South Georgia & Falklands Explorer

In-Depth Photography & Wildlife Expedition

Punta Arenas, Chile

17 Days

September – October 2024

From US$ 13,795

South Georgia and the Falkland Islands stand as sanctuaries hosting the world’s largest concentrations of wildlife, from the regal King Penguin to the prehistoric Albatross. 

Our South Georgia Cruise unveils the intricacies of the diverse wildlife that thrives in challenging climates. Today,  South Georgia Island extends an invitation to you, an explorer,  to experience nature at its finest and carry on the traditions of past great heroes, walking in the footsteps of Sir Ernest Shackleton. 

It’s crucial to acknowledge the sheer remoteness of these islands, a truly secluded haven that only a fortunate few have the privilege to venture to personally.

  • 4 Photography Guides – World Renowned Award Winning Photographers 
  • 10 Specialist Guides for South Georgia: Naturalists, Biologists and more 
  • Exclusive Secret Atlas 20 guests group (as part of a larger 89 guests max group
  • Elegant cabins with balcony & excellent service on board a southern ocean-going vessel
Download Brochure See Dates and Rates

Introducing Our South Georgia Island Tour

Our South Georgia & Falklands Island tour is specially crafted for wildlife lovers and photographers in search of something different! Be part of an in-depth 17-day expedition onboard a luxury ship and discover places others can’t, due to the exclusivity of our small group sizes.

Award-winning photographers and a specialised expedition team of 16 will be at hand to offer you personalised guidance throughout your voyage in the early spring. This time of year is the most picturesque; you can expect snowy backdrops, some of the best lighting for photography, and it is the height of elephant seal calving season!

Expedition Highlights

What to Expect on our South Georgia & Falklands Cruise

  • We’re Flexible: We adapt the schedule to make the most of every opportunity.
  • Early Season: Snow-covered landscapes make this the most beautiful time to visit.
  • Peak Calving Season: Watch elephant seals being born daily on the beaches. 
  • King Penguins: Colonies up to 500,000! 
  • Albatross:Largest seabirds in the world with 12ft wingspan can be watched circling overhead as they return in the Spring.
  • Perfect Lighting: Golden sunsets and soft daylight – ideal for photographers.
  • Luxury Ship: Excellent service, comfortable and built to go anywhere!
  • Only 90 Guests: Landings with our Zodiacs are limited to 10 maximum per boat.
  • Spend unhurried time ashore.
  • Secret Atlas Exclusive: Exclusive Secret Atlas 20 guests group (as part of a larger 89 guests max group)
  • Award-winning Photo Guides: Learn from the best in the world, including Roie Galitz.

We will encounter the best wildlife South Georgia and the Falklands has to offer. To discover more, check out our detailed Wildlife Guide.

South Georgia Wildlife Highlights in September and October

Our South Georgia and Falklands Cruise marks the start of Austral Spring, when the sea ice graciously opens up, allowing us to explore areas which were once inaccessible by ice. It is a time when temperatures begin to warm, marking the start of new life amongst the animals in their bio-diverse kingdom.

What are some of the animals we can expect to see in September and October?

King Penguin

The second largest penguin in the world, they gather by the hundreds of thousands in South Georgia to breed and raise their young. They brood their eggs and chicks on their feet and within a brood pouch that is a feathered muscle on the lower front abdomen that can lift and sequester the egg and young chick to protect it and keep it warm. Bright orange cheeks and orchid red bills combined with a silver-grey coat and white breast crowned with a dusting of yellow feathers near the neck make King Penguins the most majestic creatures on South Georgia.

Gentoo Penguin 

Gentoo is the largest of all Pygoscelis penguins and  the fastest underwater, reaching speeds of 36km/h! Their population is about 387,000 breeding pairs. They have a white bonnet shaped marking around the top of their head.

Magellanic Penguin

Magellanic Penguins are highly gregarious and monogamous and it is believed they form long-lasting bonds with their mates. Their population is estimated at 1.5 million pairs, being the second largest of sub-Antarctic inhabitants after the King penguins.

Wandering Albatross

At 3.5 metres, the Wandering Albatross has the world’s largest wingspan and, because of this can glide gracefully on the air thermals without flapping their wings for several hours!

Elephant Seal 

Spring is the height of calving season and also a time when the male bulls battle for dominance over the females and to maintain their rank. South Georgia boasts 54 % of the world’s population of elephant seals. The trunk-like proboscis overpowers their face and is often utilized when sparring with other males.

Chinstrap Penguin

These penguins are known for their distinctive black and white markings, with a thin black band under their chin that resembles a strap, hence their name “chinstrap” penguins.

Fur Seal

Despite their adorable appearance, fur seals are adept water predators, contributing to the thriving marine ecosystem around South Georgia and making it a remarkable destination for wildlife enthusiasts and researchers.

Humpback Whale 

Humpbacks may be recognized by their enormous flippers, distinctive flukes and overall measure of between 11 to 19 meters. They weigh between 25 to 35 tonnes.

Learn and Develop New Photography Skills

Joining our South Georgia photography tour opens up a world of opportunities to acquire new skills and techniques, both aboard our expedition and out in the field. Benefit from the guidance of some of the best photographers in the industry, including Roie Galitz – renowned for his conservation efforts with Greenpeace and wildlife photography. 

Our seasoned expedition team is committed to ensuring your South Georgia and Falklands experience is not only unforgettable but also strategically positioned in the best photography locations tailored to the prevailing weather and conditions.

Whether you’re a well-seasoned photographer or stepping into the world of photography for the first time, our photography guides will be by your side every step of your journey on our South Georgia Photography tour.

Download Brochure See Dates and Rates

The Voyage

Secret Atlas is founded, led, and made for explorers by explorers. We understand that every expedition is unique, so we don’t follow a fixed itinerary. We believe that real expeditions should draw from opportunities the wilderness offers and our expert guides know exactly how to maximize your experience.  

The following itinerary is an example. Every expedition is flexible and inherently authentic, as our course will be defined on a daily basis, sustained by the opportunities presented by weather, ice and wildlife.

Day 1 Depart Punta Arenas, Chile

Day 2 Sail to the West Falklands

Day 3 Falklands | Saunders & Cracks Islands

Day 4 Falklands | Weddell Island & New Island

Day 5–6 Sail to the South Georgia Islands

Day 7 South Georgia | Elsehul Bay

Day 8 South Georgia | Fortune Bay & Grytviken Bay

Day 9 South Georgia | Gold Bay & Copper Bay

Day 10 South Georgia | St Andrews Bay & Ocean Harbour

Day 11 South Georgia | Prion Island & Salisbury Island Salisbury Plain

Day 12–14 Return to the Falkland Islands

Day 15 Falkland Islands | Bleaker Island

Day 16 Sail to Punta Arenas, Chile

Day 17 Depart at Punta Arenas, Chile

Map of the route for this tour around South Georgia and the Falklands.

South Georgia & Falklands Explorer Day by Day

Day 1

Depart Punta Arenas, Chile

We board the ship at Punta Arenas in the afternoon and set sail through the Magellan Mountains, also known as the “Land of Fire,” offering breathtaking views as we make our way to the Falkland Islands.

Day 2

Sail to the West Falklands

Throughout the day, our guides will provide you with a series of workshops and lectures covering a range of topics from photography, history, nature and wildlife to ensure you’re well-prepped for the upcoming adventure. It’s a great time to settle in, relax and make use of the beautiful ship amenities such as the gym, sauna, observation lounge library and bar. Avid photographers will gather on the stern to raise telephoto lenses aloft to the sky while photographing the sea birds in flight, such as the stunning Wandering, Black Browed and Grey Headed Albatrosses, as well as the ubiquitous Giant petrels.

Day 3 – 4

Falklands | Saunders & Cracks Islands, Weddell Island & New Island

We will visit Saunders Island, a great spot to view rockhopper penguins, white-eared penguins and black-browed Albatross. From there, we will head to the Caracas Islands for a walk along the beach, where many birds will have started nesting. Before reaching New Island is renowned for its large penguin colonies! We will continue towards the Weddell Islands, depending on the weather and terrain.

Day 5 – 6

Sail to the South Georgia Islands

We will set sail to the high seas for South Georgia! Due to the remote location, it can take some time, but don’t worry, you’ll never be bored. Our expert guides will keep you entertained, providing lectures and workshops, and you can spend hours spotting whales and seabirds from the upper decks.

Day 7 – 8

South Georgia | Elsehul Bay, Fortune Bay & Grytviken Bay

We kick start the afternoon with a Zodiac tour of the bay! Grytviken Bay is an extraordinary destination where Sir Earnest Shackleton is laid to rest. We will pay our respects to the heroic explorer’s grave and visit the nearby museum. Later, our journey will take us to Fortune Bay, home to the most characterful royal penguins.

Day 9

South Georgia | Gold Bay & Copper Bay

Gold Bay has much to offer; this is the spot where we can view king penguins, albatrosses, elephant seals in the calving season, and magnificent glaciers before heading to Copper Bay to observe the rock penguins.

Day 10

South Georgia | St Andrews Bay & Ocean Harbour

St Andrews Bay is home to the largest penguin colony, a visionary we cannot prepare you for! The afternoon will include a visit to Ocean Harbour, where we will learn about the whaling industry and view remains of the past.

Day 11

South Georgia | Prion Island & Salisbury Island

Bird lovers, you’ll be spoilt during your visit to Prion Island! It’s a sanctuary for seabirds and a wonderful space to study the albatrosses during their nesting period.

If we are lucky, we will see the Wandering Albatross on their nests and large juveniles practising their mating dances together in circles. These gamming sessions will prepare them for finding their own mate and bonding through repeated movements, a relationship they keep for the rest of their lives.

Day 15

Falkland Islands | Bleeker Island

Our visit to Bleeker Island is a nature reserve, with almost 50 types of birds visiting the area, 27 of which pick this as their nesting destination, including Rockhopper penguins, Magellan, Ginto, Great Cormorants, and Caracara birds of prey.

Day 16 – 17

Return to Punta Arenas, Chile

As we dock in Chile, we conclude the expedition with newfound knowledge, memories and friends. As explorers at heart, we urge you to continue your journey and explore Punta Arenas! Patagonia is often a favourite onward adventure!

The above itinerary is a guide only. A part of any expedition is the flexibility to take advantage of the weather conditions which are highly variable in South Georgia. Our expedition team will make sure you see as much as possible.

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Inside Your South Georgia & Falklands Photography Tour

Our South Georgia cruises are aimed at anyone with a passion for exploring with an intimate group of like-minded individuals on a comfortable small-ship cruise and include:

Exploration

Explore areas that are very rarely visited, giving you a chance to experience the untouched wilderness in a small group.

Stunning Scenery

Delve deep into nature, encounter mighty glaciers, cruise tranquil steep-sided fjords and walk the shores towered with dramatic backdrops.

Expedition Leader and Guide

Offering the best guide-to-guest ratio, a large aspect of our expedition is to learn about the places you visit through the experience and passion of our guides. They really are the core of everything we do!

Zodiac Cruises and Landings

Our Zodiacs are your platform for freedom. These small landing crafts allow you to cruise the coastlines and step foot on islands for even further discovery!

small expedition ship

Small Ship With 89 Guests

The best way to experience an environmentally sensitive place is with a small group. Our ship takes up to 89 guests, who are divided into small groups of 10 during excursions. In comparison, most expedition cruise ships now take up to 350 passengers – from experience, we know smaller is better.

Meet Your Lead Photographer

Roie Galitz photo tour guide

Roie Galitz
Photography Expert

Roie is a globally acclaimed wildlife photographer whose images have been exhibited in publications all across the world. ​​His passion for photography and dedication to our planet have earned him the title of Greenpeace ambassador who actively contributes to sustainability and environmental matters.

Meet Roie

Your Ship - MV Magellan Explorer

Guests 89  | Cruising Speed 14knots | Ice Class LR PC6 | Length 91m

Introducing the Magellan Explorer, a remarkable vessel that holds a Polar Class 6 ice rating, making it one of the most advanced expedition ships in Antarctica. What makes it stand out? It caters to a maximum of 89 guests, providing an intimate and personalised journey. 

This ship is more than a mode of transportation; it serves as a sophisticated and modern base for guests, blending expedition expertise with boutique hospitality seamlessly. Notably, the Magellan Explorer offers stability, even in heavy seas, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable experience for all onboard. Given the remote locations of many voyages, the ship is equipped with energy-recovery technology, which ingeniously recycles the engine's heat. In turn, this is used to heat up the ship and its water supply, reducing its environmental impact.

Ship Specifications

  • Up to 89 passengers guarantees a very intimate polar experience
  • Built-in accordance with the most recent Polar Code criteria, she’s registered with a Polar Class 6 ice-class (Lloyd’s Register PC6)
  • Stabilizers, bow and stern thrusters, and ice-detecting radar allow for safe and comfortable navigation
  • Equipped with an energy-recovery technology that recycles engine heat to warm up the ship and its water supply
  • 10 Zodiac boats

Ship Cabins

  • Seven different types of accommodations available, including dedicated single cabins
  • Spacious cabins, ranging in size from 40 m2 to 20 m2
  • Private balcony in all suites and most cabins

Crew

  • Excellent quality cuisine and hospitality staff
  • Service-oriented expedition team that deliver considering individual guest interests
  • 6 Expert photography guides 

Facilities 

  • Glass-enclosed observation lounge
  • Sauna and fitness centre on board
  • Bow access to offer the guests proximity to marine wildlife
  • Well-stocked bar and meeting room for briefings and educational events
  • Large dining room that seats all guests and expedition staff at once
  • Library 
  • Gift shop
  • Outdoor protected BBQ area.
See Ship

Dates and Prices

Prices quoted are per person. Twin and double cabins are based on double occupancy.

Download Brochure

23rd September – 9th October 2024

Cabin Type

Persons per Cabin

Price per person

 
Porthole Cabin 2 US$ 13,795 Book
Deluxe Veranda Cabin 2 US$ 16,895 Book

Cabins

Deluxe Veranda Cabin with window

  • 2 twin beds or 1 king-size bed
  • located on Deck 4
  • 22 m2
  • desk and chair, one armchair with side table and private balcony with sitting area, a safe, telephone, hairdryer, selection of snacks restocked daily, mini-bar restocked daily, coffee maker
  • a large private bathroom with separate shower, premium bathroom amenities, bathrobes and slippers

Porthole Cabin

  • 2 twin beds or 1 king-size bed
  • located on Deck 3
  • 18 m2
  • desk and chair, two armchair with side table, a safe, telephone, hairdryer
  • private bathroom with separate shower, bathroom amenities, bathrobes and slippers

Deck Plan

Deck plan of the MV Magellan
Departure Location Punta Arenas, Chile
Arrival Location Punta Arenas, Chile
Trip Style Exploration
Physical Rating Easy
Maximum Group Size 89
Accommodation Twins, Doubles, Suites & Singles
Duration 17 Days
Time of Year September & October
Included
Not Included

We offer payment via the following methods:

  • Credit card
  • Payment by bank transfer

Please let us know at the time of booking your preferred method.

You have the option to pay in full at time of booking or pay in the following instalments:

30% deposit is taken at the time of booking

30% 6 months before departure

40%  90 days prior to departure

It is mandatory you take out comprehensive travel insurance at the time of booking that also covers cancellation.

Solo travellers are welcome on all our voyages. We often host solo travellers, particularly on our photo voyages so the chances are you won’t be the only one. We offer the following accommodation options:

  • Option to share a twin cabin with another traveller of the same gender.
  • Option to have your own cabin for an additional supplement. Please contact us for this option as the price varies depending on trip and availability.

This trip is operated by Secret Atlas and is subject to the Secret Atlas terms and conditions of travel. You can read the full booking terms here.

South Georgia Useful Information

How To Get To South Georgia and The Falkland Islands

Our South Georgia cruises depart from the Falkland Islands. Find out how to get there.

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South Georgia Wildlife Guide

Learn about all the beautiful wildlife that calls South Georgia its home and get a feel for what you will encounter.

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South Georgia Facts

Do you know who was the first explorer to land on South Georgia? Find out here.

Read More