Georgia & Sandwich islands
Charcoal-black mountains ladled with snow, giant glaciers and thriving wildlife combine to make South Georgia one of the great natural islands. Adventure to these far flung lands - where the animals are in charge and humans come a distant second. Here you'll witness a cacophony of calling birds, natural set pieces like elephant seals clashing and thrashing, and crowds of colourful king penguins stretching out as far as the eye can see. An overseas territory of the UK, these isolated, subantarctic islands once formed a remote whaling centre - and you can still visit the former whaling stations. Nowadays the giants of the sea are free to cruise the icy waters uninhibited.
Written into explorer history due to its links with Ernest Shackleton’s tale of Antarctic exploration, shipwreck and survival, the Endurance’s crew were saved when he reached the salvation of these shores in 1916 - before returning to collect the remaining sailors from Elephant Island. A museum commemorates the legendary mission, and you can see the memorial to Shackleton that stands over his final resting place on this fabled island.
South Georgia’s colonies of king penguins - with vivid bursts of yellow and orange around their necks - stand, squabble and curiously investigate, enjoying the isolated respite of this island. They’re joined by smaller penguin species like Macaroni penguins, and other glorious birdlife like the majestic wandering albatrosses, which you can see gliding on gusts of wind, over the choppy waves.