South Pole & Emperors Odyssey

via South Africa

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
  • Days on Ice no ski
  • Daily Distance no ski
  • Temp. Range -5 to -30°C
  • Sled Weight no ski
  • Challenge 3 What's this?
  • Conditions cool coastal to cold plateau
  • Challenges some cold exposure, altitude on flight and at Pole

Trip Itinerary

EXPEDITION DATES - January 11 to 19, 2024

Actual order of activities is weather dependent.


Arrive Cape Town. Check-in to hotel and meet your guide.


Equipment check and check in. Pre-flight briefing.

January 11

Free time then late evening flight to Ultima Airbase in Antarctica. Settle in.

January 12

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 complemented by vistas of the frozen icebergs on the coast. Evening activity at Guesthouse and prepare for South Pole flight.

January 13-14

You will leave early in the morning in the in the DC3 Basler Turbo prop 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 visiting local sites before returning to FD83 camp for a night high on the polar plateau.

January 15

Rest day. Do as much or as little as you like.

January 16

Flight to the Crown Bay Emperor Penguin colony where we have a few hours to immerse ourselves into this spectacular location. Return to Guesthouse for evening activity.

January 17

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

January 18

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

January 19

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 an Ilyushin-76 jet and fly 5.5 hours over the Southern Ocean to the Ultima Airbase(formerly ALCI 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.

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 Crown 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 it all in - visit the actual and symbolic poles, view the scientific base and its buildings, soak in the atmosphere of 90º south.

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

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

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


South Pole & Emperors Odyssey

Ex-Cape Town
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