The sub-Antarctic region of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands is a remote and pristine destination that offers a unique and unforgettable experience for those seeking adventure in a truly wild environment. Freshly back from a 20 day expedition to South Georgia and Antarctica I can attest, visiting South Georgia is a MUST!
The British overseas territory of South Georgia is not a typical tourist hotspot. South Georgia is among the most remote and least visited destinations in the World! Yet, the rewards for making the journey is experiencing the most diverse marine wildlife ecosystems in the world. More diverse than the Galapagos! No words can describe it, other than majestic…
If you are considering a visit to the Antarctic, do not skip South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. For animal lovers and expeditioners, South Georgia will quickly become your favorite spot on earth.
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands are renowned for their abundant and diverse wildlife. I cannot put into words the spectacular scenery and animals I witness while on land and zodiac tours. Imagine going to shore and finding over 100,00 king Penguins standing elegantly awaiting your arrival. 3.5 feet tall in all their glamor, unbothered by your arrival!
N o words to describe the magnitude of how beautiful this place is. Goosebumps. My eyes could not retain the rich nature without tearing up with emotion. The summer months coincide with the breeding season, making it the optimal time to witness incredible displays of nature. Iconic species such as king penguins, elephant seals, and albatrosses particularly.
Beaches feature bustling colonies of penguins. Thousands of chicks hatching and learning to navigate the world. Elephant and fur seals give birth to their pups, and the air is filled with the majestic sight of albatrosses soaring overhead.
For those interested in wildlife and observing the natural behavior of these incredible creatures, this is the place!
When To Visit – Seasons and Weather
The window to visit South Georgia is limited. The islands experience a sub-Antarctic climate, characterized by cold temperatures, strong winds, and frequent precipitation. The summer season, November to March. This is the only time you’ll find small cruise ships and expedition companies visiting. During the summer, temperatures are slightly warmer than the Antarctic Peninsula. Temperatures range from -2 to 8 degrees Celsius. On my own visit over New Years 2024 it snowed briefly on NYE, but New Year’s day was blue skies and sunny, around 5 degrees (41 F).
Overall, the conditions were perfect. Both comfortable for exploring the stunning landscapes and observing the incredible wildlife. I was left in awe wanting more each day.
Accessibility & Stops
While South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands are not the easiest destinations to reach, expedition cruises to the islands are making it possible.
Most expeditions will stop in the main research station, Grytviken. Here you can visit King Edward Point, pay respects at Ernest Shackleton grave, and send a postcard to loved ones from the small post office! Plus, no visit to South Georgia would be complete without a walk through a whaling station which has since been taken back by nature. Now refuge to king penguins, seals, nesting seabirds and more.
Stops in South Georgia will be determined by the local authorities. There are over 50 landing sites available to expedition ships and a local administrator travels with you to ensure strict biosecurity standards are met. South Georgia is inhabited by less than 50 people and leaving no trace is a guiding principle.
Most expeditions will not visit the sandwich islands group due to their remoteness. The Sandwich Islands are uninhabited and further southeast from South Georgia. Made up of Southern Thule island, Saunders Montagu and Bristol Islands the are within the exclusive fishing zone protected by the British Antarctic Survey team.
Ready to plan your expedition to South Georgia? Contact me (Rocky) today. I am very familiar with the different companies that visit South Georgia and the deals that are available. Nearly all companies that visit South Georgia also visit Antarctica. Trips generally run 17-24 days in length.
There are limited options which visit the Falkland Islands and South Georgia only. These are typically offered by Lindblad Expeditions. Yet Seabourn, Scenic, Swan Hellenic, and others visit South Georgia once or twice a year. There are also expeditions which do Cape to Cape crossing and visit islands in the South Atlantic Ocean. These are often the most affordable way to visit South Georgia.
Captain James Cook was the first known person to visit South Georgia and Sir Ernest Shackleton spent time here in the early 19th century. Yet other than whalers and seafarers, these islands have gone relatively untouched. Allowing the local wildlife population to thrive. A visit to South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands offers incredible wildlife spectacles, optimal photographic opportunities, and an experience unlike any other. Before this, I thought nothing was more spectacular than the great migration in Africa. Man, was I wrong!
Whether you’re a wildlife enthusiast, a nature photographer, or someone seeking a unique and remote adventure, a visit to South Georgia provides an unparalleled experience in one of the world’s most pristine and untouched environments. It takes a couple of days to get here by ship, but it’s SO different from Antarctica. Do not miss South Georgia. If you do, you’re going to have to plan another trip back to Antarctica and South Georgia, because there’s nowhere else like it in the world! I missed South Georgia on my first trip to Antarctica and the FOMO was real and justified.
Contact me at Scott & Thomas Travel to book your South Georgia Expedition today!