As part of our optional adventure programs on the Ocean Endeavour, camping offers a one-off opportunity to spend a night out on the Antarctic ice and fully immerse yourself in the world’s last true wilderness.
After dinner, you will pack your expedition kit, don your jackets and boots, prepare your bivy bag and camping mat and our expedition team will have you ferried to a remote stretch of ice before the Ocean Endeavour disappears from view. Building your camp site with the instruction of your guides and to the backdrop of a setting Antarctic sun, a chorus of cracking glaciers will make way for an appearing blanket of Antarctic constellations overhead. At dawn, wake to a few curious penguins as the ship returns to sight and your guides ferry you back to the vessel where breakfast is waiting.
In true expedition style, camping is the best way to soak yourself in the remoteness, the silence, the wild and the ruggedness of Antarctica like no other way.
A Once-in-a-Lifetime Night on the Ice
Camping in the Antarctic wilderness.
What can you expect?
Most people have enjoyed a toasted marshmallow around the campfire or pitching your tent by the lake on a long summers night but camping in Antarctica is a little different.
Forget the marshmallows and forget the tent; this is an opportunity to sleep right under the stars and to fall asleep to the sounds of the world’s most remote continent. In true explorer style but also in keeping with our ethical tourism practices, when camping in Antarctica you an expect a minimal camp that gets you the most intimate experience with the continent possible. Rather than campfires, sing-songs and card games, here it’s just you, your bivy bag and the ice, the snow, the sounds, the stars and the occasional penguin.
Our team of glacial terrain guides will help you to build your very own expedition campsite and as the ship disappears behind the terrain, your place in the Antarctic landscape will take on a whole new meaning.
What will you see?
While most of our excursion sites in Antarctica are handpicked for the intimate and incredible experiences with wildlife, our camping sites are a little different.
At these sites, such a Kerr Point in the Errera Channel or at Damoy Point, we’ve chosen areas that are safe, that offer a protected shelter from the wind and perhaps most importantly, reduce our impact on wildlife.
While it’s not uncommon to have the odd penguin or seal inspect the camping site during the evening, this activity is designed around a peaceful experience of the Antarctic sky, the crackling of ice, the warmth of our friends and family as well as your bivy bag and to enjoy a unique experience without disturbing the locals!
What equipment is provided?
All equipment necessary to experience a warm and safe night on the ice is supplies by your expedition team on board the Ocean Endeavour. This includes:
- Insulated waterproof rubber boots
- A bivy bag (one per person)
- A foam mattress
- Waterproof sleeping bag with cotton inner liner
- A shovel to build your camp for the night
- Portable field toilet (one per group)
What should you bring for camping?
Please pack for the worst weather, as conditions in Antarctica can change rapidly. Below is a list of important items you must bring yourself:
- Extra warm clothing such as down jackets, windshells, gloves, beanies and neck warmers
- Warm hat
- Thermal under-gloves, fleece finger gloves, or warm mittens
- Thick socks
- Good UV-protectant sunglasses
- Sun cream or sunblock
- Flashlight or lightweight headtorch
- A pair of binoculars to spot for wildlife
- Camera and accessories
- Eye mask if you wish complete darkness
Our most popular Camping Sites
Below are some of the landing sites we might take you camping. Please bear in mind that camping is highly weather dependant and the decision of where to camp depends on ice conditions and location.
Almirante Brown Station
The Argentine-owned Brown Station is truly dwarfed by its backdrop of vertical ice, with a cluster of bright red buildings at one end and Punta Proa – a 70 m cliff – at the other. Climbing the slope behind the station leads to a wonderful vantage point over Paradise Bay where you will be rewarded with spectacular views and have the chance to hear the distant, loud calving of glaciers as new icebergs rumble and thunder into the water.
With both history and wildlife in abundance, Damoy Point is home to a flourishing Gentoo penguin population along with the remains of a once thriving British Antarctic outpost. But the space around it, and the spectacular views, are worthwhile on their own. A gently sloping series of hills lead up to views of glaciers and icebergs over the Neumayer Channel and of the surrounding mountain peaks on Anvers and Wiencke Islands.
Situated in the middle of the beautiful Errera Channel Danco Island is home to a large number of Gentoo penguins (more than 2,000 pairs), that nest right up to the summit of the island’s 180m peak. Weddell seals are almost always present on Danco’s rocks and beaches, and the Errera Channel is a favourite thoroughfare of Humpback and Minke whales towards the end of the summer.
Hovgaard offers a personal experience of Antarctica – it has no big, spectacular sites, but many small bays and snow domes to land on, with brilliant views across Penola Strait to the mountains of the continent. The relatively gentle snow slopes allow a fairly easy climb to the peak.
Kerr Points offers outstanding views of Gerlache Strait, Errera Channel and the glaciated southern face of Cuverville Island. After a gentle landing on its northern side, you will be greeted by a small party of Chinstrap and Gentoo penguins and Wedell seals and Leopard seals are often seen near the shore. Backgrounded a large, hanging glacier face, this is perhaps the best camping site for drifting off to sleep to the sound of cracks and rumbles in the ice.
Leith Cove is a cove in the northeast part of Paradise Harbor, along the west coast of Graham Land, Antarctica. The small island is directly surrounded by towering, rocky cliffs, and high glaciers that stand in a U-shape around the site. The island itself looks like a small, snow-covered hill rising out of the clear Antarctic water. This spot is known for errant parties of gentoo penguins and some spectacular evening sunset glow that bounces around the harbour’s cliffs and coves.
Frequently asked Questions.
Following dinner the participants will be shuttled to the shore for the once-in-a-lifetime camping experience, returning to the ship in the morning prior to breakfast. You will remain on shore for the full duration of the night (about 10 hours in total).
There are a maximum of 30 participants allowed for the camping experience. Along with several support staff who will remain ashore with the group.
It is not recommended to bring food ashore as you are in a wild environment and certain foods could attract animals, additionally we want to reduce any waste that could be produced from bringing food ashore. We time the activity between meal times to ensure people do not miss out and do not need to bring food ashore.
Basic camp-style toilets will be available for the duration of the camping activity.
Prior experience is not required for ice camping and you will be escorted by our experienced Expert Guides. We do not recommend this activity for children under 16.
To ensure the safety of our participants and guides this activity will only operate with optimum conditions. This means a clear night, without snow or rainfall or extreme winds.
As the camping activity is operated once per voyage (if conditions are suitable) it is a fixed price for camping. For 2021-2022 season this is priced at $349 USD per person.