Luxury Vacations: Launched by the young British polar adventurer, Patrick Woodhead, White Desert in Antarctica offers the ultimate adventure for the ‘been there, done that’ crowd. A member of the exclusive Mantis Group, White Desert invites guests to discover the seventh continent - Antarctica. The Emperor Penguins and Mountains trip is a ten-day expedition into the heart of the most mysterious part of the world for $58,374.
Leaving from a gate marked ‘Unknown International Airport,’ guests take a five and a half hour flight to Antarctica. Only 12 travelers are allowed on each adventure, with five professional guides on hand to ensure the safety and comfort of guests during the trip. Crossing the vast Southern Ocean, adventurers fly via private jet from Cape Town, South Africa, and watch the night turn to day as they pass through the polar circle into 24 hours of sunshine. Landing on the specially-designed ice runway, guests will be among the few to visit the interior of the Antarctic continent.
Upon arrival, guests are transferred in specially modified 4x4s to Whichaway Camp, perched on a 200 ft ice cliff and overlooking the most surreal and spectacular scenery on earth. Don’t let the glacial temperatures and rigorous climate scare you. Every guest is equipped with Dunhill cashmere-blend clothing from the White Desert Shop. And, despite the untouched open surroundings, guests of White Desert will not be cheated of a single comfort. Whichaway Camp offers five spacious tent accommodations, each outfitted with comfortable beds, plush fur rugs, hot water bottles and heating stoves. A separate tent houses the shower. The main living space, which includes a dining room, library, kitchen and communications area, comprises two dome tents, decorated with the opulence of the old world African safari style and equipped with the latest technology. The Camp is exclusively powered by solar energy and operates by strict ecological guidelines.
Meals at White Desert are equally indulgent. With food prepared by South African Cordon Bleu chef, Jenna Viney, guests wake up to a full English breakfast, return from their adventures to a delectable light lunch, and relax, at day’s end, with an extravagant three-course dinner, accompanied by GH Mumm ‘Cordon Rouge’ champagne and a wide assortment of wines.
In addition to the individually-tailored itinerary, activities include everything from gentle treks to view the magnificent underground ice waves, a visit to the Russian science base to learn more about their work, and picnics on the summit of Mt. Shirmacher, to ice climbing, kite-skiing and abseiling. There are also scenic flights through unknown mountains, ski trips to previously unclimbed mountains or excursions to the beginning of open water to see the 200 ft. ice ‘barrier.’
The highlight of the adventure is flying two hours across an unexplored mountain range to the site of an Emperor penguin colony of more than 6,000 breeding pairs. Guests marvel as the penguin chicks waddle up to them, while the parents are equally inquisitive as to the new strangers in their icy land.
Travelers may add to their Antarctic adventure with by viewing White Lions add-on. With this package, guests will enjoy two nights at one of Mantis’ Last Word properties in Cape Town before departure to Antarctica and another night upon their return; a two-night stay at the Sanbona Wildlife Reserve just three hours from Cape Town; and a sunset cruise over Cape Town waters in The Princess Emma, an 85-foot luxury yacht. During their stay at Sanbona, guests will discover the Big Five (lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard) and the only free-roaming White Lions in the world while on safari in complete luxury. They will also receive a complimentary massage at the Sanbona bush spa during their stay.
The White Lions Itinerary add-on is priced at $3,117.* This price includes all accommodations, all food and beverages (except premium brands) on safari, a massage at Sanbona, breakfast at the Last Word resorts, and a sunset cruise on the Princess Emma.
Visits to White Desert are available November through December. All inclusive, the Emperor Penguin excursion is $58,374 per person. The price includes a ‘carbon tax’ for offsetting emissions created by all logistics associated with Antarctic travel. White Desert will also offset your flight to Cape Town International from anywhere in the World.