Antarctica is not really a popular tourist destination. Do we need to tell you why? The temperature of the continent remains on the negative side for most part of the year and the glacier terrain makes you struggle as you try to walk or even breathe. But tour operator ‘White Desert’ disagrees. They offer expeditions to their well equipped, upscale camp located in the middle of the icy continent, a couple of times every year. But the best part is, they offer you almost all the comforts of home at their campsite.
Patrick Woodhead, the founder of White Desert, conceived the idea of this luxury camp in 2002 while he himself was exploring Antarctica on one such expedition. He and some of his fellow travellers were stuck in a storm when they started discussing that there should be luxury transportation and accommodations available in this part of the world as well, like we have in any other part of the planet. And now, people get to live this dream during the late spring and summer season of the continent (Nov and Dec).
The highly organised trip starts as you board a five-hour private flight from Cape Town to Eastern Antarctica. The ice runway of the Dronning Maud Land is located on top of a 50 meters tall frozen waterfall. Next, you travel to the eco-friendly Whichaway Camp, which is an entirely solar and wind-powered campsite. The camp includes a living room/hall, well furnished with central warming stove, a library, maps of South Pole and fur rugs. There are six sleeping pods available at the camp. Each of these pods is made from fibreglass panels which are capable of protecting you from the notoriously strong winds of Antarctica. Each pod measures around six meters in diameter and is furnished with a double bed, attached bathroom and a writing desk.
Getting good food is not a problem at this frozen camp! All the meals are prepared by a professional South African chef. In the morning he serves you a full English breakfast which is followed by a light lunch and in the dinner you get to enjoy a classic three-course-meal which might include delicacies like salmon served with wasabi, barbequed steak and abundance of champagne.
You can participate in a number of activities such as – ice caves explorations, a visit to a nearby science station, kite-skiing and touring a colony of the Emperor penguins. This colony has more than 6,000 penguins and their chicks. At the end of each expedition, the entire camp is dismantled completely, leaving behind no trace of human interference, thus ensuring zero environmental impact. The 8 to 10 day tours can accommodate 12 people only, so if you want to experience the icy continent, you better hurry up. The cost of this expedition ranges from 18,000 to 55,000 Euros per person, depending upon the length of the tour. You can visit white-desert.com for further information.