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South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands

South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands travel guide

Remote South Georgia, sitting in the south Atlantic just north of Antarctica, is a wild island packed with penguins and legendary explorer history

Set in the South Atlantic between South America and Antarctica, the spectacularly beautiful island of South Georgia is home to a staggering amount of wildlife.

The waters around South Georgia are a rich soup of marine life, attracting an abundance of seals, penguins and seabirds. As well as being a unforgettable experience for anyone interested in wildlife, South Georgia has hosted sealers, whalers, explorers and scientists.

Captain Cook visited in 1775, but it was the passing Antarctic explorers who brought it to the consciousness of the world – especially Sir Ernest Shackleton. He landed here and traversed the mountains to finally get help for his men after they had been stranded for many long months after their ship became trapped in ice. During a later expedition he died just off the South Georgia coast, and his body was later returned to be buried here.

Today, other than the extraordinary wildlife, the island is home to only a British Government Office, a postmaster, some museum staff and scientists. Some ships heading for Antarctica include South Georgia on their itineraries, something Wanderlust highly recommends.

Wanderlust recommends

  1. Get your passport stamped with the official 'South Georgia' stamp.
  2. Follow in the footsteps of Shackleton, walking the last leg of the walk to safety that he, Crean and Worsley took. Then toast his health at his grave.
  3. Immerse yourself in a sea of king penguins on the huge expanse of Salisbury Plain.

Wanderlust tips

You’ll need several layers of clothing, as well as sunblock.

Most of the shore landings are 'wet' landings – you’ll need waterproof boots. Most ships have some they can loan you, but do check first. 

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