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It'll be all white on the night

... And on the day, for that matter too... Here's a really cool idea - pardon the pun - for a breakaway with a real difference... Head due South to where the penguin is King, well, Emperor*, actually, and there's ice as far as you can see... It's a life-changing experience.
Emperor penguins... They look a bit like a butler's convention, but notwithstanding their somewhat comical walk, they are ideally adapted to their harsh environment. The male keeps the egg warm, by the way - by carrying it about on his feet.
We tend to either have the money or have the time but rarely both. The Mantis Collection's White Desert has packaged a travel experience for those of us with the money but not the time - to spend one day in the Antarctica.

If you can clear your diary on Wednesday, December 14, and allocate R65 000 and some change to the project, you'll be back in the boardroom the following day.

No specific fitness level is required and some items of polar clothing are provided.

It's a tough job, but someone has to do it.
Departing Cape Town early in the morning, the five-hour flight takes you across the mighty Southern Ocean and over thousands of icebergs and onwards to 24hrs of continuous sunshine. White Desert guides will meet your plane, as it lands on a specially equipped ice runway, and drive you in modified 4x4s to the 'Guesthouse' which lies perched on the edge of an immense sea of ice.

Take the opportunity to try to beat Shirmacher

Yes, they are tents - but you'll still be cosy inside.
You will then be able to choose from a number of different activities, ranging in length and difficulty. There are gentle treks over to the 70m cliffs on the edge of the oasis, offering amazing views out to the coast. You can visit the nearby ice tunnels, or for the more energetic, the chance to climb to the summit of Mount Shirmacher. There is even the chance of a sauna at the Russian science base!

With specialist clothing and mild summer temperatures of approximately 0 to -5ºC, this really is an adventure that anyone can do and the White Desert guides will constantly be on hand to assist you.

Anyone for a trip - with some sliding thrown in - down an ice tunnel?
Rick Garratt, chairman of HomeChoice, South Africa said "I'd recommend this to anyone looking for a unique travel experience in, what can only be described as, a breath taking environment," while Cadiz South Africa CEO, Ram Barkai said: "This trip and event changed my life. I loved it and I will do it again and again if I can!"

For reservations please contact Nicky Arthur moc.rpruhtraykcin@ykcin or by telephone on +27 (0) 71 298 8216 on the above contact details or visit


Some facts on Emperor penguins:

  • They are the world's largest penguins, standing a metre or so tall, and weighing us much as 30-44kg.
  • They are found only on Antarctica.
  • Their diet consists of fish and crustaceans such as crabs and shrimp.
  • They have brown eyes, yellow patches on their throat and near their ears, a black head, chin and throat.
  • They use their short wings to propel themselves through the water.

About Brian Berkman: contributing editor, travel

Brian Berkman can be contacted on 083-441-8765 or email moc.namkreBnairB@nairB.



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