Can't decide which ANI Experience to choose? You don't have to!
Combine any two Experiences and enjoy the many faces of Antarctica, as well as significant savings. Below are two of our most popular combinations. Contact us for details about these or other combinations.
Emperor Penguins & South Pole Flight
Combine one of the most extraordinary wildlife viewing experiences with a flight to the South Pole - the holy grail of polar explorers.
The Emperor penguin is one of the most fascinating of all birds and also one of the hardest birds in the world to see. They breed in the middle of winter, when night lasts for months and temperatures reach -76F (–60C). In early spring, when the chicks have hatched and the colony is alive with activity, access by ship is difficult or impossible. We will fly by ski aircraft to a remote rookery on the south coast of the Weddell Sea. Our experienced guides and staff naturalist will set up a field camp and you are free to photograph and explore at your own pace. Each day will bring new sights and sounds as thousands of breeding pairs call, feed and shelter their chicks.
Next we celebrate one of the greatest stories in Antarctic exploration, the heroic journeys of Amundsen and Scott and the race to reach the Geographic South Pole. We will fly to the South Pole, covering in several hours the distance that took them years of planning and months of hardship to achieve. We will tour Amundsen-Scott base and learn about the scientific studies at this unique research station. History comes alive as we contemplate how it must have felt to have walked across the frozen continent 100 years ago.
Mount Vinson & South Pole Flight
Few people achieve a polar high and even fewer combine two highs in one trip: climb the highest summit in Antarctica and achieve the Geographic South Pole. This Experience will allow you to do just that.
Standing on the top of Mount Vinson, the world falls away before you pristine and untrammelled. Majestic, snow covered peaks stand guard over vast glaciers below and, in the distance, snow meets sky along a noticeably curved horizon. You are standing on the summit of Mount Vinson at 16,050 ft (4892m), the highest peak in Antarctica and one of the coveted Seven Summits.
Having reached the top of the highest peak in Antarctica, you can now stand on the axis of the Earth. We will fly to the South Pole, covering in several hours the distance Amundsen and Scott took months of hardship to achieve. We will tour Amundsen-Scott base and learn about this unique research station. History comes alive as we contemplate how it must have felt to have walked across the frozen continent 100 years ago.
Union Glacier Camp
The atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming at our main Antarctic camp at Union Glacier. You’ll find roomy, double occupancy sleeping tents; a spacious dining hall; fresh delicious meals; and a spectacular setting. You’ll be surprised how comfortable Antarctica can be! Our full-service camp is designed for Antarctic conditions and with best environmental practices in mind. It operates during the Antarctic summer (November through January) and is dismantled at the end of each season.
Moderate trips offer adventure with a bit more challenge. They may include walking up to several miles/kilometres on uneven snow and ice; staying in remote field camps; extreme temperatures (–40°F / –40°C); or light activity at altitude (11,000ft / 3350m).
Strenuous trips include skiing, climbing, and trekking trips where you spend several days or more in remote field camps and you are active for 6-8 hours a day over steeper, more rugged terrain. They can involve climbing and camping at altitude and in extreme weather conditions. These trips can be tailored to your skills and abilities, however a good level of fitness is essential and some technical skills may be required.
Extremely strenuous trips include skiing and climbing expeditions in the most remote corners of Antarctica, where physiological altitude may exceed 11,000 feet (3350m) for many days in a row, and temperatures may drop below (–40°F / –40°C), with severe wind chill and storms. You will be active for 8-12 hours a day carrying or hauling heavy loads for many days in a row. You must have the physical ability to cover a minimum daily distance and the mental stamina to continue in extreme conditions when you are physically tired. Technical skill, a high level of strength and aerobic fitness, and commitment to a dedicated pre-trip training program are required.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding this Experience. More FAQ's can be found on our Frequently Asked Questions page.
Weather and Environment
Will it be cold?
All of our journeys take place in the Antarctic summer (November through January) when the weather is at its best. We advise on suitable clothing so that you can enjoy your trip to the fullest.
The interior of Antarctica has a cold, dry, windy climate. Average mid-season temperatures at our base camp range from 10F to 25F (-12C to -4C ). On a sunny windless day it can feel quite warm but, when the wind blows, you will be glad of warm layers and a wind jacket. Temperatures can drop as low as -22F (-30C) in early November.
- At the South Pole temperatures rarely climb above -13F (-25C) with light winds and wind chill of -40F (-40C).
- Weather at the Emperor rookery is highly variable and influenced by coastal systems. Temperatures range from
-22F (-30C) to near 32F (0C) with sunny and overcast skies and the possibility of heavy snowstorms.
- Mount Vinson climbers and skiers heading to the South Pole should prepare for extreme temperatures -40F (-40C) and severe storms.
Do I need to ski?
The snow around Union Glacier Camp is generally firm and fine for walking. The same is true at the South Pole, Emperor penguin rookery and other fly-in destinations. We have skis for recreational use, but you do not have to ski.
We do not usually use skis to ascend Mount Vinson. The snow is generally quite firm and well-suited to cramponing. Experienced skier mountaineers may contact us to discuss the option of a ski ascent. (See Can I ski Mount Vinson)
Other climbing Experiences may involve skiing to speed up travel on the glaciers. We normally use Alpine Touring (AT) ski equipment. You don’t have to be a good skier, as skiing on flat terrain with AT gear is akin to walking, but those who have some Nordic or downhill experience will obviously find it easier. Guidelines are provided for each Experience.
Safety, Medical and Insurance
Do I need travel insurance?
All ANI guests are required to provide cover for medical evacuation, due to the high cost of evacuation from Antarctica.
We also strongly recommend that you consider Trip Cancellation and Interruption insurance, to protect you in case you need to cancel for any reason. ANI Experiences are non-refundable within 90 days of departure.
Find more information and links to purchase travel insurance on our Travel Insurance pages.
Schedule and Itinerary
Will the itinerary be exactly the same as shown on the website?
Our itineraries are meant as a guide, to give you an idea of the kinds of activities and the flow of each Experience. However no two trips are exactly the same - and that is part of the excitement and adventure of Antarctic travel. Your unique itinerary will be tailored to your interests and abilities, weather conditions and coordination with other groups on the ice. Flight schedules are flexible and you should expect delays due to the unpredictable nature of Antarctic weather, runway conditions and other logistics.
When should I arrive?
For most Experiences we ask that you arrive in Punta Arenas, Chile at least two full days (48 hours) before your scheduled departure. This allows time for clothing and equipment checks and provides a buffer in case you should miss a flight connection or have lost luggage. An environmental and logistics briefing will be held in the morning, on the day prior to departure. We will collect your luggage and load the aircraft that afternoon, ready for an early flight the following day.
Guests on longer ski traverses should arrive at least four full days prior to departure. We will spend the additional two days getting to know the team, reviewing expedition plans, making any last minute adjustments to equipment and finally packing our sleds ready for departure.
Please note that we cannot hold Antarctic flights for guests who are delayed arriving or who have lost luggage. We recommend that you give yourself plenty of time to enjoy your trip, without the stress of tight timelines.
Can I fly my drone/UAV in Antarctica?
The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), also known as drones, has the potential to disturb wildlife, interfere with aircraft operations, or cause other negative impacts. For this reason the following requirements apply to all guests. Further guidelines and procedures are expected from IAATO and some governments in the future
- All guests, including expeditions, research teams, mountaineers, adventure tourists, must inform ANI prior to departure for Antarctica whether they intend to use a UAV.
- Use of UAVs at all ANI locations must be cleared with ANI Operations before flight. Permission will not be granted if there is any likelihood of interference with wildlife, local aircraft activity, communications or electromagnetic frequencies in use in the relevant area.
- All users must be able to demonstrate to ANI that they have adequate training or, where relevant, certification for operating a UAV.
- UAVs should only be flown in areas where recovery of a downed vehicle is possible. Flights over hazardous areas, such as crevasses or steep terrain, must be discussed and agreed with ANI's Travel Safety Manager prior to launch. Adequate recovery systems must be in place, including homing UAV devices and/or a suitably qualified recovery team.
- UAVs must not be flown in or near to any Protected Areas or Historic Sites or Monuments, where “near” means any possibility of the UAV accidentally flying or drifting into the area.
Clothing and Equipment
I'm not sure I have the correct equipment?
We provide detailed clothing and equipment lists for all of our Experiences. If you still have questions after reading our equipment lists and overview just drop us a line and we will be more than happy to help.
Can I rent clothing from you?
Guests on non-technical Experiences have the option to rent custom-designed Antarctic parka and windpants, boots and polar sleeping bag from us. This may be the most practical option if you think you will not use these specialized items again. Please let us know well in advance if you would like to rent any items, as we have limited stocks and items are available on a first-come first-served basis. Our rental clothing is not suitable for technical climbing and ski expeditions.
The clothing rental form appears on the Requirements & Forms tab for each Experience where clothing rental is an option.
Booking and Payment Information
I'm ready to book. What do I do?
Please email or call our office to confirm availablity on your chosen Experience and departure. We will ask you to fill out a medical form (and resume of experience for climbing and ski expeditions). Please fill these forms out completely and honestly. If we have any questions or concerns, we will work with you to resolve them. Once these have been approved, we will ask you send a deposit of $US 5000 to confirm your reservation.
We ask all guests to fill out the following forms. Additional skills and training requirements may apply for technical ski and climbing Experiences. You can find more information on individual Experience pages, or contact us.