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Antarctica > Flights > EMPEROR PENGUINS


Immerse yourself in an Emperor penguin rookery where thousands of birds call, display and feed their young. A photographer's paradise.

Fly by ski aircraft to an Emperor penguin rookery on the remote, south coast of the Weddell Sea.  Here we set up camp for our small group and spend several days totally immersed in the activity of the rookery. Photograph majestic Emperors against a spectacular backdrop of ice cliffs, pressure ridges and icebergs. Fall asleep to a chorus of trumpeting calls and wake to find curious penguins outside your tent.

Camping on-site offers the freedom to enjoy the wildlife spectacle at your own pace with the support of our experienced Antarctic guides and staff naturalist, who will make sure we do not disturb the rookery. This authentic safari offers more than just wildlife viewing. You will literally live with the Emperors and witness first-hand their amazing adaptation to the Antarctic environment. Only ANI offers this extraordinary wildlife experience.


Union Glacier Camp
The atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming at our main Antarctic camp at Union Glacier. You’ll find roomy, double occupancy sleeping tents; a spacious dining hall; fresh delicious meals; and a spectacular setting. You’ll be surprised how comfortable Antarctica can be! Our full-service camp is designed for Antarctic conditions and with best environmental practices in mind. It operates during the Antarctic summer (November through January) and is dismantled at the end of each season.

Field Camps
Our Emperor Penguin, ski expedition, and other field camps are more basic. Equipment must be lightweight and portable, yet still strong enough to withstand Antarctic conditions. We sleep in mountaineering-style tents and eat a combination of fresh-frozen meals, prepared by our chefs at Union Glacier; and de-hydrated meals.

Dates & Rates  
Code Start Date End Date Price (US$) 
EMP1-15 Nov 10, 2015 Nov 18, 2015 US$ 41,900 (Completed)
EMP2-15 Nov 21, 2015 Nov 29, 2015 US$ 41,900 (Full)
EMPS1-16 Nov 15, 2016 Nov 23, 2016 US$ 42,750
EMPS2-16 Nov 26, 2016 Dec 04, 2016 US$ 42,750

Day 1: Fly to Antarctica - Fly from Chile to Antarctica by private transport jet. Land on ice runway. Settle in at Union Glacier Camp.

Days 2 : Acclimatize to Antarctica - Today is an easy day to acclimatize to Antarctic conditions. We will have an orientation to camp and life in Antarctica, review expedition logistics with our guide, and enjoy a presentation by our staff naturalist about coastal wildlife and wildlife viewing procedures.

Days 3: Fly to the rookery - After a leisurely breakfast we pack up and fly by ski aircraft to the remote south coast of the Weddell Sea. We land on multi-year sea ice near the Emperor rookery and our guides set up a cozy field camp beside the aircraft. The rest of the day is ours to explore and we have our first audience with the Emperors.

Days 4 - 8: Living with the Emperors- Experience the rhythms of the rookery at your own pace over the five days. Take guided walks with our ANI naturalist or do your own thing. Meal times are flexible so you can photograph and explore when the lighting and mood are just right. Meals are prepared by our guides and include hot meals and portable snacks.

Watch adults display and feed their young. Listen to trumpeting and whistling calls as parents and chicks search for one another. If lucky, we'll photograph Weddell seals lazing by tide cracks. And at each step we'll marvel at the magnificence of where we are. Each night, fall asleep to the mingled calls of thousands of Emperors.

At the end of our last day we pack-up the aircraft and fly back to Union Glacier Camp, where we will enjoy a celebration dinner and share stories with other adventurers.

Days 9*: Return to Punta Arenas, Chile - The aircraft from Punta Arenas will arrive with a new collection of avid explorers and you depart for the final leg of your Antarctic experience. Our VAE staff will meet you at Punta Arenas airport and transfer you to your hotel.

*Schedule: No two Antarctic experiences are the same. This is part of the excitement and adventure of Antarctic travel. The itinerary above highlights typical activities and experiences. Exact timeline and details will vary from trip to trip. Trip length may vary by departure.
Please anticipate delays and do not plan anything for at least a week after your scheduled return. Allow yourself to enjoy this unique experience without the stress of pending commitments.

Itinerary details

8 nights / 9 days
Punta Arenas, Chile
Punta Arenas, Chile

What's Included

ALL South Pole Experiences include:

  • Transfers to and from Punta Arenas airport, Chile

  • Briefing with refreshments in Punta Arenas one day prior to departure

  • Round trip flights from Punta Arenas to Antarctica

  • All flights within Antarctica as shown in your itinerary

  • Meals and accommodation while in Antarctica

  • Expedition Guide(s) (and naturalist or lecturer on some Experiences)

  • Use of recreational equipment at Union Glacier Camp

  • Official and personalised VAE Certificate of Achievement

  • A Baggage allowance of up to 55lbs (25kg) on Punta Arenas-Union Glacier flight

  • (Baggage allowance of up to 66lb (30kg) for Ski South Pole Hercules Inlet, Messner and Footsteps of Amundsen Expeditions)


SOME Experiences include:

  • Group camping equipment (when travelling beyond Union Glacier Camp)

  • Group climbing equipment (climbing expeditions)

  • Sled, harness, ski pole pogies (all ski expeditions)

  • Skis, ski skins, ski poles (Ski Last Degree)

Experiences DO NOT include:

  • Commercial flights to and from Punta Arenas

  • Flights within Antarctica, other than those shown in itinerary

  • Meals and accommodation in Punta Arenas

  • Airport transfers other than in Punta Arenas

  • Personal equipment and clothing (polar clothing is available for rent from VAE for some Experiences)

  • Expenses incurred in Punta Arenas due to delays

  • Any excess baggage costs over confirmed baggage allowance

  • Cost for the use of satellite phone whilst in Antarctica

  • Insurance coverage – personal, medical, evacuation or otherwise