No matter where you have been and what you have seen on previous travels: the frozen continent of Antarctica is different from anything on the planet. A huge cold-water current encloses this isolated continent. Here, in the midst of the great white open, you will find nature at its most sublime and haunting.
What is Antarctica?
Roughly twice the size of Australia, the southernmost continent is the fifth largest with its 14 million square kilometres of land mass. Most of this - 98% to be precise - is covered in ice. As a result, there are neither permanent residents nor native inhabitants in Antarctica. However, about 4000 people stay on scientific bases in the short summer period and around 1000 in total during the winter months. Additionally, around 30 000 tourists visit during the Antarctic summer from December to March.
Surprisingly for some, the area is teeming with life. Antarctica is home to millions of penguins, is the feeding area for thousands of whales in the Austral summer, and is a continent dedicated to science and peace. The continent is protected by the Antarctic Treaty of 1959 – however, pre-treaty, eight nations made claims to portions of Antarctica – Norway has the second largest claim, second only to Australia.
Antarctica is in all aspects isolated from the outside world and travelers will understand what this means when they experience “the windiest, the coldest, the driest, and the highest continent”.
Someone once said: “The person who is able to express the feeling of being in Antarctica in words has probably not been there.”