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The Falkland Islands

Tour Code: FLK01

An 18-day holiday enjoying the birds and marine mammals of the Falkland Islands.

18 days from £8195(inc flights) Land Only Price: £6195 SRS: £950


Lying about 450km from the coast of South America, the Falkland Islands are inhabited by huge numbers of seabirds including albatrosses, penguins, terns and cormorants during the breeding season (Oct to Mar). Combining starkly beautiful scenery reminiscent of Scotland, a blend of British and South American characteristics and a wildlife which shares many affinities with Antarctica, the Falkland Islands exert a unique charm over visitors. On this tour we’ll explore a wide range of habitats, including many of the smaller islands, in search of passerines including Falkland Thrushes, waterfowl, seabirds such as Giant Petrels and Magellanic Oystercatcher, sea lions, penguin colonies, cetaceans (we may be lucky enough to see Orca from Sea Lion Island), and a profusion of wild flowers.

  • Elephant Seals & Sea Lions loiter on magnificent sandy beaches
  • Excursions to smaller islands including Pebble, Carcass & Sea Lion Islands
  • Flocks of Upland Geese, Steamer Duck, Dolphin Gull & Black-browed Albatross
  • See adults & chicks in a King Penguin colony, Volunteer Point
  • 5 species of penguin on Sea Lion Island, including Gentoo & Rockhopper
  • Explore the capital, Stanley – the size of an English village
  • View Black-browed Albatross colony on West Point
  • King Cormorant, Ruddy-headed & Kelp Geese, Falkland Skua & Tussock Bird
  • Blackish Oystercatcher, Two-banded Plover & Striated Caracaras
  • Led by expert naturalist guide

Food

All included in the price.

Accommodation

Comfortable hotel in Port Stanley and tourist lodges elsewhere. All rooms with private facilities.

Black-browed Albatross (Will Wagstaff)

Black-browed Albatross (Will Wagstaff)

Outline Itinerary Download

Day 1 Fly Mount Pleasant

Day 2 Port Stanley

Day 3 Volunteer Point

Day 4/6 Port Howard

Day 7/9 Pebble Island

Day 10/11 Carcass Island

Day 12/14 Sealion Island

Day 15 Port Stanley

Day 16 Kidney Island

Day 17 Fly Brize Norton

Day 18 Arrive Brize Norton

The Falkland Islands provide one of the most unusual and enjoyable destinations in the Naturetrek programme. Lying some 450 kilometres from the coast of South America, amid the rich fishing grounds of the South Atlantic, the islands are inhabited by huge numbers of seabirds during the breeding season which extends from October to March. The spectacle of these great assemblies of penguins, albatrosses, cormorants and terns is reason enough to visit the Falklands but the islands are so much more than just a haven for seabirds. The scenery is often reminiscent of the Scottish islands, but there are many unique aspects to life in the Falklands and visitors are constantly charmed by this blend of familiar and unfamiliar. In many ways the islands are essentially British in character but the South Atlantic exerts its own influences and the sight of huge Elephant Seals hauled out on sandy beaches, or Giant Petrels gliding along the Stanley shoreline, remind us that Europe is thousands of kilometres away and that the wildlife has more affinities with Antarctica!

Formerly the remoteness of the islands made them extremely difficult to visit but the construction of Mount Pleasant airfield, combined with the provision of comfortable tourist accommodation on a number of islands, has made the Falklands accessible to an ever-increasing number of travellers wishing to enjoy the remarkable natural history and fascinating way of life in this very special archipelago.

As we drive to Port Stanley from Mount Pleasant after the long flight from England, flocks of Upland Geese grazing by the roadside and Long-tailed Meadowlarks foraging in the heather indicate emphatically that we have entered a very different world. A walk along the Stanley waterfront from our comfortable hotel will underline this as Rock Cormorants fly to their nests on an old shipwreck in the harbour, Steamer Ducks dabble in the shallows, and Giant Petrels squabble with Dolphin Gulls over titbits discarded from fishing boats.

Although the islands occupy an area roughly the size of Wales, the population is tiny, and even the capital, Stanley, is barely the size of a large English village. Isolated sheep farms and remote settlements are surrounded by great expanses of wild peat moorland, through which numerous streams carve their way to the sea, providing refuge for impressively large trout. Magnificent sandy beaches, the equal of any in the tropics, are invariably deserted except for loitering Elephant Seals or Sea Lions, and in some places are utilised as landing strips by the light aircraft which serve as a lifeline between these widely scattered islands. Trees are scarce, but ubiquitous thickets of gorse add a vivid splash of colour to each settlement and offer a safe nesting place for Falkland Thrushes.

A day excursion from Stanley to Volunteer Point is sure to rank among the tour highlights as we visit the King Penguin colony at the point. The immensely appealing young birds that parade in front of us wearing their comical ‘fur’s coats of thick down will be just the first of many indelible memories to take home from these extraordinary South Atlantic islands.

Port Howard, Sea Lion and Pebble Islands constitute the main centres for our tour and we will be spending several days at each locality, travelling between islands on the FIGAS Islander aircraft which gives superb views of the scenery en route, and will cheerfully divert from its flight path if the pilot spots a pod of Killer Whales or anything else of interest to his passengers!

Two nights at Port Howard give us a taste of life on a busy Falklands sheep farm but the surrounding countryside is also rich in birdlife and we will see many of the typical West Falkland species during our stay, including various waterbirds and a small colony of Gentoo Penguins at Fox Bay.

Flying next to Pebble Island, we find a different terrain, with marshes and pools to the east of the island and moorland and hills to the west. There are several significant seabird colonies on Pebble and it has been possible in some years to see six penguin species on the island. Impressive scenery, a fine sense of solitude, a profusion of wild flowers and amazing sandy beaches make Pebble an unforgettable place. We stay next on beautiful Carcass Island for three nights and, if conditions permit, we will take a boat excursion to nearby West Point where an impressive Black-browed Albatross colony will be our principal objective, although there will be plenty of other wildlife to admire, including dolphins on the crossing.

Our final destination is Sea Lion Island where we stay in the comfortable tourist lodge where Elephant Seal pups dozing in the garden, and inquisitive Striated Caracaras attempting to unpack our luggage, give a taste of what is in store on this superb island. Five penguin species can be found here, but the most numerous are the solemn Gentoos clustered together in their colonies, and the highly entertaining little Rockhoppers which hurl themselves ashore from the pounding waves with the alacrity of circus acrobats. For the period of our stay the island is our private domain, a birding paradise inhabited by King Cormorants, Ruddy-headed and Kelp Geese, Falkland Skuas, Magellanic and Blackish Oystercatchers, Two-banded Plovers, Tussock Birds and many other exciting species. Elephant Seals litter the beaches and, if we are lucky, we could witness Killer Whales cruising offshore.

A final two days in Stanley give us an opportunity to look around this small town which, for a short while, was the focus of the world’s media as the events of the Falklands conflict took place. Also scheduled is a boat excursion to Kidney Island, hopefully concluding a remarkable wildlife holiday with close views of the southern ocean seabirds which pass just off the shore of this undisturbed Tussac covered island, and maybe a few dolphins as a bonus!

Striated CaracaraRuddy-headed GooseMagellanic SnipeMacaroni Penguin (Rob Mileto)King Penguin ChicksRockhopper PenguinsElephant Seal BullBlack-browed AlbatrossAustral Thrush (Dave Shute)Magellanic Snipe (Dave Shute)Falkland Flightless Steamer Duck (Dave Shute)Port Stanley (Dave Shute)Blackbrowes Albatross (Dave Shute)Striated Caracara (Dave Shute)Rockhopper Penguin (Dave Shute)Gentoo Penguin (Dave Shute)Rockhopper penguins (Peter Nichols)South American Fur Seal (Peter Nichols)Macaroni & Rockhopper Penguins (Peter Nichols)Brown Skua (Peter Nichols)Pale-faced Sheathbill & Dolphin Gull (Peter Nichols)Crested Ducks (Peter Nichols)Magellanic Oystercatcher (Peter Nichols)King Penguins (Peter Nichols)King Penguins (Peter Nichols)Two-banded Plover (Peter Nichols)Kelp Goose (Peter Nichols)Rufous-chested Dotterel (Peter Nichols)Brazilian Painted Lady (Alan Henry)Cobb's Wren (Alan Henry)Falkland Skua (Alan Henry)Group with Southern Elephant Seal (Alan Henry)King & Gentoo Penguin (Alan Henry)King Penguins (Alan Henry)Leucistic Penguin (Alan Henry)Long-tailed Meadowlark (Alan Henry)Orca (Alan Henry)Orca (Alan Henry)Pod of Orca (Alan Henry)Queen of Falklands Fritillary (Alan Henry)Rockhopper Penguin (Alan Henry)Rockhopper Penguins (Alan Henry)Rockhopper Penguins (Alan Henry)Silvery Grebe (Alan Henry)Southern Elephant Seal pup (Alan Henry)Southern Elephant Seals (Alan Henry)Southern Painted Lady (Alan Henry)Striated Caracara (Alan Henry)Kelp GooseStriated Caracara
C.S.
Wiltshire
Each island had something different to offer, so each day was exciting and different, both boat trips were good even if a bit choppy! And the Figas flights were really good, a real wow factor, and everyone was very friendly and helpful.
P.S.
Worcestershire
Alan Henry is a superb leader - very knowledgeable about everything: birds, plants, weather etc. He was very helpful and encouraging. He was excellent in dealing with a few situations that could have tested a lesser man. All in all, a fantastic holiday made special not only by seeing so many birds but by being on the same flight as the 53 veterans on their way for Armistice Day. Super men with very intimate stories of '82. Very humbling. Thank you.
J.P.
Merseyside
This was a brilliant holiday and very well organised.
R.H.
Leicester
The holiday was superb. The Falklands are a wonderful place to visit and I consider myself privileged to have been there. Sitting two or three feet from Rockhopper Penguins is a magical moment.
A.W.
Sheffield
Overall, a brilliant holiday. The local guide, Alan Henry, was excellent and of course had lots of in depth knowledge of the best places to take us to. I fell in love with the Rockhopper Penguins!
P.W.
Sheffield
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Alan Henry was brilliant.
P.C.
West Midlands
Service from Naturetrek office - very efficient and helpful. (Leader was) helpful, caring and attentive. This was a very enjoyable holiday, a wonderful experience to be able to watch wildlife at such close quarters.
B. & D P.
Kent
This trip more than lived up to our expectations! The bird & marine mammal life were exceptional; the hotels/lodges were splendid and each offered some superb food...the flights...were well organised...our travelling companions provided good company...We would certainly recommend the trip to any potential penguin/albatross/seal lovers!
P.V.
Belgium
Thank you for the marvellous trip to the Falklands. The expectations were very high, the realisation excelled them. Will was the perfect guide. Thanks again.
S.A.
Cheshire
It is obvious that this is a small company because there is the personal touch at each stage.
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DeparturesAvailableCost

Wed 1st November 2017 - Sat 18th November 2017

FULL

£8195

more details

Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £6195 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Visiting: Falkland Islands

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Dan Free
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01962 733051

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Tour Reviews

Each island had something different to offer, so each day was exciting and different, both boat trips were good even if a bit choppy! And the Figas flights were really good, a real wow factor, and everyone was very friendly and helpful.
C.S., Wiltshire