- Depart London on an overnight flight via Madrid to Santiago, Chile.
- Arrive in Santiago and walk to a nearby airport hotel complex. The rest of the day is free to relax; there are good public transport links to the city centre from the airport.
- Santiago, 1-night on room only basis.
- Early morning flight to the Falklands, with a brief stop in Punta Arenas in Chilean Patagonia en route. On arrival at Mount Pleasant airport in the afternoon, we meet our tour leader, and drive to our first hotel in Darwin, just under an hour's drive away.
- After settling in, we have a brief opportunity to explore before dinner and get our first taste of island wildlife.
- Accommodation: Darwin,1-night on full board basis.
- Fly from Darwin airstrip to Sea Lion Island in East Falkland. Just 8 kilometres long by 2.5 kilometres wide, with a resident population of five, Sea Lion is the most southerly inhabited island of the entire archipelago. A few minutes' walk from our accommodation is a colony of breeding southern elephant seals.
- During our stay here, we visit colonies of gentoo and rockhopper penguins, with ever-present blackish cinclodes (known locally as ‘tussac-birds’), snowy sheathbills and brown skuas. Offshore we may spot cetaceans such as orca, which are frequently seen from the beaches and even the lodge’s lounge.
- One of the land specialities is the striated caracara, a raptor that is now virtually restricted to the Falkland Islands, after having been almost completely extirpated in mainland South America. Southern crested caracara are also found here, along with the rufous-chested dotterel that abound on the ‘diddledee’ moorland.
- Accommodation: Sea Lion Island, 2-nights on full board basis.
- Today we fly to Bleaker Island, which is listed as an Important Bird Area, where we visit a colony of gentoo penguin – inevitably known as Penguin Hill – plus several colonies of Magellanic penguin and king cormorant.
- The eastern end of the island is accessible and a good site for watching marine mammals offshore
- Plenty of walking opportunities are available around the island including long sandy beaches with beautiful views.
- Accommodation: Bleaker Island, 2-nights on full board basis.
- We fly back to Stanley in the northeast of East Falkland and check into our hotel.
- The following day we take a three-hour Land Rover drive to one of the biggest penguin colonies of the Falklands, at Volunteer Point. At this time of year the king penguin chicks are just hatching. South American fur seals are also occasionally sighted here.
- Accommodation: Stanley, 2-nights on full board basis.
- After a final morning in and around the capital, during which we can visit the small museum, we drive to Mount Pleasant Airport to check in for the weekly flight to Santiago, with a refuelling stop at Punta Arenas.
- Accommodation: Santiago, 1-night on a room only basis.
- The morning is free to relax, before we head back to the airport to check in for our overnight flight back to London, again via Madrid.
Day 12 Arrive UK
All prices are per person and include:
- Services of the naturalist leader
- Most meals
- Guided activities
We stay in comfortable lodges and hotels, all rooms have en suite facilities. We can offer a very limited number of single rooms, but these may not be available throughout the tour.
Most meals are included
Breakfasts and dinners are taken at the hotel. Lunches are a mix of picnics and leisurely sit-down meals taken at one of the region’s traditional restaurants or Gasthofs.
On this tour we will visit several gentoo, rockhopper and Magellanic penguin colonies, as well as a black-browed albatross colony. At this time of year king penguin chicks will be hatching, and we should see the tiny young peeping out from between their parents' legs. On Sea Lion Island we will see the endemic Cobb’s wren.
- Striated caracara
- Magellanic penguin
- Falkland thrush
- Sooty shearwater
We will have opportunities to observe marine mammals offshore, including whales and Commerson’s, and Peale’s dolphin. We will also visit beaches where sea lion and elephant seals recline.
- South American sea lion
- South American fur seal
This tour takes us from Darwin to three other islands, each with their own superb wildlife locations. Sea Lion Island has a particularly attractive landscape with spectacular tussac grass, dazzling white sand beaches, dramatic cliffs, freshwater ponds and heathland.
Weather permitting, our tours includes a boat trip around the waters of Stanley to Kidney Island – giving us the opportunity to photograph one of the smallest capitals in the world, with its beautiful coloured houses and coastline.
Price includes return scheduled flights London – Mount Pleasant – London, and domestic inter-island flights.