Things to Consider
- Trips departing in Spring or Autumn offer greater freedom to explore as there are fewer vessels navigating the island
- Summer is the most popular time to visit as it is the Antarctic high season and many travellers incorporate a trip to the peninsula into their voyage
- Keen photographers may want to travel at the beginning of Spring as the colours and light conditions produce particularly dramatic results
- Some beaches may be less accessible during Summer as the fur seals return to the beaches
When is the best time to go?
October - November
A trip to South Georgia during Spring offers the rare treat of witnessing the Elephant Seals consolidate their harems. Visitors behold as the breeding beaches become inundated with females, reaching its peak during mid-November.
With Spring also brings the greatest gathering of seabirds on earth. Wandering Albatross chicks are now testing their wings and shedding their down, ready to head off to sea for their first few years of life.
At this time of year, not only are the early-breeding King penguins laying their eggs, but Gentoo, Macaroni and Chinstrap penguins have returned to begin laying and incubating theirs.
The weather can be quite changeable, and it is not unusual to experience snow. However the changing weather, coupled with the light conditions and ensuing colours, make for stunning photo opportunities.
December - mid February
Summer is the most popular time to visit South Georgia as it’s high season in Antarctica and the best time of year to see penguin chicks on the peninsula. On South Georgia itself, they are also plentiful.
Last year's King Penguin chicks are fledging while juvenile chicks are leaving to go to sea. Visitors can see the Gentoo, Macaroni and Chinstrap chicks who are quickly growing, with the first Macaronis fledging before February.
The shorelines are teeming with life as many species return to the island. Fin whales are in residence and humpback numbers continue to grow. Elephant seals make way for huge swathes of Antarctic fur seals to begin their breeding process, and the beaches are packed. Fur seals can be aggressive during their breeding season making some beaches less accessible, nonetheless, Summer is an undeniably exciting time to visit South Georgia.
Late February - March
As Autumn arrives, many of the adult fur seals have left the island, leaving just the maturing pups. Gentoo, Macaroni & Chinstrap penguin chicks collect in boisterous crèches and start to fledge, whilst King penguin chicks that hatched earlier in February are already plumping out.
At this time of year, there is the chance to experience the spectacle of the Wandering Albatross on Prion Island, which is closed to visitors for much of the season. Now their chicks are hatching, ready to be fed and fattened up through the winter.
Fewer vessels in March tend to mean greater opportunity and more flexibility when it comes to making landings, providing more freedom to explore the island. As snow and ice have receded during the summer months, the island also becomes more accessible and you may get the opportunity to explore further inland than you would during Spring or early Summer.
Guide to Wildlife on South Georgia
Most popular South Georgia trips
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Alongside the obvious highlights of the destinations themselves, we like this voyage for this ship’s renowned stability ensuring more comfortable sea days. Combined with a sizeable expedition staff and an extensive programme of activities, Southern Ocean travel doesn’t come much…
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Consider visiting South Georgia early or late in the season to avoid crowded beaches and adult male fur seals.
John Newby Polar Specialist
Plan your trip
South Georgia Cruises
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Getting to South Georgia
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South Georgia Island
South Georgia may be a cartographic speck on the map and one of the least visited territories on Earth, but it's a true gem amidst the roiling southern ocean. Spectacular …