A New Adventure Camp Immerses Visitors in Antarctica — and Encourages Them to Tread Lightly
It's no easy feat to build tourism infrastructure in Antarctica. But the transportation and staffing logistics, and the strict environmental regulations, haven't stopped polar explorers Robyn and Patrick Woodhead, who have been tackling the challenge for more than 15 years with their tour company, White Desert.
In 2017, the wife-and-husband team created the continent's first private jet runway (they remake it every season on the millennia-old blue ice). Soon after that, they opened Whichaway — Antarctica's first luxury camp, 90 miles away, which looks out over the lakes at Schirmacher Oasis. Their latest project: Wolf Fang's Camp, debuting this month in a rarely seen area of the continent.
The camp's six solar-heated canvas tents have views of its eponymous mountain: one of a cluster of rock pillars rising up to 3,000 feet above the ice cap that were first explored by Norway's Hjalmar Riiser-Larsen in the early 20th century. Despite the stark surroundings, the comfortable tents come with en suite bathrooms and faux-fur throws, and meals are personalized to each guest.
A typical day at Wolf's Fang could include exploring glacial ice tunnels in the midnight sun, visiting a colony of 28,000 emperor penguins, flying to the geographic South Pole (seen by fewer people each year than the summit of Mount Everest!), or simply grabbing a highball at the world's most remote ice bar.
This region is among the last truly untouched landscapes on earth — Wolf's Fang guests will have access to hiking areas never before trekked by humans — which is, of course, part of the appeal. But it's also why White Desert must adhere to stringent conservation codes. The company uses semipermanent structures that can be quickly broken down while leaving almost no trace. And in recent weeks, it rolled out sustainable aviation fuel across its entire air fleet, significantly reducing its carbon output.
To book: white-desert.com, trips from $45,000 for eight days.
A version of this story first appeared in the December 2021/January 2022 issue of Travel + Leisure under the headline At World's Edge.