Isolated, historic and ruggedly beautiful, South Georgia Island is a jewel in the South Atlantic Ocean that attracts adventurous travelers in search of unspoiled landscapes and rich wildlife spotting opportunities.
Located 1,300 miles east of Tierra del Fuego, and 800 miles east-southeast of the Falkland Islands, the island and the seas around it support some of the world’s most populous seal, penguin, and seabird colonies.
Officially a British Overseas Territory but contested by Argentina, it was first claimed for Britain by Captain James Cook in 1775. Another famous name associated with the island is that of legendary explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton. His ill-fated Endurance expedition ended on South Georgia following an incredible 800-mile voyage in a lifeboat, regarded as one of the greatest small-boat journeys ever completed. Shackleton is buried in Grytviken, the island’s main settlement, which has a population of about 20 people, mainly consisting of the scientists and crew of the British Antarctic Survey.
South Georgia is a crescent-shaped island, about 104 miles long and 23 miles wide. Glaciers cover more than 50% of its surface, and the spectacular landscape is dotted by snow covered peaks and surrounded by fjords and emerald-green bays.
The impressive landscape is rivaled only by the amazing wildlife. Each summer, more than two million southern fur seals (about 95% of the global population) arrive at South Georgia, along with half the world’s population of southern elephant seals. The penguin population also numbers in the millions, with six species: macaronis, gentoos, king penguins, adelies, chinstraps and rockhoppers.
There are also an estimated 10 million seabirds, including albatrosses, petrels and prions. Birds only found on South Georgia include the South Georgia pipit, which is the only songbird in Antarctica, and the South Georgia pintail, the world’s only known carnivorous duck.
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