From Antarctica to Africa (Ushuaia - Cape Town)
23 days with Ponant Rating:
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.
Days 7-8 – AT SEA
Days 9-11 – SOUTH GEORGIA
Aboard your ship, discover South Georgia, a region formed by an underwater mountain chain that extends from the Andes to the Antarctic Peninsula. All the wildlife of the Far South can be found there: king and Gentoo penguins, elephant seals, fur seals… You might get the chance to discover the majestic glaciers of Gold Harbour and the vast plains of Fortuna Bay. If you are fortunate enough to land at Salisbury Plain, you can expect a wonderful spectacle: more than 300,000 king penguins, which you will recognise by the bright orange mark on their head and neck, have taken up residence there.
Days 12-14 – AT SEA
Day 15 – 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 16 – 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 17 – 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 18-20 – AT SEA
Day 21 – 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 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.
Day 23 – CAPE TOWN
Disembarkation at 07H00.
All This Included
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.
Cruising: Standard cabin onboard Le Lyrial
Terms and Conditions
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* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.