From South Africa to the South Pole
24 May 2022
“It’s a five-hour flight from Cape Town to Antarctica, then seven hours in a DC-3 built in 1942 over the high plateau. You look out the window and can see nothing but flat ice the entire time,” Peter reminisced. “It is very humbling to realize how small you are in the world.”
Bostonians Scott and Peter are certified aficionados of adventure. When they first met and compared their bucket list destinations, they were excited to discover huge areas of overlap to tackle together, and they promptly set to work. From plunging into Antarctic waters to exploring the Galapagos islands to a world tour (which Scott organized himself), they continue to seek out the most fascinating and beautiful places in the world. For their most recent trips, Scott and Peter have entrusted Scott Dunn with handling all the fine details and arranging truly unique, exclusive experiences for their adventures. Their last excursion was one of the most exciting itineraries we have organized to date: an African safari leading to a South Pole expedition.
Most travelers visiting the South Pole begin planning their trip at least a year in advance, but Scott and Peter boarded their flight a mere 3 weeks after booking the trip. Having visited Antarctica previously on a cruise, they knew they wanted to step it up and were primed to hit the road when the opportunity presented itself. And after traveling with Scott Dunn to the Galapagos Islands, they knew they could trust in our expertise to get every detail of this ambitious trip right.
Their Travel Expert, Bjorn, began the process by getting to know all about their tastes, values, interests and dreams and laying out opportunities to make the trip personal. From classic cars in South Africa to planning a chopper ride over the winelands and securing lodges that offered the utmost privacy, Bjorn custom fit the trip to the two of them at every turn. To ensure Scott and Peter were fully prepared for the drastic shift in climates between Africa and Antarctica, he arranged a call with their hosts at White Desert to go over packing tips. They arranged to have their cold weather gear shipped directly to the camp rather than carrying it through Africa.
Equally important to planning in advance is the ability to adapt for sudden changes of plans. Scott’s advice to fellow travelers: “Be open minded and positive about it because things change, and you may be able to take advantage of the situation. Be flexible and trust in the experts to keep you comfortable and safe.” When turbulent weather delayed Scott and Peter’s flight out of South Africa, Scott Dunn’s 24/7 service was on hand to take their call and a specialist in London adjusted their accommodations to make sure their extended their stay in Ellerman House, Cape Town was not only relaxing, but memorable.
“Our departure to Antarctica was delayed by three and a half days because of a big storm,” Peter Recalled, “And we left a half a day early because of a big storm coming in, but we threaded the needle and had the perfect weather while we were there. It felt more like an extension and at some points, we had a little vacation within a vacation. It worked out very pleasantly and surprisingly. I had a lot of conversations with [Scott Dunn’s travel specialists] and the worldwide offices worked out great for time zone differences. The hand-offs between travel consultants in London, New York, and Singapore were seamless and well-coordinated. That’s important for Type-A folks like me! Whenever I emailed, there was somebody available to answer.”
Once Scott and Peter’s private jet touched down in the South Pole, the experience went from romantic to downright surreal. After the yellow, breezy savannah they were surrounded by a vast expanse of whiteness and crystalline air. Their camp, Whichaway, would look at home on a highly lunar colony. Sophisticated sleeping pods were furnished with richly textured, cozy interiors. The fresh, award-winning cuisine was all the more incredible considering nothing grows for hundreds of miles.
“They do everything right and the food - I couldn't believe it. I said, ‘this is just like a little Alpine buffet, but you're on a glacier and you have fresh salad and tomatoes.’ It was so it was surreal. You had to remember, ‘I'm not in some part of Switzerland or Greenland … I’m actually at the South Pole.’”
They spent long days exploring sculptural caves of blue ice, summiting glaciers, walking with emperor penguins, and sipping whiskey with pure ice that was thousands of years old. In quieter moments, they enjoyed getting to know their small cohort fellow travelers and taking in the experience of being in such a truly unique place.
The camp was equipped with a full medic bay, bur for added piece of mind, Scott recommends investing in insurance. “Absolutely get evacuation insurance. If you get sick somewhere, you need to know you will be evacuated out. And I would be selective about who you use for it to make sure it covers your destination and where they can evacuate you to.” For all other unpredictable elements of travel such as cancelations or delays due to COVID, Scott Dunn’s flexible booking and 24/7 concierge service have you covered.