The Falkland Islands
Fully guided tour including Pebble, Bleaker, Carcass and Sea Lion Islands
Brize Norton (UK) • Stanley • Pebble Island • Bleaker Island • Carcass Island (& West Point) • Sea Lion Island • Stanley (Kidney Cove, Volunteer Point) • Brize Norton;
The Falkland Islands lie in the South Atlantic Ocean and are home to millions of birds and good populations of sea mammals. The wildlife is very approachable, the scenery starkly beautiful and the southern summer is basically dry and sunny with a frequent breeze.
We travel to the islands with the RAF out of Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, stopping at Cape Verde to refuel. The flight time is approximately 8 hours for each leg, with 1½ hours on the ground at Cape Verde, before continuing the journey to the Falklands.
Once in the islands, travel between different centres is by 9-seater 'Islander' aircraft which is capable of landing on sandy beaches or grass airstrips near the settlements. Land travel is by Land Rover. Accommodation is in small hotels or lodges, all comfortable and warm, with bath or shower facilities (most en suite). Single rooms are available in Stanley but, because the lodges and hotels in "camp" are so small, clients must be prepared to share twin bedded rooms where necessary.
During our stay we'll see many different aspects of island life as well as enjoying the birds and flowers of this unique archipelago which, in spite of having become more popular and sophisticated over the years, has not lost that magic which visitors find so enchanting.
- Wildlife & Island Exploration
- Fully guided group tour
- 2020 departure: 08 January
- Nights: 17
- Fully inclusive cost: £8,340
- Single room supplement: £715
- Deposit: £1,250
- Meal Basis: Full Board
- Activity level: Easy
- Tour leader: David Spivack
- Maximum Group Size: 9
- Travel: RAF
- Departs: Brize Norton (Oxfordshire)
- Included in cost: International air fares and taxes, inter-island flights, transfers, Land Rover excursions, UK and local guides.
- Not included in cost: Travel insurance, tips, drinks and items of a personal nature.
- Note that check-in is on Tuesday 07 January no later than 2130 hours.
- Falkland Islands 2020
Your Tour Leader
Born in London in 1965, David Spivack has had a lifelong passion for birds and conservation. His career started in business through the 80's during which time he was an active volunteer for the RSPB before moving to West Yorkshire to start work with the RSPB first as Youth officer and latterly as the region’s fundraising manager. Staying within the conservation sector, David then became the UK Head of Corporate Relations for the Wildlife Trusts in 2000 before returning to the RSPB in 2005. In 2015 his career took on an international dimension when he became the UK director for Falklands Conservation, the birdlife international partner based in the Falkland islands, a post which he still holds.
Check in at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire in the late evening is no later than 2130 hours (and this is important as late check in could lead to travel being denied).
Day 2: Stanley
Our flight departs at 0110 hours and stops at Praia in Cabo Verde (Cape Verde as was) for re-fuelling during which time there's a chance to stretch your legs in the fresh air.
Upon arrival at Mount Pleasant airfield in the Falkland Islands, and having collected your bags and been through immigration, you will be met by our representative from Falkland Islands Holidays and transferred to the Malvina House Hotel for dinner and overnight. There will be time either before or after dinner for a stroll along the waterfront to see a few of the bird species which will probably be new to you, as well as the evidence of all the wrecks which are witness to the islands' role as a bolt hole for trading vessels in previous centuries.
Days 3 & 4: Pebble Island
Our first flight on the wonderful Islander aircraft run by the Falkland Islands Government Air Service (FIGAS) takes us west to Pebble Island, a relatively large island which offers a variety of habitats from long sandy beaches to large pools and inland lakes on which the attractive Black-necked Swan can be seen along with many other ducks and waders. The rugged cliffs are home to Red-backed (Variable) Hawks and Peregrine and the island is host to several penguin colonies with the occasional King visiting the Gentoos. As this is the nearest large island to South America there is often the chance of seeing some of the more unusual species that can turn up. You'll spend three nights here, going out on daily excursions to enjoy the variety of habitats and wildlife to be found.
Days 5 – 7: Bleaker Island
A working sheep farm, Bleaker Island is home to three species of penguin, a large Imperial (King) Cormorant colony, Southern Giant Petrels and many smaller birds. You will find a variety of waterfowl on the ponds and this is one of the few places where the rare Flying Steamer Duck can be observed. Marine mammals are often seen offshore. Listed as an 'Important Bird Area', the land north of the settlement is a designated national nature reserve. We'll stay here for three nights giving a chance to relax and absorb the wonders of the remarkable Falkland Islands.
Days 8 – 10: Carcass Island (with boat trip to West Point)
Another inter-island flight takes us to Carcass Island, one of the gems of the Falkland Islands, which lies to the northwest of the Falklands archipelago. An absence of cats and rats makes the luxuriant, well established hedges and trees an attractive home to many small birds such as the Cobb's Wren, Black-chinned Siskin and Falklands Thrush. The sandy beaches, rolling hills and low cliffs are superb platforms from which to view the multitude of sea and shore birds that either breed or feed on and around this island. These include Gentoo and Magellanic Penguin, Yellow-billed Pintail and Flightless Steamer Duck.
We'll spend three days here during which, weather permitting, we'll West Point Island which we access by boat. Here there's a wonderful mixed colony of Black-browed Albatross and Rockhopper Penguins which carry on their daily routine while totally ignoring the presence of spectators!
Days 11 – 13: Sea Lion Island
Sea Lion Island, with its amazing array of spectacular wildlife, is the most southerly of the Falkland Islands. As nature is so close at hand here, we will spend our time on foot exploring the pools and coasts of the island. The majority of all Falklands breeding birds can be found here, including three different species of penguin, and it is also home to one of the rarest birds of prey in the world, the Striated Caracara. One of the great spectacles of the holiday is to be found at Elephant Beach where the bull Elephant Seals are hauled up on the sandy beach as they moult. The lodge has views right across the island to the sea and the occasional pod of Killer Whales can be seen. After exploring by LandRover every day up until now, it is a delight to spend our time walking over easy terrain on this small and very special island.
Day 14: Stanley
Our last Islander flight of the holiday takes us back to Stanley where, again, we'll be staying at Malvina House. This afternoon there'll be free time to explore the city and visit the excellent museum which is located immediately opposite the hotel or, perhaps, indulge in a little retail therapy before re-convening for dinner.
Day 15: Stanley (Kidney Cove)
You'll be picked up from the hotel for a visit to Kidney Cove. You drive on the road north of Stanley to Murrell Farm. From here you continue in a 4x4 off-road vehicle to the Gentoo Penguin colony — total travel time approximately one hour. The second part of the tour is a half-hour drive to a Rockhopper Penguin colony before returning to Stanley in mid-afternoon.
Day 16: Stanley (Volunteer Point)
To many people a visit to the King Penguins at Volunteer Point is the highlight of their Falkland holiday — and that's saying something! We travel off-road by LandRover and really experience the Falklands landscape and atmosphere. We'll have plenty of time with the penguins which are both fascinating — and fascinated by us. We stick by the rules and keep our distance but nobody told the penguins and they are highly likely to come right up to inspect you. It's magical. We have to tear ourselves away to return to Stanley for our last evening together.
Day 17: Falklands – Brize Norton
We have a relatively early start for our transfer from Stanley to Mount Pleasant Airport for our flight to the UK via Cabo Verde.
We arrive back at Brize Norton at 0900 hours, filled with memories of what must be one of the great wildlife experiences in the world.
Please note that the itinerary can be changed without notice at the sole discretion of Island Holidays or your tour leader.