September 9, 2021

September Antarctica 2021

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In Residence The Great Escape

Photo credit: © Kelvin Trautman

It is a rare privilege to set foot on Antarctica’s ancient blue ice and immerse yourself in an otherworldly environment guaranteed to fascinate, challenge and change you. Antarctica is not to be trifled with; it is a vast, ancient world owned—and tamed—by no one. Parts of this ice-sheet continent have had continuous glacier cover for perhaps as long as 20 million years.

Just a five-hour flight by Gulfstream jet from Cape Town gets you to Wolf’s Fang ice runway in Queen Maud Land.

Photo credit: Wolf's Fang Cocktails & Canapes

WolfsFang_CocktailsCanapes

The crystal air, remarkable light, the sculptural sweep of snow and ice, and the sharp mountain peaks of the Henriksen Nunataks that pierce through the glaciers envelop you. Expect to be dwarfed by the wild, austere majesty.

Antarctica’s landscapes are surreal and hauntingly beautiful. The luminous light in the ice tunnels whittled out beneath the Southern Ocean makes them a photographer’s dream. From the summit of a nunatak, the horizon is endless: the world’s largest ice sheet is the essence of infinity. The wind etches its stories into the shapes and forms of the frozen landscape, and the glacial meltwater rivers and streams form turquoise capillaries that undulate through the bright white snowscapes during the ephemeral Antarctic summer.

From the warm cocoon of your base camp, each day brings new encounters and new wonders. Even now, reaching the southernmost point on Earth is a feat achieved by very few and it certainly is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. A flight to the geographic South Pole brings you to the Amundsen-Scott South Pole station made famous by those legendary polar explorers.

MarkoPrezelj
MarkoPrezelj

Photo credit: © Marko Prezelj

For the wildlife lover, a day at the 28,000-strong colony of emperor penguins in Atka Bay—the largest penguin species is life-changing. Emperor penguins have no natural predators so are unafraid of humans, giving you the chance to immerse yourself in the noise and commotion of the colony. At the fringes, you may see predatory Southern Giant Petrels and South Polar Skuas, as well as Leopard and Wedder seals.

Thrill-seekers will rise to the challenge of scaling blue-ice glaciers—formed millennia ago—or summiting a nunatak during rock-climbing expeditions guided by former world-champion climbers. Antarctica is not just for athletes, however. If ice climbing or abseiling down an ice wall are not on your bucket list, treks and exploration by ski or skidoo give you unprecedented access to this snowy wonderland. And there is enormous peace and serenity to be found in gentle hikes in these pristine surrounds. Listen out for the sounds of silence: from the wail of the wind to the ghostly singing of the vibrating ice shelf or the sharp cracks of breaking sea ice reverberating through the icy air. The Antarctic soundtrack is a phenomenon of its own: curiously compelling and one-hundred-percent natural.

The Antarctic season is short – these camps are accessible only in the southern hemisphere summer months of November to January, so book now.

Given the vagaries of the Antarctic weather, you must be based in Cape Town for at least two days before your scheduled departure date, ready for a weather gap. But who needs an excuse to visit this über-cool city? In Residence by Pieter Brundyn has exclusive-use villas to match the wow factor of Antarctica, albeit for completely different reasons – so speak to us to find your perfect match.

 

“But Antarctica is never just a journey. It’s in the nature of this remarkable place that traversing it is always about something more than the challenges of its geography.”
–Stanley Stewart, Condé Nast Traveler

“…I felt in awe of this place, of its scale, its splendour, its beauty. And with that awe, my own life, with all its anxieties and concerns, its minor triumphs and rather less minor failures, its pain and its hurts, shrank away.”  
–Stanley Stewart, Condé Nast Traveler

“I am haunted by Antarctica… Nothing prepares you for this place. It is a continent of superlatives—the coldest, driest, highest, windiest space on the planet. But its beauty is what will break your heart.”
–Stanley Stewart, Condé Nast Traveler

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