Intrepid explorers passionate about serious outdoor adventure won't find a more exhilarating way to experience Antarctica than on this one-of-a-kind polar expedition. With just seven travelers on a handful of departures each season, this is a rare opportunity! Explore the Antarctic Peninsula by ice-strengthened sailboat, surrounded by seals, whales, penguins
and icebergs. In a world where "adventure travel" has become a relative term, we've reclaimed it with this total immersion in the planet's last, most pristine wilderness. While larger, well-appointed ships have made Antarctica travel downright cushy, they have also removed travelers from a primal encounter with nature. Our exclusive sailboat voyage—with a world-class skipper and seasoned polar crew—brings it back! This genuine adventure will reward expeditionary travelers with a rare experience of one of the most remote and magnificent places on Earth.
“This adventurous journey is not a typical way to experience Antarctica, to say the least. I developed this adventure over a decade ago specifically to provide a unique adventure for a select few intrepid travelers whose desire for the thrill of discovery goes beyond even that of Nat Hab’s usual guests. This expedition requires more independence and self-reliance than our other trips do, and, in return, offers even deeper rewards.”
- Olaf Malver, Nat Hab’s CEO (Chief Exploratory Officer)
What Makes this Antarctica Adventure Stand Alone?
While Antarctica is an epic destination for adventure travelers, most visitors never fully experience this pristine polar realm. The majority travel via cruise ship, often with more than a hundred other passengers. And while such voyages generally include shore excursions and Zodiac outings, there’s still a level of buffering from the elements, from silence and solitude, that define an authentic encounter with this incomparable polar wilderness. That’s why we’ve created a different kind of Antarctica expedition – one that immerses you completely in the magic of the White Continent.
- An Exclusive Itinerary — No One Else Offers This Particular Trip
This sailboat-based itinerary is exclusively offered by Natural Habitat Adventures. While others cross the Drake Passage via cruise ship, we do it like the legendary explorers of old did—on an authentic sailing vessel! Except our modern sailboat has an ice-strengthened steel hull and state-of-the-art navigation and safety equipment, ensuring that our thrilling voyage is also a much safer one than expeditioners endured a century ago.
- A Small-Group Wilderness Immersion
We take a maximum of just seven travelers. Most Antarctica cruise ships carry from 50 to 150 passengers and sometimes more. On such voyages, you’re in the most remote place on the planet, yet you never get a break from the presence of many traveling companions, nor the noise of the ship. Our small-scale journey ensures a profound sense of solitude and quiet, which are ironically rare commodities on most Antarctica journeys!
- More Time Ashore…Alone
Most ship-based Antarctica voyages generally spend 4-6 days making shore excursions on the Antarctic Peninsula. On our sailing expedition, you'll have up to 8 days (depending on weather) to explore remote coves, beaches and icebound headlands, often on our own away from the crowds that are inevitable with larger ships.
- Exclusive Camping Opportunities
While some ships offer a chance for a single night’s camping on the ice, it happens in the company of up to 50 or 60 or more fellow travelers—not exactly the feel of a remote wilderness experience. Plus, these groups must arrive after dinner and be out by 5:30 am, without a chance to settle in for a camping experience on the ice. It's really just quick chance to sleep in the vicinity of many other fellow travelers. We, however, hold special permits from the National Science Foundation that allow us to spend up to three nights camping ashore (weather permitting), in locations far from any other human presence. When we camp, it’s just us and the penguins and seals. While camping is optional (you're welcome to sleep aboard ship instead), it’s usually a major highlight of our travelers’ experience.
- Extended Hiking Ashore for a True Wilderness Encounter
Most visitors who travel to Antarctica aboard larger ships go ashore and essentially stand on the beach, perhaps walking a short distance in large groups. While even this opportunity can be exciting, often among multitudes of penguins, it pales in comparison to the chance to really explore away from the crowds. Our small group is able to hike farther, by ourselves, in the utter, vast, pristine silence of the polar world. This is a genuine wilderness experience, and it isn't available on other itineraries.
- Guided Small-Group Kayaking Excursions
Optional opportunities for kayaking are included as you are accompanied by our experienced Expedition Leader on exciting short excursions. We explore the shoreline in very small groups to ensure the quietest and most intimate wildlife encounters. (Kayak outings from larger ships often include groups of 20 or more.) Also, in such small groups you can also receive more personalized attention from our Expedition Leader to help you improve your paddling skills quickly and efficiently.
- Sail with World-Class Polar Mariners
We've scoured the globe to find the premier vessel, captains and crew for this extraordinary expedition. You can rest assured that you'll be in the hands of preeminently qualified mariners as we cross the Drake Passage and navigate the polar waters of the Antarctic Peninsula. You'll sail with one of two preeminent skippers, each with in-depth experience in polar waters. Ben Wallis, who owns our vessel, the Australis, grew up aboard boats and has been crewing on yachts in Antarctica since 1997, when at 18 he began to join his father, a seasoned skipper in these waters. He currently sails the 75-foot Australis in both the Arctic & Antarctic polar regions for approximately eight months a year. Magnus O'Grady also skippers the Australis, spending most of his time at sea in high latitudes and around the rugged coast of New Zealand. He first sailed to Antarctica with his father at age 13 and has worked on various charter vessels in the region since 2007. Both skippers multiple certifications for offshore safety and sea survival training and guide a crew that is also exceedingly experienced in the Southern Ocean and Antarctic waters.
- Highly Personalized Guiding
While most Antarctica ship operators travel with onboard experts from naturalists to polar historians, few guests have a chance to interact with them personally. Most are consigned to attending lectures in the ship's lounge, rather than traveling with them side by side, asking myriad questions, and developing the kind of friendship that typically accompanies any shared genuine adventure. In contrast, our naturalist Expedition Leader provides a level of personalized service you just won't find on other Antarctica trips. With tremendous depth of knowledge and experience in the polar realm, as well as training and resources from WWF’s renowned scientists, our guide embodies why we hold a global reputation for hiring the very best! See Expedition Leader bios with traveler comments regarding the quality of our leaders.
- The Best Expeditionary Equipment
As part of our unwavering commitment to safety and comfort, we use the best and most up-to-date equipment available on the market, including top-quality safety and survival gear, tents, kayaks and camping equipment. Our gear is meticulously maintained, reducing the chance for unexpected mishaps as we travel.
- Our Quality-Value Guarantee Ensures Your Antarctica Expedition
With Natural Habitat Adventures, you receive our exclusive quality & value guarantee, clearly stating that we will meet the lofty expectations we set in our promotional materials. To our knowledge, this is the most ambitious guarantee made by any adventure travel company. Read our important promise.
- Feel Good About the Way You Travel
We all care about the planet, and on this adventure you can travel knowing that the emissions from your trip are 100-percent carbon-offset—Natural Habitat is the world’s first carbon-neutral travel company.
- Natural Habitat is WWF's Travel Partner
Because of our commitment to environmentally friendly travel, as well as the exceptional quality of our worldwide adventures, we have been chosen by World Wildlife Fund—the world's leading environmental conservation organization—as its worldwide travel partner, a designation that makes us exceedingly proud!