Whichaway Camp, Antarctica

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With an uninhabited glacial terrain and sub-zero temperatures, Antarctica is one of the last places on Earth that many think of for a nice getaway. Perched on a 200-foot icefall, an upscale eco-accommodation features fiberglass dome-shaped pods with all the contemporary comforts you seek. Run by the White Desert tour operator, Whichaway Camp in Antarctica’s Queen Maud Land region is the first and only destination of its kind that only a lucky few have the opportunity to experience.

Whichway Camp History

In 2006, the founders of Whichaway Camp ventured to Antarctica to traverse the seventh continent. After bunkering in a tent for four days because of a fierce snowstorm, the group wondered why only scientists had the privilege of seeing the real Antarctica—the interior, untouched parts of the land. In that tent, the group planned a new kind of camp—one in which old-world luxury meets modern comforts.

With the abundance of wind and seemingly endless sun during the spring and summer, the group knew that the camp must harness natural resources for energy. To minimize the impact to the environment, White Desert limits the number of guests who visit each year. It also packs out all the waste produced by flying it back to Cape Town for proper disposal.

The camp opens in November (late spring) and closes at the end of December.

Getting to Whichaway Camp

To get to Whichaway Camp, you can fly your private jet to Cape Town, South Africa, and then board the provided private jet and fly five and a half hours over the Southern Ocean and Antarctic Circle, or work with the contacts at Whichaway Camp and set up a flight directly into your destination.

The Pods

Up to 12 guests can stay in the six sleeping pods at a time. The pods—made of composite panels used in aerospace engineering—brilliantly retain heat and reduce the wind’s howl to a whisper. They’re 6 meters in diameter and include two beds that a guest can convert into a double bed, as well as private half bath and writing desk. If traveling with a friend, you can place a partition in the room for added privacy.

The camp has a shower facility and a common area furnished with fur rugs, a library of maps and books, dining room, kitchen and communications area. A professional South African chef prepares the meals: a full English breakfast, followed by a light lunch. Dinner is a three-course affair with plenty of champagne.

Whichway Camp Activities

White Desert has a variety of day trips and tours from which to choose. They range from relaxing activities to adrenaline-pumping adventures—it’s up to you. Examples of activities include:

  • Explore iridescent ice caves
  • Enjoy gentle treks in a surreal landscape
  • Zip-line across frozen bodies of water
  • Slackline over snow-covered ground
  • Kite-ski across great white expanses
  • Rappel from towering cliffs and ice holes
  • Have a unique picnic
  • Learn polar exploring skills
  • Explore the Wohlthat Mountains on a 4-by-4
  • Take a sauna at the nearby Russian science base

One of the activities available is taking a two-hour flight to an emperor penguin colony in Atka Bay. Here, you’ll see over 6,000 penguins and their young chicks.

Reach the lowest point on the Earth, which only a few have achieved, with an excursion to the South Pole. The trip begins with a six-hour flight. Upon landing at the Amundsen-Scott American science station, you will be at a location where the only direction is north.

If spending more than seven days in Antarctica is a little much for you, White Desert also offers day trips in which you spend 12 hours exploring, followed by a fantastic champagne lunch.

Photo by Joe Mastroianni, National Science Foundation (From Antarctic Photo Library: LAKEFRYXELL.JPG) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Joe Mastroianni, National Science Foundation (From Antarctic Photo Library: LAKEFRYXELL.JPG) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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