To most of us, getting in touch with nature might mean a stroll through the park, or even a hike through the forest.
If we want to get really hardcore, maybe it even means camping out in a tent for a few days and cooking over a fire.
But it probably doesn’t mean trekking all the way to the bitterly cold bottom of the planet. A journey to Antarctica hardly seems like a relaxing getaway for the average person. After all, Antarctica is for researchers, explorers, and penguins, right? When you think of it, you’re probably imagining a tiny, bare-bones settlement in the middle of a frozen wasteland at the end of the Earth.
But tour company White Desert wants to change all that. Departing from Cape Town, South Africa, White Desert brings guests on a five-and-a-half hour plane ride to Antarctica, where they stay in specially designed fiberglass pods along the rocky, desolate coast.
While there, guests can experience our planet’s most mysterious continent however they choose. They can go on daring hikes and climbs up mountains of ice, or they can simply relax on the shore and get to know their penguin neighbors.
It also gives them the rare opportunity to appreciate Antarctica, and it’s singular, freezing, and endangered beauty. Check it out below and let us know if you would travel to Antarctica!
After leaving Cape Town and flying for five-and-a-half hours over the increasingly frigid ocean, travelers going to White Desert’s Antarctic camp might see something like this: strange little domes dotting the otherwise empty, primeval landscape.
These domes are a “hotel” or sorts, and the visitors will stay in them for the duration of their trip. Only small groups are allowed to come at a time.
Even though Antarctica is one of the harshest places on Earth, it’s also one of the most fragile, and can’t handle huge numbers of tourists.
The domes are made of fiberglass, and provide not only warmth and shelter, but also a surprising amount of luxury.
And “luxury” is not usually what you’d imagine when you think of camping in Antarctica!
There are six sleeping pods which each sleep two people and include a bathroom, and then there are separate pods for relaxing and dining.
This is the lounge pod, which seems to take its design cues from classic ski lodges.
The dining pod is equally glamorous, and all the guests can eat together.
And at night, you can snuggle up in bed while the Antarctic winds howl outside.
And you don’t have to worry about bundling up every time you need to use the bathroom, because each sleeping pod comes equipped with one.
And as glamorous as this all seems, White Desert is also careful to make sure the ecosystem remains protected, using a variety of eco-friendly and sustainable practices.
Most of the camp is powered by solar and wind energy, and transports all human waste off the continent on regular flights to ensure the landscape is kept pristine.
And while the guests are here, their experience of Antarctica is entirely up to them. They can go exploring, or they can simply sit and hang out near the pods and take in the stunning scenery.
The more adventurous can go on mountain hikes, exploring the massive, icy mountains and descending down steep cliff faces.
They can also explore ice tunnels inside the glaciers for a really unique perspective.
Other adventure options include making the trek to the South Pole.
There’s also options for rock climbing, kite-skiing, and even picnics out on the vast, icy plains.
And of course you have to meet the locals…
…and there are a lot of them!
One of the other options is a trip to visit with the emperor penguins, who make this desolate place their home.
Campers are flown to Atka Bay, where a colony of more than 6,000 emperor penguins live. The guests get a breathtaking, up-close look at these curious birds, many of which will get within a few yards of the tour groups.
Of course, a trip like this isn’t cheap, and campers spend quite a bit of money to experience this.
Given the option, would you explore Antarctica, or do you prefer your vacations to be in warmer climates?
Let us know, and check out more about this unique vacation on White Deserts’ website. And if you know anyone who’s totally over the heat of summer, SHARE this destination with them!