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King penguin chick

South Georgia & Falklands Photographic Expedition

15 days
5 / 5 from 1 review
Polar Expeditions
Activity level:
Moderate / Challenging
Activity Rating - Moderate/Challenging
Trip code: 
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Photographic Departures
Max group size:

South Georgia & Falklands Photographic Expedition on board the Magellan Explorer, accompanied by Paul Goldstein and Mark Carwardine

Paul Goldstein and Mark Carwardine

Fit for Kings

There may be better places to photograph in the world than South Georgia, perhaps the plains of East Africa when the herds are in full flight, but it is debatable. South Georgia is a combination of staggering scenery: with towering mountains, sparkling hanging glaciers and charcoal volcanic beaches choked with literally millions of King penguins and countless other species.

The legacy of Ernest Henry Shackleton is never far away, this distant South Atlantic faunal stronghold being the final part of his epic journey after the Endurance had become entombed in a crushing and mortal grip of Weddell Sea ice. The most valuable commodity on any Antarctic journey is time and with a spanking new 96 berth vessel specifically designed for these waters, with magnificent facilities and with an impressive top speed, we will be making the most of this fortnight. The Magellan is in a class of its own and perfect for this sort of adventure. This is a photographic expedition which, put simply, aims to utterly maximise every daylight hour in both South Georgia and the Falklands. Weather is a capricious mistress at best in the South Atlantic and therefore we cannot be bound by rigid timetables. There should be huge Elephant seals competing for beach space, often resulting in violent skirmishes in the surf. Having had to move the clock in the past to enjoy sunrise in the past (honestly) it will be good to enjoy some dawn and dusk. Rest assured there is also plenty of daylight too.

Flying straight into Stanley saves a lot of sea time as most departures leave from Ushuaia and the plan will be to do at least two big Falklands landings as well as some time in the capital Stanley.

For photographers, wilderness fans, and those who have ever dreamed about spending time in this remote backwater, this is a must. Many people travel to the South Atlantic and have their journeys compromised by having to split landings on account of the 100 people maximum. This ship is 96 berth and not this size by co-incidence and the two weeks on board are going to be very exciting if perhaps a little exhausting. Most journeys to South Georgia are on cruise ships allocating maybe three days at best in this fabled faunal nirvana. This almost borders on insult and this expedition (notice the different description please) plans five days at least in South Georgia before returning to the fertile Falkland islands. Hundreds of times I have heard people bemoaning the fact they did not have long enough in South Georgia, well, not on this expedition. The colonies of St Andrews Bay, Gold Harbour and Salisbury Plain are the biggest penguin colonies anywhere and need long, extended landings. Despite being a formidable obstacle to their almost crusade-like journey to Stromness whaling station, Worsley, Crean, McNeish and the Boss himself were captivated by this island as you will be .... the comfort levels have improved a little since the James Caird though!

King for a day.....well it will be a little more than that. If walking in the footsteps of Shackleton, gazing at coruscating glaciers, watching huge seals batter seven barrels out of each other and then witnessing thousands of King and other penguins in and out of the surf is your thing, I really look forward to welcoming you on board.

As for photography there .... it really is the sport of kings.

Georgia on your minds...?  It should be.

 - Paul Goldstein

Paul Goldstein
Exodus guide and award-winning photographer Paul Goldstein has often said that he is happiest on the plains of the Masai Mara or the decks of a ship in the Polar regions. Having completed over twenty expeditions, his choice for our summer months is Spitsbergen. Paul has a ridiculous amount of energy and is, as the Sunday Times described him, ‘a preposterously vivacious guide of almost psychotic gusto’.

Mark Carwardine
Mark Carwardine is a zoologist, an active and outspoken conservationist, an award-winning writer, a TV and radio presenter, a widely published wildlife photographer, a magazine columnist and a conservation consultant. He has written more than 50 books (including several bestsellers) and hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles and has been writing a provocative monthly column in BBC Wildlife magazine since January 2004. He presented the popular six-part BBC-TV series Last Chance to See, with actor and comedian Stephen Fry, in which the unlikely duo travelled the world in search of a motley collection of endangered species (following in the footsteps of a similar journey Mark had made with Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, 20 years earlier), and for many years, he presented the weekly half-hour programme Nature on BBC Radio 4. He was also Chairman of the Judging Panel of the prestigious Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition, jointly owned by BBC Wildlife magazine and the Natural History Museum, from 2005 until 2011. He was selected as one of The World’s 40 Most Influential Nature Photographers in Outdoor Photography magazine and is one of 26 photographers from around the world chosen to show their work at COP26. He and Paul have worked together frequently and are an effective and invigorating partnership. They rarely agree with each other but both bring a lot to the polar picnic in terms of photography, knowledge and opinion!

'If I wanted a cut and dried cruise to the polar regions I would book elsewhere. I do not. I have 'completed' three' expeditions' with Paul and Exodus on special exclusive departures and having travelled to the regions with others there is no comparison. There are guides and then there is Paul. I do not know of anyone who works harder to deliver both results and frankly excitement. There are many things important when deciding on the poles: ship, size and the itinerary - or lack of one. My expeditions were always on hundred person ships and always maximised weather and daylight hours. I just cannot imagine doing it any other way.' C.K.   Berks. UK


  • Special photography departure accompanied by Paul Goldstein and Mark Carwardine
  • Travel on the Magellan Explorer, a brand new fast 96 berth expedition vessel
  • All cabins en suite
  • Accompanied by lecturers and experienced crew
  • Plenty of photographic advice and instruction
  • Flexible itinerary
  • Extended time and landings in South Georgia and the Falklands
  • Huge King penguin colonies of St Andrews Bay, Salisbury Plain and Gold Harbour
  • Witness millions of King penguins, Gentoo and Macaroni penguins, Elephant seals fighting as well as Giant petrels, Cape petrels, skuas and seals
  • Good possibility of seeing huge grounded icebergs 

What's included

  • All meals while on the ship
  • Beer and house wine during lunch and dinner
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout and qualified Expedition Staff
  • We can include flights from the UK.  Please contact us for a quote.

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
1300 131 564
Call for private group trips:
1300 131 564
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 


  • Day 1

    Start Port Stanley, Falkland Islands

    You will be picked up at the Port Stanley Airport and transferred into town. There will be time to explore the town of Port Stanley before boarding the ship.

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    Saunders Island & Carcass Island

    These remote islands are havens for extraordinary birdlife - both those that fly and those that cannot! They are a perfect introduction to the avian arsenal of the South Atlantic and will be extended landings (as will all on this expedition, weather permitting). Only a handful of people live on these islands but welcome visitors from small ships with open arms and cream teas. Both the islands have white sandy beaches unlike the South Georgian black ones and there are good chances to experience Commerson dolphins as they escort the ship and Zodiacs.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    West Point

    West Point is perhaps the most photogenic island in the Falklands. There is a frankly ridiculous number of seabirds and it is home to the much loved Rockhopper penguins. Dramatic and breath-taking, it is a venue for both wide angle and telephoto lenses. Mark and Paul will be on hand for advice throughout these excursions but will advise some personal time without megapixels for a few moments to really appreciate this ornithological haven. The Magellan will then sail East after the excursion with the bow set for South Georgia.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Days 4-5

    At Sea

    Enjoy this new sleek ship as she rides with the tradewinds at a fair clip East. This is the coldwater convergence so there will be constant squadrons of albatrosses of many varieties as well as pintadas, prions and the sinister Giant petrels. Paul and Mark will be giving a selection of photography presentations on board to ensure everyone is locked and loaded for the first South Georgia landing. There are historians on board as well as experts in almost every facet of Antarctica: ice, birds, ecology and pinnipeds. Critically this is a very comfortable ship and top in its class: important when you are at the mercy of the South Atlantic. 

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 6

    Elsehul Bay

    If it lives in South Georgia you can be sure it lives in Elsehul, a beautiful crescent of a bay. Seals (thankfully not very many Fur ones), Gentoos, Kings and a whole host of seabirds are found here. It is also a very beautiful 'harbour' and as a first excursion is a lot more than just a polar hors d'oevre.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 7

    Fortuna Bay & Grytviken

    The expedition gets big league status today as Fortuna Bay is where Ernest Henry Shackleton finished the final part of his famous walk before arriving into Stromness harbour. If there is time, this section can be walked for those wanting to plant their boots in the footprints of the greatest of all the explorers. There are also thousands of penguins, seals and a captivating backdrop.

    The afternoon is a mandatory landing at Grytviken where passports have to be stamped. Grytviken has the legacy of whaling, the Endurance and indeed the first shots of the Falklands war forty years ago were fired here. There are Elephant seals, King penguins and nesting albatross. The museum is fascinating as is the whole place and worthy of an afternoon, it is also a sheltered bay where Red-billed Antarctic terns dive on even the suspicion of krill. After several hours the ship will depart just as Shackleton did over a hundred years ago, with perhaps not the comforts but no doubt a similar level of excitement.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    Gold Harbour

    There are much-heralded wildernesses in the world and then there is Gold Harbour. With a flexible itinerary we will try to go ashore at the first blush of the false dawn, fortunately in early October this should not involve a brutal wake up and we may well alter the clock from GMT (because we can!)  to assist our morning excursions. Over a hundred thousand King penguins, Elephant seals fighting turf wars on the sand and surf and huge meticulously formed hanging glaciers hovering over the bay. It is a top podium landing where most of Noah's polar lot can be seen, Gold by name .......

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 9

    St Andrews Bay

    If Gold is just that, St Andrew's could very well be platinum with almost a quarter of a million Kings. It is dramatic but sometimes tricky to land. However, we have time and devote a whole day to this South Sea treasure. Nobody arrives at a place like this by accident, you have to want to go and a long landing like this will leave an indelible mark on memories, mainframes and megapixels. It is little short of witchcraft.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 10

    Cooper Bay & Drygalski

    Cooper Bay is a striking stretch of coastline best accessed by Zodiac. It is also somewhere to spot the Macaroni penguins with their foppish fringes. Being a little more exposed it also invites dramatic brooding weather and is an extremely exciting excursion.

    Drygalski, named after the German geographer, is a huge spectacular fjord often choked with icebergs. This is accessed best by the ship itself and with plenty of vantage points this could easily rip a few gigabytes off your cards in a manner of minutes.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 11

    Right Whale Bay & Salisbury Plain

    As a day, it would be hard to beat this for wilderness anywhere in the world. Right Whale Bay is a particular favourite of Mark and Paul. It is wild, thick with penguins and on the Eastern Beach, which is unprotected unlike the landing site, there is huge swell with King penguins being spat out of the boiling surf and spume. There are many Elephant seals and it will be an early start.

    After a good lunch the mighty fortress of Salisbury Plain is breached. Not only does the black sand beach have some of the best surf photography anywhere there is also the massive concentrations of birds in front of the glaciers and towering mountains. Along the Northern side of the landing there is a sharp rise and it is possible to gaze down onto tens of thousands of birds circled by the predatory petrels and skuas. Salisbury Plain is probably one of the favourite landings for any visitor to South Georgia ....

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 12

    Salisbury Plain

    Dawn at Salisbury Plain  Well, we couldn't go there just once could we? A dawn start on the fabled sands is a fitting end to the King penguins but this excursion will not be rushed. It is a superb canvas to document and also enjoys the full capricious array of Mother Nature's weather. If there is time there will be a visit to Prion Island, the nesting site for the Wandering Albatross. The ship will then turn West back to the Falklands.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Days 13-14

    At Sea

    Just because the expedition has left South Georgia does not mean it is over. Paul and Mark are experienced hands at the final sea days and alongside the equally seasoned Antarctic 21 staff, will make sure the final wrap up days are spectacular and also enjoyable, as well as informative as concluding montages are meticulously put together as well as the fiendishly competitive photo competition. A noisy chorus of countless seabirds will trail the stern's wake all the way to Stanley.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 15

    Disembark in Stanley

    Upon arrival at Port Stanley we disembark and transfer to the airport for the ongoing flight.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Group Information

The Magellan Explorer takes a maximum capacity of 96 passengers.


Falkland Islands

No visa required.

South Georgia

No visa required for British, US, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and most EU passports.

Eating and Drinking

All meals while on the ship included and offer a variety of choices. A full selection of drinks is served by waitstaff. Breakfast and lunch are offered buffet-style, where your choice of main course is plated by a chef and can then be complemented by side dishes, salads, fruits, and pastries. Dinner is sit-down, with full service. Beers and premium Chilean wines are included with lunch and dinner. Depending on the weather, a barbecue on deck may be offered.

Is this trip for you?

Travelling Conditions

The voyages are designed to be as flexible as possible, taking advantage of circumstances and events as they occur, as well as passengers’ wishes and particular interests wherever possible. The atmosphere onboard is relaxed and friendly with expedition staff, including naturalists and Polar experts, on hand and the opportunity to mingle with people from all over the world. The ship is kept warm, clean and comfortable with a wet/mud room in which to hang gear and store boots ready for the next adventure.

On the Zodiac cruises you are sitting still for most of the time with the potential for some sea spray and a cold headwind - if you are not dressed appropriately you will get cold. On the shore excursions, the majority of landings are ‘wet’ which means that the Zodiacs beach and you are helped to slide into the ankle deep shore break before walking up onto dry land (wellington boots are issued to all passengers).

There are, of course, no paths, so be prepared for slippery, rough terrain and sometimes fairly deep snow. Back on board the cosy ship after each adventure, you can have a sauna and/or a hot shower and then relax with a tea, coffee, hot chocolate or something stronger from the bar.

Booking Conditions

Please note that the booking conditions for this trip differ from our standard conditions. 

As with all Polar holidays and voyages, the required deposit is 25% per person of your selected travel arrangements (minimum £1000 per person or equivalent) and the balance of the price of your travel arrangements must be paid at least 133 days before your departure date. The deposit is non-refundable, and at 133 days before departure date, our cancellation penalties are 100% of the holiday cost. 

On this specific departure, we will be asking you for an additional non-refundable instalment of 20% of the full trip cost to be paid before 5th March 2022.  If we do not receive this instalment from you, your booking will be considered cancelled and your deposit will unfortunately not be refunded.

Please note: on this departure, the only discount available is our loyalty discount, if applicable.


Itineraries are never clinical on a photographic expedition, the itinerary listed is merely a very rough outline as to what could be achieved but with bounteous daylight, long days and very early starts, it will garner far more time ashore in the action than more rigorous departures. 

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
1300 131 564
Call for private group trips:
1300 131 564
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.


Magellan Explorer

Magellan Explorer
Magellan Explorer

The Falkland Islands & South Georgia Photographic Expedition is offered on the Magellan Explorer, a new and modern expedition vessel custom-built for Antarctic and sub-Antarctic expeditions.

The Magellan Explorer has capacity for up to 96 guests in seven categories of accommodation, including dedicated single cabins. All cabins except Porthole cabins feature private balconies. All double cabins except two have two twin beds that can be configured as one king-size bed. All cabins feature a wardrobe, individually controlled heating system, a sitting area, and a private bathroom with shower.

The ship features a glass-enclosed observation lounge and presentation room with state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment, a spacious and stylish dining room, a well-stocked bar, a library, a meeting room, a gym, a sauna, and a medical clinic. The forward-facing observation deck leads to the bow of the ship, which is accessible to guests to offer proximity to marine wildlife. The ship has a fleet of 10 Zodiac boats that are well suited for disembarking and wildlife watching.

Magellan Explorer

Magellan Explorer cabin
Magellan Explorer cabin
Magellan Explorer bar/lounge
Magellan Explorer bar/lounge
Call for general departures:
1300 131 564
Call for private group trips:
1300 131 564
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.


Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call for general departures:
1300 131 564
Call for private group trips:
1300 131 564
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed August 2022



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Dates & Prices

Polar Ships: For information regarding ship specifications, visit the Polar Fleet page.

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