White Desert Camp to Open on Antarctica

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Visiting Antarctica may have changed in the years since explorer Apsley Cherry-Garrard said it was “the most isolated way of having a bad time which has been devised,” and, as ways to access the world’s most isolated continent grow and so, too, do visitor numbers.

One of the more ambitious ways to see Antarctica is with White Desert, which has released its dates for the 2013 Antarctic summer—excursions begin in November. Whether you have three days to spare on a whistle-stop tour of the frozen wilderness, or can find the time for an eight-day emperor penguin safari, the itineraries at White Desert are as varied as the address is remote.

After a five-hour flight across the Southern Ocean from Cape Town, guests will be taken to one of seven Antarctic pods—six of which are en-suite bedrooms, each more than six meters in diameter. The interiors include bedding, bathroom, and writing desk, while a separate tent offers full shower facilities.

The management team is not short on polar experience—16,000 kilometers logged between them on skies in the polar regions—while Jenna Viney, originally from the Natal Midlands in South Africa, who trained under Mike Bassett at Ginga, one of Cape Town’s best restaurants, prepares seafood, barbecued steaks, and full English breakfasts. Come evening time, guests will be served champagne while field guides—including adventurers Robyn Garratt and Patrick Woodhead—offer presentations on topics ranging from local environmental challenges to stories of the lesser-known exploits of the continent’s early explorers.

But the real draw here is what’s on offer outside. Guests will be able to visit a colony of some 6,000 emperor penguins with newly hatched chicks, climb never-before-summitted mountains with world-record holders as guides, and view the fragile complexity of the continent in all its glory on the edge of Queen Maud Land.

Enquiries to visit White Desert can be made via its website or to Robyn Woodhead at robyn@white-desert.com.

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