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Wildlife photography

Falkland Islands Photo Adventure

Dates: January 10-25, 2025
Fee: $8,995 (includes lodging, air charters and ground transportation in the Falklands)
Deposit: $1,500 (balance due by August 2024)

Limit: 6 (spouses or non-photographers are also welcome)

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Location

Falkland Islands

Fee

$8,995

Dates

Jan. 10-25, 2025

Fitness Level

Easy to Moderate

Location Images

The Falklands are a wildlife magnet. Sometimes referred to as the Galapagos of the South Atlantic, the Falklands are one of the best locations in the world for bird photography. Five species of penguins, many species of song birds, water birds, and birds of prey, and all are approachable and easy to photograph. Think of the excitement of sitting next to a lively penguin colony, waves crashing against rocky cliffs, while envisioning compositions galore—with no time pressure. Action photography is outstanding as penguins launch themselves from breaking waves and scramble ashore. And just when you think it can’t get any better, you find yourself engulfed—point blank—by these curious and feisty birds!

We'll be visiting the top photography sites that are appropriate for the season. Penguins will have plenty of small to large chicks. Black-browed Albatrosses should have small chicks. Elephant Seal pups are weaned, and may be going to sea, attracting Orcas. Songbirds and many shorebirds will be nesting, and most ducks and geese will be raising young. The month of January is usually great for all kinds of bird chicks.

This tour is ideal for photographers who have traveled with Nikhil before or any intermediate to advanced photographers who are comfortable with their gear. There will be no formal presentations but Nikhil will provide plenty of ideas and instruction in the field. There will also be image reviews and sharing to keep you thinking of fresh ways to approach the abundant subjects on location and improve your photography.

Itinerary
The itinerary below is primarily to give you an idea of the logistics and transfer days/times. For location info and details of possible photographic opportunities, please read the section above.

 

JANUARY 10,  2025 - Arrival and overnight in Punta Arenas, Chile

There is only one flight into the Falklands every week from Punta Arenas. We don't miss that flight! We arrive a day early and stay onvernight in Punta Arenas. We will use this time to do an orientation in the evening.

 

JANUARY 11, 2025 - Arrival and overnight at Stanley Island

We take the morning flight from Punta Arenas to Stanley Island. Our first night in the Falklands will be a queit one. We will use this time to relax and recuperate from the long journey before we start 2 weeks of non-stop photography and wildlife viewing. We will have the chance to take a walk in the quaint downtown area and visit the local museaum. Overnight in Stanley.

 

JANUARY 12, 2025 - Kidney Cove

You will be collected from your accommodation by a driver/guide in a 4x4 vehicle, to delight in the comical characteristics of our gutsy Rockhopper penguins and will undoubtedly be fascinated watching these amusing wee fellows going about their daily lives.

Kidney Cove itself is part of a privately owned sheep farm covering some 10,000 acres. The northern coastline where the penguins congregate overlooks Berkeley Sound water giving you a perfect opportunity to lose yourself within the outstanding natural beauty surrounding you. Gentoo and Magellanic penguins are also in abundance along with a few King Penguins and the occasional Macaroni. The journey to Kidney Cove takes approximately 1.5 hours. Part of the journey is over uneven terrain. A day to remember…… this tour has it all; adventurous travelling, stunning scenery and plentiful penguins. There are basic toilet facilities at Kidney Cove. Overnight in Stanley.

 

JANUARY 13, 2025 - Cape Bougainville

You will be collected from your accommodation by a driver/guide in a 4x4 vehicle, to encounter the beguiling wonderment of Cape Bougainville. Let the tranquil pace of life here envelop you and restore a sense of soothing calm. Watch in awe as the fearless Rockhopper Penguins clamber and claw their way up seemingly impossible rocky cliff routes having been hurled ashore by the mighty breakers. These charismatic characters will undoubtedly keep you entertained for hours. Nesting nearby you will also see colonies of King Cormorants. Pay close attention to the sea of black, white and yellow before you as the more unusual Macaroni penguins are known visitors to this area (although in much smaller numbers). As a consequence, there are occasional instances of inter-breeding and so you could also witness mixed pairs raising a chick. Sea Lions also reside here, typically taking it easy snoozing the hours away in the snug tussac grass or nestled amongst the cliff tops. 

Quite simply, this tour will enable you to capture infinite interactions between wildlife and the surrounding landscape, a truly unique experience. The journey to Cape Bougainville takes approximately 2 hours 20 minutes each way with the majority of travel undertaken on gravel roads. Rest assured that the off-road section (approximately 30 minutes) is on a relatively smooth track and therefore suitable for most travelers. Please note that there are no toilet facilities available at Cape Bougainville. Overnight in Stanley.

 

JANUARY 14-16, 2025 - Pebble Island

After breakfast, we fly to Pebble island where we will spend 3 nights. Pebble Island is named simply after the unusual, translucent semi-precious pebbles found on some of the beaches. Located in the north-west of the Falklands’ group, Pebble has something to offer visitors with a range of interests including a huge variety of birdlife, great hiking opportunities and fascinating war history.

The eastern end of the island is heathland with low cliffs and a large number of ponds. These are home to waterfowl and wading-birds including one of the largest concentrations of black-necked swans and occasional sightings of red shoveler and cinnamon teal. Black-crowned night-herons, imperial cormorants, rockhopper, gentoo and Magellanic penguins inhabit the coast. Peregrine falcons have been recorded. The Falkland fritillary butterfly occurs the heathlands whilst sea lions are found on Cape Tamar.

On the western part of the island, is a beautiful coastline with four species of penguin. Macaroni penguins can be found amongst the rockhoppers. Gentoo and Magellanic penguins are here, along with southern giant petrels. Commerson’s dolphins are regular visitors to the shore.

Since pebble is a large island we have arranged for a driver and vehicle for the 2 full days we will spend on the island. The day we arrive and the day we depart, we will have the option to explore elephant beach and a coupe of ponds that are a short hike away. Drop off's and pick up's can be arranged on location. 

 

JANUARY 17-20, 2025 - Saunders Island

After a morning shoot on Pebble Island we will transfer to Saunders Island. This is one of the few places where visitors can see black-browed albatross. The bird is graceful in flight, but amusingly clumsy in landing. Nests are small stacks, somewhat precariously balanced on the cliffs, with fluffy grey chicks, once hatched, atop waiting patiently for food. It’s easy to while away an hour on more just watching the activity. Close by are rockhopper penguins and another birdwatching treat awaits. Along the coast is the “rockhopper shower” where the birds wait for their turn under the refreshing falling stream. Imperial cormorants breed noisily alongside. The striated caracara is always on the look-out for a meal of any sort. Also around the island you’ll find water-birds and endemic plants. The first 2 nights we will stay at the settlement and make two trip out to the rookery where the Albatross are see in abundance along with the birds mentioned above. 

The next 2 nights we will overnight at the neck. The neck is a remote location where we will be right at the beach where several Penguins go in and out of the water. We will have to share 2 rooms amongst our group. There are 2 sets of bunk beds in each room. This is a very popular location because of the photographic opportunities being outstanding. The isthmus of the neck is flanked on both sides with sandy beaches. The long stretch of white sand to the north is irresistible. The whole area is bustling with birds. Magellanic penguins make their way ashore, gentoos congregate and there is a small colony of king penguins.

 

JANUARY 21-22, 2025 - Sea Lion Island 

A true natural paradise located in the south-east of the Falklands’ group, this beautiful island has no steep hills to climb but does have high, rocky cliffs and spectacular wildlife. On lower lying land, white sand beaches and large areas of tall, tussac grass create alternative habitats and sheltered areas. Sea Lion Island has the largest colony of the world’s largest pinniped, the elephant seal, with almost two thousand individuals at the height of the breeding season in October. These huge animals bask lazily on the beach, idly flipping sand, making grunting noises and occasionally opening an eye. Periodically the peace is shattered as males rear up for a fight! This is one of the best places to look for orcas which roam offshore, hopeful for prey, throughout the summer. In January, we can expect to see mostly juveniles and females. 

The great part of staying at the lodge is there are two colonies of Gentoo penguins a short walk away. Walk a little further and we have access to two beaches that are great to view the elephant seals, shore birds and plenty of penguins coming and going in the water. There are many other small birds that frequent the small garden in front of the lodge as well.

 

JANUARY 23-24, 2025 - Stanley Island - Volunteer Point 

After a morning shoot on Sea Lion Island, we transfer to Stanley. We will have some time to explore the downtown area and there will be an image review this evening. 

The next morning, we set off on an unforgettable day trip to Volunteer Point where the world's largest accessible colony of breeding King Penguins eagerly await you. This excursion is, without doubt, the swansong visit of any Falklands Itinerary. Volunteer Point was named after the ship Volunteer which called at the islands in 1815 and is a privately owned nature reserve which forms part of Johnson's Harbour Farm. Being able to experience the sheer abundance of wildlife in their natural environment is beyond compare - there are colonies of Gentoo and Magellanic penguins here too; along with over 40 bird species including the South American tern, oyster catchers and rock cormorants to name but a few. Another jewel in the crown inviting your footprints is the remarkably stunning 2-mile-long white sandy beach with its rolling waves and clear waters resembling somewhere altogether tropical on a sunny day. You may even get the chance to share the sand with the odd basking sea lion! All your senses will be captivated and positively overwhelmed whilst forging everlasting memories. Exceptional photographic opportunities abound wherever you cast your eye. 

The journey approximately 2.5 hours each way. En-route your driver-guide will talk you through the highlights and will be more than happy to answer any questions that spring to mind. Upon arrival at Volunteer Point, your driver/guide will point out where you are free to roam at your leisure. Although we ask that a distance of at least 6m is observed between wildlife and visitors, it is not unusual for penguins to inquisitively approach you which is a truly indescribable encounter. If you sit quietly, you should be fortunate enough to experience a plucky penguin chick coming to check you out! There are toilet facilities on site as well as a shelter.

 

JANUARY 25, 2025 - Departure

After breakfast we take the shuttle bus to the international airport and depart on our scheduled international flight.
Please note: depending on the timing of the international flights, you may need to stay an additional night in Punta Arenas before flying home. 

Itinerary Includes:

  • All lodging (based on double occupancy) some locations require everyone to share a room; partial single supplement $750.

  • Ground transportation and private air charter to go from island to island.

  • Meals at the lodges/camps

  • All necessary permits and fees

  • All in field guiding and instruction

  • Comprehensive and detailed information packet including logistics details, packing and equipment lists, and more

Itinerary Does Not Include:

  • Airfare to the Falkland Islands

  • Visa (not required for American citizens)

  • Travel insurance -  insuremytrip.com

  • Extra activities not specified in the itinerary

  • Meals in Punta Arenas and the first night at Stanley

  • Tips for guides/drivers and hotel/lodge staff

  • Incidentals and souvenir shopping

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