The Falkland Islands are a unique natural paradise. Along the endless coasts there breed numerous seabirds, which usually only can be observed on Antarctic cruises. Can you imagine sitting in the middle of a king penguin colony, while the animals are climbing almost over your feet? Or sitting in cliffs surrounded by hundreds of two-meter-long albatrosses feeding their chicks? On this trip, these and more dreams will come true.
The locations were selected by us specifially, because you can photograph here without any restrictions. This is the world’s best place to take pictures of king penguins or albatroses. You are not stuck on boat trips and fixed times like on a cruise ship. You can visit the penguin colony any time, without any time limits. Close to the king penguin colony at Volunteer Point there is a warm lounge and a toilet. You can spend the whole day from daybreak to sunset outside. On Saunders the Rookery is located only 300 meters from a breeding ground of albatrosses with nearly 13,000 breeding pairs. This is the key for incredible pictures, just as any nature photographer and animal lover would have dreamed of.
The travel group is divided into three subgroups of four persons each. The subgroups rotate at the single locations. The reason for this is that some of the accommodation in the top settings only have beds for four guests. However, especially these small groups offer ideal conditions for photography.
Every Saturday a plane from the airline LATAM flies from Santiago de Chile via Punta Arenas to Mt. Pleasant. A light aircraft awaits you in Mt. Pleasant, which will take you to Saunders Island in about 55 minutes. Once there, you are greeted by the farmers Suzan and David. They are the owners of the island, the accommodation and the small shop, where the travel group buys food, because there is self-service on the island.The local farm offers fresh milk and eggs. The rest of the food consists mainly of frozen food and food in tins. The water on this island is crystal clear and can be consumed carefree. You continue by landrover on rough terrain to the Rookery. The small cozy cottage is located directly on the sea and is only 300 meters from the albatros colony. The house has a fully equipped kitchen with couch corner and dining table and has an oven, stove, toaster, microwave and cooking utensils. The detached house is heated, has hot water and 24 hours electricity. If there is not enough sunshine, a diesel generator can be started which charges the batteries of the power system. Neither internet nor telephone are available on the island. In the house, there are two bedrooms with single beds, a bathroom with shower and toilet and a living room. The guestbook of the house contains entries from guests who have seen 28 animals. Even from the kitchen window of the Rookery, the blow of whales could be sighted. Overnight at The Rookery (self-supply).
Light-mantled albatrosses breed on the cliffs. In March, the breeding has mostly been completed. The parents are busy to get food for the big chick. The tour group is very close and observes the animals from an ideal photo-distance. Those young animals, which have managed to survive until now, are now in the moult and get the plumage which allows them to fly. After the animals have left their breeding grounds at the end of March, they fly to the South Atlantic, from where they will return only after five years to find a partner for themselves. About two kilometers further a giant colony of the rockhopper penguins breeds as well. Here you can find the famous waterfall of the rockhopper penguins, which gained fame in the BBC documentation about Falkland. You visit this colony and can take photos amply. In the plains and on the beaches in the west of the house, thousands of gentoo and magellanic penguins breed. The walk to these colonies takes about 30 minutes. Beside the penguins you can see sheep, the Falkland Caracara, various ducks and species of goose, turkey vultures, dolphin gulls, skuas, cormorants and small species of birds. Overnight at The Rookery (self-supply).
Drive from The Rookery to The Neck
The landrover takes you to the second accommodation on the island. On the way, provisions can be purchased, because the group takes care of the meals, again. Your accommodation is a detached house with two bedrooms, a kitchen with couch corner and dining table. The kitchen is fully equipped with oven, stove, toaster, microwave and cooking utensils. There is a bathroom with shower and toilet. Solar energy and generators provide energy and heat. Already close to the house, Caracaras are your constant companions. Overnight at The Neck (self-supply).
From the house you can see a lot of animals and within a few minutes walking you are on the beach in the middle of them. Here you can find four penguin species. On the opposite side of the beach there lives a rockhopper penguin colony, among them are breeding albatroses and king penguins. Sea elephants can also be observed in large quantities on the coasts. Here you can find ideal conditions for nature observation and photography. Overnight at The Neck (self-supply).
Caracas Island is another dream island with all the animals that the photographer’s heart desires. You take a boat trip to Westpoint, where another gigantic albatross colony is located. If you are lucky, dolphins might show up as well. Furthermore, photographic hikes are planned. Overnight in a guest room (B/L/D).
Flight from Saunders Island to Caracas Island
Am Vortag gegen 16:00 Uhr erfahren Sie, wann das Kleinflugzeug startet. Daher bleibt noch genug Zeit um am Morgen zu fotografieren, bevor der Landrover die Reisegruppe zur Flugpiste bringt. Nach etwa zwanzig Minuten Flugzeiten landen Sie auf Caracas Island, wo Sie Ihr neuer Gastgeber willkommen heißt. Auch von hier aus unternehmen Sie Wanderungen um die Tierwelt der Umgebung zu besuchen. Overnight in a guest room (self-supplied breakfast/L/D).
More than 2000 king penguins breed here. In March many animals still have eggs. Other chicks have already hatched. This gives you an impression of the different growth stages of these beautiful animals. Especially the beach at Volunteer Point is a productive setting. Here, all three penguin species that live here come and go and so there is always a lively atmosphere. Fantastic photo motifs can be found on this sandy beach. A special show is when sea lions hunt the penguins that are coming back from the ocean. There are even some which specialized in hunting those penguins that are lazy and slow because of the meal they just took in the sea. Besides the king penguins, there is also a huge breeding colony of gentoo penguins, which are in the moult at this time of the year. The maggelanic penguins are also in the moult and the young animals form large groups in order to prepare for their day of departure. When all the animals moulted, they go to the ocean together in order to start their long journey to Brazil, where the penguins spend the winter. Upland gooses can be seen in large numbers, but also many other birds. Predators such as turkey vultures, kelp gulls and skuas are omnipresent. Take pictures as much as you want on the beaches and amidst the penguin colonies. Overnight at a farm house (B/L/D).
Flight to Port Stanley and drive to Volunteer Point
Depending on the announced flight time, there is still some time to explore the surroundings. Afterwards you fly about an hour to Port Stanley, where Derrek Peterson welcomes you. With him you drive about two hours partly off the road to Volunteer Point. Depending on the time of arrival you can visit the large colony of the king penguins. You live in a farmhouse with two small guest rooms. The very friendly host couple takes care lovingly of the guests and cooks delicious Falkland dishes, i.e. typical British food with porridge, beans and bacon for breakfast. Extra wishes are fulfilled, if possible. The living room with couch corner is shared with the owners. There is a bathroom with shower and toilet. Wi-Fi can be used free of charge between 00:00 and 06:00 pm. A landline telephone is available. The water for the shower is extracted from the springs of the surrounding meadows which is why it has a brown color. Fresh water is provided free of charge in bottles at any time. Overnight at a farm house (B/L/D).
Return to Port Stanley
Ample photo shoots in the morning, before returning to Port Stanley in the afternoon. The capital of the Falkland Islands is the last stop. The last night serves as a buffer, because in this region of the earth it can be so stormy that light aircrafts are not able to fly. In the evening the whole group meets. You stay in a simple three-star hotel with restaurant. Wi-Fi is available for a fee of ten Argentinean pounds. Overnight at Marina House (B/L/D).
This morning, there are two programs, which can be booked additionally for an optional fee: visit of the War Memorial of the Falkland War, or tour to penguin colonies. Transfer in the afternoon to the airport and return flight to Punta Arenas. (B)