South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands


Overview

South Georgia travel information, including maps of South Georgia, food, drink and where to stay in South Georgia plus the best time to travel in South Georgia

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. 

Further Reading

Travel in South Georgia: vital statistics

  • South Georgia capital: King Edward Point
  • Population of South Georgia: Officially zero, but actually four plus scientists and support personnel.
  • Language in South Georgia: English
  • Time in South Georgia: GMT-2
  • Visa information for South Georgia: South Georgia visa
  • Money in South Georgia: Officially the UK£, but the only place you can spend money is the museum shop at Grytviken, which takes UK£, US$, and credit cards.
  • South Georgia travel advice: Foreign & Commonwealth Office
  • South Georgia tourist board: South Georgia Tourism

When to go to South Georgia

High season is the southern summer – November to February. You will see penguins at different stages of the breeding cycle in all months.

 

Getting to South Georgia

Unless you have your own yacht the only way to visit is on a cruise, usually as part of an Antarctic expedition. There is a landing fee and visits must be approved in advance. If on a cruise, all this will be taken care of.