South Pole & Emperor Penguin Odyssey

Two Antarctic icons, one spectacular trip.

Buckle up for a magical Antarctic adventure.

South Pole Emperor Odyssey offers an exciting itinerary that includes a flight to the South Pole, an overnight camp high on the Antarctic Plateau and a visit of one of the greatest spectacles on Earth, Antarctica's majestic Emperor penguins.

  • Gateway Cape Town, South Africa
  • Distance no ski
  • Nights 13
  • Trek days no ski
  • Daily Distance no ski
  • Sled Weight no ski
  • Temp. Range -5 to -30°C
  • Challenge 3 What's this?
  • Conditions cool coastal to cold plateau
  • Challenges some cold exposure, altitude on flight and at Pole

Trip Itinerary


Arrive Cape Town. Meet your guide and check-in to hotel


Review itinerary, equipment and food. Pre-flight briefing.


Free time then late evening Boeing 757-200 flight to ALCI Airbase in Antarctica.

Day 1

Settle into Oasis Guesthouse and do as much or as little as you like each day. Activities range from gentle treks to the incredible ice waves, ice wall and and ice tunnel! Perhaps even visit the nearby Russian base; Novolazarevskaya.

Day 2

Explore the ice waves beneath the camp, delving into the series of ice tunnels that are as surreal as they are beautiful. A special picnic lunch at a magnificent viewpoint will be completed by vistas of the frozen icebergs on the coast. Return to Oasis Guesthouse for evening activity.

Day 3

Flight in the DC3 Basler Turbo prop plane to the Atka Bay Emperor Penguin colony where we have a few hours to immerse ourselves into this spectacular location. We fly via Queen Maud Mountains and spectacular coastline where you will see icebergs, sea ice and crevassed glaciers. Return to Guesthouse for evening activity.

Day 4

Local activities including walks, build an igloo, ski or toboggan. Evening activity at Guesthouse and prepare for South Pole flight.

Day 5

You will leave early in the morning in the Basler aircraft. The plane will fly across stunning mountain ranges before landing at 83 degrees south (FD83 Camp) to refuel. You will have a chance to walk around  before continuing on to the pole. At the South Pole itself, you will have lots of time for photos and a tour around the base before returning to FD83 camp for a night high on the polar plateau.

Day 6

Return to ALCI Airbase and transfer to Guesthouse. Relax, recover and enjoy a celebratory dinner with fine South African wine.

Day 7

Day trip to the spectacular Ice Wall, an enormous face carved into the icecap by the effects of wind and sun.

Day 8

Drive to Maitri station and walk to the spectacular Ice Tunnel, a long passage embedded into the shore of the Lazarev Ice Shelf.

Day 9

Morning relax or activity and prepare to return to South Africa. Afternoon flight to Cape Town. End of services.

Please note: the schedule must remain adaptable to weather, flight conditions and to the actual duration of your selected trip. We always prioritise 1. South Pole, 2. Emperor penguins, 3. Ice Tunnel and then remainder of activities.


  • Briefing followed by refreshments one day prior to departure
  • Cape Town airport transfers for Antarctic flights
  • All flights associated with the expedition program
  • Meals and accommodation at Oasis Guesthouse
  • Meals and accommodation at Plateau camp
  • Icetrek guide(s)
  • Use of specialist clothing and equipment (see equipment list).
  • Safety/navigation/communications equipment
  • 25kg weight allowance (inc. food and group equipment)


  • Travel to and from Cape Town, South Africa
  • Hotel transfers for non-Antarctic flights
  • Hotel accommodation in Cape Town (we can help you find appropriate accommodation at your preferred budget).
  • Excess baggage above the allowance
  • Additional costs (accommodation, meals etc.) due to changes beyond our control ie. weather delays
  • Evacuation, hospitalization and repatriation costs and/or insurance
  • Satellite telephone airtime
  • Commercial use of footage or images provided by Icetrek

This trip combines the magnificent Emperor Penguins with a flight to the most southern point on Earth - the Geographic South Pole.

In Cape Town we board a Boeing 757-200  jet and fly 5.5 hours over the Southern Ocean to the ALCI Antarctic Airbase near Russia's Novolazarevskaya station. We drive a short distance to your accommodation at Oasis Guesthouse. Situated on Schirmacher Oasis, an ice-free area 14km from the runway, the wooden houses of our heated Guesthouse are warm and cosy and offer comfortable beds, dining room, a cinema, bathrooms and an authentic banya (Russian sauna).

After your long overnight flight you have time to sleep or relax. After lunch we visit the permanent research station, Novolazarevskaya (Novo). You will have a chance to speak to the scientists and learn about life and work at an Antarctica base.

At the Guesthouse a host of activities are available at your leisure, including local walks and sightseeing, games and entertainment, lectures about Antarctica and of course the Russian sauna. And you have plenty of time to indulge yourself in reading, music, socialising or just resting.

Further afield we undertake exploratory walks in the Schirmacher Oasis, search for Adelie penguin rookeries, visit the icewall and ice tunnel, climb local peaks, trek on the ice waves of the iceshelf, ski on the frozen lakes and build an igloo.

With good weather we fly 2.5 hours by Basler aircraft to the Atka Bay Emperor penguin colony. You will have several hours to observe the penguins and their chicks and to walk to castle-like icebergs trapped by the fast ice. It is a truly magical place and a highlight of your Antarctic Odyssey.

The pinnacle of the journey is the flight to the South Pole. Once we have weather clearance we fly over the stunning Queen Maud Mountains onto the Antarctic Plateau landing at our comfortable camp where we refuel. An hour later we fly to the South Pole. The South Pole! Yes, you are standing at the bottom of the world, a place that very few people have the opportunity to visit. You will have around two hours to take photos, complete a Round-the-World walk around the symbolic Pole and tour the scientific base.

After our visit we fly north and return to the refuel camp where we stay the night. The following day we return to the ALCI airbase and the Guesthouse where we celebrate our achievement with good food and wine.

After 10 days of adventuring, relaxing, socialising and learning about the southern continent we bring you to the ALCI airbase for your flight back to Cape Town. This is truly an adventure of a lifetime.

Icetrek Antarctica Map Cape Town Spep

Many airlines fly to Cape Town, South Africa, including South African Airways, British Airways, KLM, Qatar, Lufthansa, Air France, Singapore and others.


South Pole & Emperor Penguin Odyssey

2021 cancelled. Enquire about 2022.
Ex-Cape Town
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