For White Desert you fly to Antarctica’s interior on a business jet from Cape Town, before getting around on a mix of arctic six-by-six trucks and small jets. Antarctica cruises depart from Patagonia in South America, either Punta Arenas in Chile or Ushuaia in Argentina, so it’s common to combine Antarctica with either of these countries. Fly cruises are a good option. A three-hour flight saves two days of cruising the ocean, meaning you have more time in Antarctica.
Climate & seasons
Antarctica is the most remote and inhospitable place on the planet and even during summer the ambient temperature is below freezing. Winter travel is not possible. Expedition cruises run from November to March and interior exploration is only possible late-November to early February. The early season is colder with the most pristine snowy landscapes. Mid-December to January are the warmest, most favourable months, when the sun doesn’t set. Shrinking sea ice means you can cruise deeper into Antarctica and see more whales during February and March. Antarctica has a dry, manageable cold, but storms still occur in summer, so every itinerary has some flexibility.
Where to go
Cruises go to Antarctica’s peninsula along with nearby islands, like South Georgia and the Shetlands. White Desert is the only operator taking travellers to Antarctica’s interior, including all the way to the South Pole. It’s a huge continent but while tens of thousands of annual visitors go to the peninsula, only a few hundred see the interior.
What to do
A White Desert itinerary is highly customisable. Go on an expedition to climb an unclimbed peak or explore an unexplored area, or experience different activities like ice climbing, mountaineering, fat biking, while visiting ice caves, blue rivers and the South Pole. Cruise itineraries typically offer kayaking, hiking and camp-out excursions. Every itinerary is likely to include a big colony of penguins and other marvellous wildlife.