance to walk around and experience for yourself this daunting environment, before we continue on for another two hours to reach the South Pole itself. This is the lowest point on earth, the holy grail of the old explorer. Here you will be standing at a place that has no more East, South, or West – the only direction on the planet is North.
At the South Pole marker, you can walk around the planet in just a few steps. After a special ceremony, you’ll be taken into the Amundsen-Scott American science station for an exclusive tour to witness firsthand their often ground-breaking research. We will then camp for the night near to the South Pole itself. The camp site consists of modern full-height tents with camp beds, mattresses and specialist sleeping bags.
After a hearty breakfast, you’ll board the plane once again for the flight back to camp. The flight is the perfect chance to truly appreciate the immense scale of Antarctica.
Today, we use the 4x4s to drive to a vast rock cliff that overlooks the ice waves. Our guides have established a ‘via cordita’ or ‘rope walk’ where you follow a path that winds over the cliff edge. It is technically easy, but more than a little exciting.
Then there may be time for lessons in skiing, or snow mobiling, or under expert tutelage you may choose to do a giant abseil off the nearby Nunatak mountain.
We fly two hours across Antarctica, skimming across the spectacular coastline before landing at the Emperor Penguin colony. We are the only group to visit this specific colony and surrounded by approximately 6,000 emperor penguins and their newly hatched chicks, you will be able to get up close and personal to these real life stars of “March of the Penguins”.
At this time of year, the chicks are still covered in their grey down feathers and we spend the day photographing them and their doting parents. There are occasionally Weddell seals in the area as well, and they lie next to their breathing holes cut from the ice by their own teeth, entirely unafraid of their proximity to humans.
In the late afternoon, we’ll fly back to our camp.
A short 45-minute flight brings us to the Drygalski mountain range, an area that consists of huge monoliths of rock rising vertically out of the ice and often reaching to over 3,200ft in height.
With our expert guides leading the way, you will have the chance to do something truly memorable – to climb a virgin summit in Antarctica. Building a rock mound (or ‘cairn’) on the highest point to prove that you were there, you will have the right to name the mountain for the history books
We’ll improvise a diet of adventures each day according to conditions, but you’ll also have wonderful guest speakers to compliment your activities. One such talk would be a presentation by one of our record-breaking polar guides about the history of the race to the South Pole. Told in the most evocative setting imaginable, you will be transported back to the time of Scott and Amundsen as they pitted everything to be the first to reach the lowest point on earth. The tale reads like a Hollywood script and culminates in the death of Scott and his four companions.
Today may well be a great day to picnic on the summit of a small ridge a way from camp. The location offers the most spectacular views out across the frozen icebergs on the coast.
In the morning, we will be prepared for your flight back to Cape Town. You’ll transfer back to Wolfs Fang runway for the five and a half hour flight to Cape Town. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel, The Silo, where you will have a chance to relax in a hot bath while reminiscing on once in a lifetime memories.
After a good night’s rest, we’ll help you with your onward journey plans to make it home in time for the holidays.