Not everyone shares the same concept of luxury. For some, the word conjures up decadent surroundings, free-flowing champagne and your own butler. For others, luxury means access to experiences you’ve never had, or never imagined were possible.
We’ve found one unforgettable experience that we think covers most people’s idea of absolute luxury, that is, if a trip to Antarctica is on your bucket list.
Chimu Adventures offers the most incredible 8-day journey to Antarctica and the South Pole and we are in absolute heaven. Our trip begins with a private jet flight from beautiful Cape Town to Wolf's Fang Runway, the first point of contact on the surreal and majestic continent. Landing on this 2500 metre strip of ice is quite a buzz, but nothing quite prepares you for the feeling of stepping onto the pristine landscape for the very first time. It takes me a while to soak in the rugged beauty of this desert of whiteness.
A short hop away, our base camp is the stunning Whichaway Oasis, a luxury collection of six hi-tech, heated polar domes or ‘polar pods’ with cutting-edge exteriors and old-world interiors that conjure up images of Antarctica’s rich heritage of exploration. At just over 6 metres in diameter and room for two, they feel spacious and airy and boast a writing desk, washroom area and toilet.
Food is of paramount importance and our chef prepares a 5-star gourmet meal while we enjoy a sauna with a view of the glacier. The dining table accommodates 14 people and is the ideal place for sharing adventures and enjoying the great food, with equally great company. Busy days exploring Antarctica are sure to work up an appetite, or so we’re told, and the hearty breakfasts, elegant lunches and three course dinners certainly see us well-fed during our stay at the bottom of the world. A carefully curated wine list from the leading Cape vineyards mean our food is always paired to perfection – and the uniquely crafted cocktail is served over the purest 1,000-year-old blocks of ice!
With the belief that a trip to Antarctica is the perfect opportunity to rest and recharge, the camp is outfitted with a sauna and wellness pod, on the edge of a serene freshwater lake.
After exploring this unexpected oasis, it’s very comforting to know that this is where we’ll be calling home each day, while we undertake any number of unique adventures completely tailored to suit.
A 2.5-hour flight from our cosy ‘home’, sees us arriving in Atka Bay where we bear witness to the incredible natural spectacle of newly hatched Emperor penguin chicks. Atka Bay is home to over 14,000 pairs of breeding emperor penguins, and of course their newly hatched chicks. With so few visitors, these incredibly curious creatures don’t seem to mind our presence at all, often approaching close up and allowing us the pleasure of several fantastic photography opportunities.
And if the sight of all that cute and curious nature isn’t your exact idea of luxury, we then have the rare opportunity to visit the geographic South Pole. The very lowest point of Earth, the South Pole, is the epitome of a true expedition experience. When we arrive, we are literally standing in a place where east, west and south don’t exist – there is only north! It’s a literally mind-blowing moment.
The rest of our days on the continent are spent undertaking optional adventures - all of which can be as adrenalin-filled or as relaxing as we see fit. There are only 12 guests on each adventure which means our guides can ensure the highest degree of safety. And of course, we are afforded the ultimate flexibility with each activity and can choose from biking, hiking, or Arctic truck safaris. I opt to enjoy the superb sanctuary of wellness facilities back at Whichaway Oasis. Bliss.
On this incredible Chimu Adventure, the days are yours as you see fit and yes, once again, it’s a notion that ticks my ideal of true luxury.
This expedition is one of the most luxurious ways to see Antarctica, and comes with a price tag to match. But for those who love to travel in absolute comfort and style, it's well worth it. Learn more >>