Ocean Cruise Expeditions

From Antarctica to Africa

  • Duration 22 Days | Ushuaia to Cape Town
  • From $12,534 AUD
Call 1800 889 088

Trip Overview

Start exploring the world with our Welcome Offer and SAVE A$800 per stateroom*! Plus, book early to SAVE up to 20% off.^ Call us today on 1800 889 088.

PONANT invites you to sail from Tierra del Fuego to the Cape of Good Hope during a 22-day expedition cruise from one continent to the other.

You will begin your voyage in Ushuaia, the mythical embarkation port located at the extreme south of the Andes cordillera.

First, you will chart a course for the Falkland Islands, whose wild beauty and lush moors are sure to captivate you.

Your ship will then make its way to the coast of South Georgia, in the wake of the British explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton. The glaciers and protected fauna make this place a paradise for anyone with a passion for wild lands. It is not uncommon to be greeted by a colony of several thousand king penguins; this is the only place in the world where you can enjoy such a unique privilege.

Continue your trip with another highlight as you visit the world’s most remote inhabited archipelago: Tristan da Cunha. Hidden in the middle of the Atlantic, it is made up of several volcanic islands, most of which are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Finally, you’ll head for Cape Town, your disembarkation port, dominated by the famous silhouette of Table Mountain.

We are privileged guests in these extreme lands where we are at the mercy of weather and ice conditions. Landings on certain sites and the observation of certain wildlife cannot be guaranteed. They vary from day to day, making each PONANT cruise a unique experience. The Captain and the Expedition Leader will make every effort to ensure that your experience is as rich as possible, while complying with the safety rules and instructions imposed by the IAATO.

Trip Highlights

  • Outings and shore visits in Zodiac® inflatables with a team of experienced naturalist guides.
  • Lectures and information sessions hosted by our naturalist-guides, covering wildlife, history, geopolitics, the great explorers, climate, environmental protection…
  • Sailing from Antarctica to Africa on the same cruise.
  • Hiking opportunity.
  • Landscapes: moors scattered with moss and lichen, white-sand beaches and turquoise waters in the Falkland Islands; alpine landscapes, lush green plains and suspended glaciers in South Georgia; sheer cliffs and volcanic landscapes in Tristan da Cunha.
  • Wildlife: black-browed albatrosses, snowy albatrosses, Magellanic penguins, Gentoo penguins and southern rockhopper penguins in the Falkland Islands; king penguins, elephant seals, fur seals and macaroni penguins in South Georgia; Atlantic yellow-nosed albatross, Tristan albatrosses and northern rockhopper penguins in Tristan da Cunha.
  • Discovering the Tristan da Cunha archipelago, many of whose islands are UNESCO World Heritage.
  • Sailing around the Cape of Good Hope.
  • Educational discovery in the respect of environment.
  • New: for your comfort and convenience, an optional premium package including one night in Ushuaia on the eve of boarding your ship and an excursion to Tierra del Fuego National Park (for details, see the “Pre/post & overlands” tab for your cruise. Please contact your travel adviser for information and bookings).
  • Pre & post cruise programmes are available in the "Pre/post & overlands" tab. Please contact your travel adviser for information and bookings.

Itinerary - 22 Days

Day 1 USHUAIA

Embarkation from 16H00 to 17H00. Departure at 18H00.

Capital of Argentina's Tierra del Fuego province, Ushuaia lies in a bay opening into the Beagle Channel at the country's southernmost tip. Its colourful houses are framed against towering mountains, snow-capped in winter and summer alike. Downtown, the End of the World Museum showcases Tierra del Fuego's natural and indigenous history. A ride on the heritage railway is an exciting excursion into the Tierra del Fuego National Park, while a cruise on Ushuaia Bay is the perfect way to spot sea lions and Magellanic penguins.

Day 2 AT SEA

During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the PONANT photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observer marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.

Day 3 NEW ISLAND

This island with its distinctive jagged relief is located on the western edge of the Falkland Islands and is home to a tiny village of two families. Step onto the golden sand of its flower-lined beaches, beside which an old stone house still stands, and you'll feel like you've entered a natural paradise. A narrow pathway weaves around typical Falkland moorlands. Follow it and in under 20 minutes you'll find yourself at the heart of a colony of southern rockhopper penguins, black-browed albatross and imperial shags. It's the perfect opportunity to watch the albatross swoop down from the cliffs and skim the waves that crash against the rocks on the exposed side of the island.

Day 4 GRAVE COVE

Make your way through the turbulent Woolly Gut strait and emerge in the stillness of Grave Cove. Located in the northern edge of the Falkland Islands, this bay owes its name to the vestiges of whalers’ graves that overlook the beach. As you step off the boat and onto the white-sand beach, you might find yourself escorted by a few hospitable Commerson's dolphins, elegantly adorned in black and white.  A stroll along the grassy dunes will lead you to a vast plain of lush green grass, tended by a few sheep. On the other side of the island you'll find one of the largest gentoo penguin colonies in the area. With some luck, you'll also glimpse a sea lion scouring the waves for his next meal.

Day 5 STEEPLE JASON ISLAND

If one island of the Falklands calls for use of superlatives, it would undoubtedly be Steeple Jason. Located at the extreme north-west corner of the Falklands, the island is home to the largest black-browed albatross colony in the world. You'll be rapt at the sight of these magnificent birds with black-contoured eyes. Photographers will delight in immortalising the endless ballet of the albatross, who soars majestically and then alights awkwardly amidst nests. Caracaras, gentoo penguins and Magellanic penguins are also abundantly present, as if to prove to the visitor that here nature is king.

Day 6 THE NECK, SAUNDERS ISLAND

The Neck is a narrow stretch of land connecting the two sides of Saunders Island, located on the north-western edge of the Falklands. You'll safely enter these blustery surroundings with the assistance of your naturalist guides. And once there, a reward awaits you: a veritable paradise of endless shoreline lapped by turquoise waters. Several bird species, also attracted to this stunning location, have settled here. At the other end of The Neck, you'll encounter Magellanic penguins, southern rockhopper penguins, black-browed albatross and king penguins, all basking in the beauty of their surroundings.

Day 7 AT SEA

During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the PONANT photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observer marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.

Day 8 SALISBURY PLAIN

Salisbury Plain is home to one of the most unforgettable natural vistas of South Georgia. Formed by the retreat of Grace Glacier, the same majestic peaks that once awed Shackleton still tower over the surrounding land. The island's bluish landscape exudes the magnificence and beauty of unspoilt nature. At the heart of this wild refuge, on the beaches of the bay, lies a colony of 300,000 king penguins. Amidst this sea of black and orange heads, fur seals and their young can be spotted nosing their way through the crowd. Under the pale austral sunlight that reflects off of the plain, flocks of birds are carried by the winds in a graceful show of nature's wonder.

Day 9 FORTUNA BAY

Situated at the foot of sharply-rising mountains, Fortuna Bay is a truly dazzling vision to behold. You’ll marvel at a panorama of cliffs rising up from the icy waters and small streams fed by melting mountain snow meandering through vast green plains. The bay itself bows inward to form a perfect crescent, indented by a torrent. During your excursion, you can follow in the footsteps of Ernest Shackleton or even encounter the 50,000 king penguin couples who call the island their home and whose densely-packed silhouettes form a remarkable silver swath with a sprinkling of brown and bright orange.

Day 10 STROMNESS

In May 1916 after a perilous two-week journey on the James Caird followed by an hours-long trek across South Georgia, Sir Ernest Shackleton arrived in Stromness. There, at long last, he found the help needed to rescue his men stranded on Elephant Island. A former Norwegian whaling station, Stromness is now off limits to visitors. Crumbling pieces of abandoned buildings can be swept up by the wind, posing a danger for visitors who get too close. From your Zodiac®, however, you'll still get a good glimpse of the island's fur seals, who have completely reclaimed the beach and village.

Day 11 SAINT ANDREWS BAY

Facing out towards the tempestuous Atlantic Ocean, you'll safely disembark along Saint Andrews Bay with the assistance of your naturalist guides. This bay bears a gift that is sure to enchant photographers. From the bay's long grey-sand beach, home to abundant fur seals and elephant seals, you can easily access a vast glacial trough bordered by steep mountainsides and enclosed by Ross Glacier. Here, at the heart of this valley, lies the climax of your visit: the largest colony of king penguins on the South Georgia Islands. You'll be witness to a surreal visual and auditory experience: entire hillsides covered with adult penguins dutifully going back and forth from land to water in order to feed their young.

Day 12 GRYTVIKEN

The Grytviken stopover is a highlight of South Georgia Island. This former whaling station, now a ghost town, is set against a serene backdrop of ochre-coloured earth.  Vestiges of the whaling industry are still very much present, particularly old whale bones and remnants of shipwrecks. Grytviken's other historical point of interest is the grave of famous adventurer Sir Ernest Shackleton. During the legendary Endurance expedition (1914-1917) Shackleton and his men survived against all odds after having been trapped in pack ice for several months. The series of exploits leading to their rescue will remain forever etched in the annals of Antarctic exploration.

Day 13 GOLD HARBOUR

Majestic glaciers with a bluish sheen, waterfalls that reflect the rays of the setting sun, pitch-black volcanic sand beaches: these are just a few of the wonders to be found in Gold Harbour's landscape. This natural gem is blanketed by bright green tussocks and framed by snow-capped peaks. On this island where summer days are endless, the wildlife stays up with the sun. Fur seals, elephant seals and king penguins move about the island like tiny black dots along the landscape. Those humans who enter this kaleidoscope of colours and sensations do so as privileged and tolerated observers of the austral wildlife.

Day 14 COOPER BAY

Take a seat in one of our Zodiac® dinghies and head out to explore Cooper Bay, near Gold Harbour. It was named after the first lieutenant of the famous sailor, Captain James Cook, and the bay offers a quite unexpected sight, with long basalt canyons forming high cliffs that loom over a turquoise-blue water. In the centre of the bay, a magical atmosphere reigns when just a few rays of sunshine pierce the gauzy layer formed by the morning mist. The craggy coastlines are home to colonies of macaroni penguins who pay close attention to the arrival of our tiny crafts.

Day 15 AT SEA

During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the PONANT photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observer marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.

Day 16 TRISTAN DA CUNHA

A small British archipelago discovered in the 16th century by the Portuguese sailor after whom it was named, Tristan da Cunha is made up of several islands scattered off the South-African coast. Most of these are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. During your cruise, you will discover the archipelago’s eponymous main island, offering visitors basalt land lulled by the swell, home to the only village in the chain of islands, and topped with a volcano.

Day 17 NIGHTINGALE ISLAND

This small active volcanic island of 3 km2 belongs to the isolated Tristan da Cunha island chain, far out in the South Atlantic. Totally uninhabited, the island is visited only by researchers for whom it offers a rich field of observation. The island is colonised by over a million birds, including great shearwaters and Atlantic yellow-nosed albatross, two iconic species of these Subantarctic waters.

Day 18 GOUGH ISLAND

Located in the midst of the Roaring Forties winds, this small uninhabited volcanic island is the remotest of the Tristan da Cunha islands. Stopovers here are no easy feat and require authorisation. But even from your Zodiac®, you'll have a chance to take in the beauty of this wild island, lined by steep cliffs that plunge dramatically into the ocean. Recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Gough Island harbours one of the largest colonies of seabirds in the world. Endemic species include the Gough finch and the Gough moorhen. Along with its ‘little sister’, Inaccessible Island, Gough constitutes one of the most well-preserved natural sites in the world, virtually unaltered by man.

Day 19 AT SEA

During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the PONANT photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observer marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.

Day 20 SAILING AROUND THE CAPE OF GOOD HOPE

Located at the southern tip of the African continent, the Cape of Good Hope was originally dubbed the Cape of Storms by Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias, due to its position at the confluence of two opposing ocean currents. One of the most iconic sites on the planet, the area is a veritable paradise for a number of marine animal species. The cape is one of three promontories offering a breathtaking view onto Table Mountain National Park, a stunning 7,000-km2 stretch of greenery. From your ship, you'll take in the impressive scene of clear ocean waves crashing against steep, towering cliffs.

Day 21 CAPE TOWN

Dynamic and peaceful, cosmopolitan and hip, Cape Town offers its visitors a most unique mix. Here, the locals like to say that their city is “the quintessential melting pot of South Africa”. Located in the heart of one of the most beautiful bays in the world and dominated by the famous Table Mountain, it is graced with extraordinary landscapes including sheer cliffs that plunge into the Atlantic Ocean and vast whitesand beaches. We invite you to discover this incredible city, the South African capital of fashion, the art of living, and gastronomy. Further on, the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve awaits you and is home to a wide variety of endemic fauna and flora.

Day 22 CAPE TOWN

Dynamic and peaceful, cosmopolitan and hip, Cape Town offers its visitors a most unique mix. Here, the locals like to say that their city is “the quintessential melting pot of South Africa”. Located in the heart of one of the most beautiful bays in the world and dominated by the famous Table Mountain, it is graced with extraordinary landscapes including sheer cliffs that plunge into the Atlantic Ocean and vast whitesand beaches. We invite you to discover this incredible city, the South African capital of fashion, the art of living, and gastronomy. Further on, the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve awaits you and is home to a wide variety of endemic fauna and flora.

 

EXTRAORDINARY PARTNERSHIPS

National Geographic Expeditions has carefully chosen world-leading travel partners to create extraordinary travel experiences. Each expedition offers guests our unique access, knowledge and the ability to give back by supporting the National Geographic Society.

Our Ocean Cruise Expeditions are offered in partnership with PONANT. To learn more about the itinerary, explore the PONANT ship or secure your spot, click here.

*Welcome Offer: A$800 saving is in Australian Dollars (AUD), per stateroom based on a double occupancy, A$400 per stateroom for single occupancy. Offer valid for guests travelling with PONANT for the first time. Offer is not redeemable for cash, not retroactive, and not combinable with any other offer, unless stated otherwise. Valid for new bookings available until further notice, subject to change and may be withdrawn at any time without notice. Conditions apply.

^PONANT discount is subject to change based on availability. PONANT Bonus fare is per person, in Australian Dollars (AUD), based on double occupancy, including port taxes, is yield managed and correct at time of writing - 16/07/2019. Refer to au.ponant.com for full terms and conditions.

From Antarctica to Africa

From AUD $12,534 Call 1800 889 088

Newsletter

Never miss a Nat Geo moment

Your email address
Submit
We use our own and third-party cookies to improve our services, personalise your advertising and remember your preferences. If you continue browsing, or click on the accept button on this banner, we understand that you accept the use of cookies on our website. For more information visit our Cookies Policy AcceptClose cookie policy overlay