Top Five Things to Do on South Georgia Island
South Georgia Island is among the earth’s most remote territories. Things to do here include following the trails of famous explorers, paying respects at their grave sites, and releasing your inner adventurer in one of the planet’s most distinctive places.
With no airport, South Georgia is only reachable by boat. Famed for its diverse wildlife (particularly penguins and seals), it’s also a historically important destination. Here is a list of the top five things to do on your visit.
Explore South Georgia Island’s History
South Georgia’s history is as fascinating as its dramatic landscapes. It was first traversed by Captain James Cook, who claimed the land for the British in 1775, a governance that’s still in place today. The South Georgia Museum , situated in a former whaling manager's house, gives visitors a chance to learn about the island’s rich history. The museum covers diverse subjects, from South Georgia’s natural heritage to the lives of its small transient population.
Visit the grave of Ernest Shackleton
Intrepid explorer Ernest Shackleton died of a heart attack while exploring the continent of Antarctica in 1922. Up-on learning the news, his wife requested that he be buried in one of his most beloved locations, Grytviken on South Georgia Island. In 2013, a stone that had been taken from the grave 75 years earlier by sailor Joseph Collins was returned to its rightful home by the Royal Navy. It’s said that removing the stone was one of the sailor’s biggest regrets, and one of his dying wishes was for it to be returned to Shackleton’s grave.
Visit Fortuna Bay
This often snow-covered enclave is one of South Georgia’s wildlife hot spots. Fortuna Bay is famed for its magnificent king penguin colonies , along with a large number of elephant seals. The bay is named after a Norwegian-Argentine whaling vessel that was instrumental in establishing the first whaling station on South Georgia Island. Visit Shackleton’s grave in the morning and spend the afternoon watching colonies of fluffy penguins swimming off the shores.
Visit the ghost town of Grytviken
Grytviken was established in 1904 as a whaling station for Norwegian sea captain Carl Anton Larsen. After nearly 60 years of operation, and processing more than 53,000 whales, the station closed down. Whaling has largely been abandoned around the world now, and all that remains of this once-busy whaling station on South Georgia Island are a few government officials who collect a fee from the island’s visitors.
Explore St. Andrew’s Bay
The isolated St. Andrew’s Bay in South Georgia is home to a huge variety of wildlife. Visitors to are rewarded with impressive landscapes of snowcapped mountains and the sight of penguin colonies traversing the wild terrains. It’s thought that more than 100,000 birds inhabit St. Andrew’s Bay, making the long hike more than worth it.
If you’re looking for somewhere that’s a little bit different — or, that has lots of penguins — this snowy destination could be just the thing. A visit to South Georgia Island is as unique as it is unforgettable, as natural and human history coalesce to make it one of the most intriguing places in the Antarctic region.