The White Desert ultimate adventure, with a visit to the largest emperor penguin colony in the world.
Visit the “last continent,” and go where few have been—to Antarctica. See landscapes that will take your breath away while you visit with luxury and style. See virgin white snow, clear skies, the magical blue of pure glacier ice and the brilliant yellow of the emperor penguin—the world’s largest penguin.
Welcome to White Desert Antarctica, a unique travel company established by polar exploration duo Patrick and Robyn Woodhead. They created White Desert to share the wonders and extraplanetary ambiance of Antarctica and the South Pole.
Antarctica is now an exclusive backdrop for adventure, luxury and pampering. In this isolated corner of the world, you can relish in being unplugged from the rest of our planet while surrounded by pristine vistas, dramatic mountain ranges, unique wildlife encounters and 24 hours of daylight.
White Desert offers an eight day expedition that begins with a private jet journey from Cape Town to Antarctica. On day one, guests are transported on a five-hour flight across the Southern Ocean, flying over thousands of icebergs. During the flight, guests enter the Polar Circle and encounter the continuous daylight of the Antarctic summer. After landing on the ancient blue ice of the runway, guests travel to one of three remote camps.
In this isolated corner of the world, you can relish in being unplugged from the rest of our planet while surrounded by pristine vistas, dramatic mountain ranges, unique wildlife encounters and 24 hours of daylight.
White Desert has three luxury camps—Whichaway, Echo and Wolf’s Fang—that operate from mid-November to early February. Whichaway is the flagship luxury camp, while Echo, new in 2022, is a camp designed in a futuristic style—inspired by astronauts and Star Wars. Wolf’s Fang is the base camp for guests seeking the most physical and adventurous activities.
Each camp is small, hosting up to 12 guests in 6 separate bedrooms/pods, including a pod for showering, with hot and cold running water. At each camp, you will savor gourmet meals and relax in tastefully appointed, heated accommodations with individual sink wash areas and toilets. Guests can relax and enjoy the yoga and sauna pod with views of the glaciers, sip cocktails made with 10,000-year-old ice and discover fine South African wines.
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On day two, guests settle into their camp. Many activities are offered including, gentle trekking, exploring the incredible ice waves, summiting a mountain ridge nunatak, ice climbing, abseiling, practicing yoga and enjoying massages.
On day three, guests fly two hours across Antarctica, taking in beautiful views of the nearby mountain ranges and coastline. The highlight of the day is the landing at the emperor penguin colony at Atka Bay. This is the penguin experience you dream about. You will be among the very few able to observe the real-life stars of March of the Penguins.
This penguin colony was also the site of the first episode of Sir David Attenborough’s ground-breaking documentary series entitled Seven Worlds, One Planet. This Atka Bay habitat is home to more than 28,000 adult emperor penguins and their young chicks. With no natural predators on the land, the penguins are unafraid of humans, allowing visitors to observe the noise and commotion of the vast colony, up close. Experience this unique connection with the natural world offered nowhere else on Earth!
On day four, guests explore the ice waves below the camp and delve into a series of surreal and beautiful ice tunnels. Then you’ll be off on an arctic truck safari, winding your way through the snow and ice to an incredible vantage point. Here, you can enjoy the panoramic view over the waves that you have just explored.
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On day five, you will leave early in the morning in the Basler BT-67 aircraft and fly over stunning mountain ranges, before landing at 83° South to refuel. After a walk on the High Polar Plateau, your flight will continue to the South Pole, 435 miles further south. Here you will have plenty of time to take in the landscape, document with photos, and stamp your passport to memorialize your visit!
Then, you will fly back to 83° South and spend the night in Dixie Camp, the comfortable and simple camp in the great wilderness of the Plateau. Camp Dixie is so remote, its nearest neighbor is the International Space Station, orbiting over 250 miles overhead.
On day six, you’ll enjoy a hearty breakfast before boarding a plane back to your Antarctica. This flight, as well as the others during the trip, enable guests to appreciate the pristine beauty and immense scale of Antarctica. On the sixth evening, enjoy another gourmet dinner and celebrate your achievement as a world explorer.
On day seven, guests can choose from many activities, like gentle hikes and more rigorous explorations. The adventurers can hike along the face of a winding cliff and observe stunning views of pressure ridges of ice, folded over millennia by the ocean. The White Desert world-class mountain guides will lead you on this challenging hike.
On day eight, with your fellow explorers, you will bid farewell to the amazing White Desert team, Antarctica and the South Pole. The flight home from Antarctica provides you time to reflect on your enduring memories before you dive into the vibrant, captivating energy of South Africa and Cape Town.
This eight-day expedition is for a privileged few, at a cost of about $100,000 per person. Or, visit Antarctica for a day for $15,000. This “greatest day” one-day, round-trip flight from Cape Town provides visitors with three hours on the ice, including a trek to a nearby peak and a lavish explorers’ picnic.
White Desert offers you the memories and adventures of a lifetime. Check these magical moments off your bucket list—the adventures of visiting Antarctica and the South Pole, climbing ice landscapes, exploring iridescent ice tunnels, hiking over ice waves, seeing unbroken horizons, admiring shimmering icebergs and towering rock spires, and coming face-to-face with a colony of 28,000 emperor penguins.
An additional fantastic way to visit Antarctica is on an expedition cruise. It is important that your ship has no more than 200 guests so that you can disembark to explore on kayaks, enjoy zodiac rides and hike along onshore landings. Several of the premium cruise lines have state of the art luxury expedition ships with Antarctica sailings, including Silversea Expeditions, Lindblad Expeditions, Abercrombie & Kent Expeditions, Ponant Expeditions, Seabourn Expeditions, Scenic Cruises, Atlas Ocean Voyages, Hurtigruten Expeditions, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises and Aurora Expeditions.
As David Attenborough says, “Antarctica still remains a remote, lonely and desolate continent. A place where it’s possible to see the splendors and immensities of the natural world at its most dramatic and, what’s more, witness them almost exactly as they were, long, long before human beings ever arrived on the surface of this planet. Long may it remain so.”
THE GIFT OF GIVING
Founded with environmentally conscious principles at its core, White Desert seeks to positively impact Antarctica’s future. The company uses its aviation and ground logistics to transport scientists to their Antarctic research stations and supports scientific missions, such as climate change research. This work includes being a leader in testing sustainable aviation fuels across its fleet. The team and their Antarctica Ambassadors Program help to support the goals of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) to protect and inspire the future stewardship of Antarctica’s unique environment and support conservation efforts.
To help with environment conservation, follow the work of The Ocean Cleanup and contribute. You’ll find out how this organization is developing and scaling technologies to: rid the oceans of plastic, to stop more plastic from flowing into the oceans, and help clean up the millions of tons already out there. This work is crucial to the health of Antarctica, The South Pole, and our planet.
READY TO GO?
White Desert Antarctica has partnered with DavidTravel to offer a departure with a customized visit to Cape Town, optional pre and post travels in Southern Africa and the eight-day Antarctica & South Pole journey staying at Whichaway Camp from January 17 to 24, 2024, with special 2022 pricing.
For your business and leisure travels worldwide, call on David Rubin and his staff at DavidTravel. In 1996, David moved from a successful law practice, followed a deep passion for travel and launched his travel company. David is on both the Travel + Leisure “A-List” and the Conde Nast Traveler “Specialist List” of the best travel advisors for delivering unparalleled style, attention to detail, and insider access uniquely responding to each client’s goals, budget, interests and dreams at www.DavidTravel.com.
BEST OF THE BEST
Africa, Antarctica and The South Pole
We recommend White Desert‘s eight-day itinerary, plus Cape Town & African travels.
White Desert Flights:
Cape Town to Antarctica: 5 hours each way
Flight to Emperor Penguins: 2.5 hours each way
Flight to South Pole: 7 hours each way
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