Where to enjoy nature and see wildlife in Antarctica...

personal experience

I have worked in Antarctica as a lecturer and guide, visiting the Peninsula on expedition ships for four seasons, as well as two seasons in the different sub-Antarctic regions.


the continent

This is the last continent most people visit. It is the most remote, coldest and unspoiled place on Earth. It is great for penguins, wildlife spectacles, and beautful scenery. 

This is a huge area comprising it's own continent. The most accessible part of Antarctica is the Antarctic Peninsula.

on the way - the 'Subantarctic'

There are many sub-Antarctic islands to visit on the way to Antarctica, including South Georgia and the Falklands/Malvinas off South America, Tristan de Cunha in the mid-Atlantic, Macquarie Island off Australia, Auckland Island, and Campbell Island off New Zealand.

the difference between Antarctica and the Arctic

 Many people who visit the polar areas often compare the two. They are quite different.

Where the Arctic is a sea (often frozen) surrounded by a lot of land, Antarctica is a continent surrounded by water, the Southern Ocean.

In many parts of the Arctic and the areas to the south, humans still hunt, kill and eat animals, including seals, whales and dolphins. The regions where this still occurs include Russia, Canada, Greenland, Norway, and the Faroe Islands (off the U.K.). In contrast, there are strict rules about interacting with wildlife in Antarctica, and animals on the continent are protected.  

This obviously has different effects on the abundance of animals, and the behaviour of wildlife. In the Arctic, animals are much shyer and harder to observe, while wildlife is usually easy to see around Antarctica.

While the Arctic is a colder extension of the Holarctic biogeographical region, the Antarctic continent has been isolated for a long time. Thus, while the Arctic is home to flowers and songbirds, the southern continent does not have any.

Because it encircles the bottom of the planet, there are various ports from which to depart for Antarctic trips, including the southern parts of South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Chile. However, most people leave from Ushuaia in Argentina and head to the Antarctic peninsula.

antarctica-penguin-bellyAn Adelie on it's belly!

Antarctica does not have a high diversity of wildlife, as it generally lacks most of the basic groups, such as flowering plants, insects, amphibians, reptiles, songbirds, and land mammals. Thus, you have a good chance of seeing most species that are there in one or two trips. And because the same species are widespread, they can be seen no matter what part you visit.  There are various species of seals to be seen, from both of the main groups of 'true seals' and 'eared seals'.

antarctica-two-types-sealsThe two main groups of seals in Antarctica; the 'true seals' (seal on the left) that hump around, and the 'eared seals' (seal on the right) that can bound along on their fore-flippers.

places to visit

The easiest and most popular place is the Antarctic peninsula.


Antarctica is one of the most heavily visited areas by expedition and other ships. There are strict regulations on the numbers of visitors allowed at the sites, and rules that must be followed. Most companies belong to IAATO (the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators). They require that the majority of the guides that work in Antarctica must pass an annual test. 

Search this website and google: