Falkland Islands Wildlife
Penguins, sea lions, elephant seals and albatross
Brize Norton • Stanley • Port Howard • Carcass Island • Pebble Island • Sea Lion Island • Darwin • Brize Norton;
Our 17-night holiday takes in all aspects of the islands' wildlife and visits most of the important wildlife sites. We fly to the islands with the Royal Air Force from Brize Norton in Oxfordshire and start our holiday in the capital, Stanley. From here we'll visit Volunteer Point, home to the majority of the King Penguins on the islands before starting our island-hopping. We'll stay on Pebble Island, Sea Lion Island and Carcass Island (with a day trip to West Point to visit the mixed Black-browed Albatross and Rockhopper Penguin colony) and also at Port Howard as a base for our exploration of West Falkland.
As well as the penguins, albatross, elephant seals and sea lions, the islands team with bird life and, of course, the scenery is superb with a lovely clarity of light. It's one of those holidays where we used to tell people to take at least twice as much film as they thought they would need - now it's an extra memory card!
Everything about the Falklands is at the same time familiar and yet different. The islands are unspoilt and the people welcoming, the wildlife incredibly unconcerned by the presence of man and there is the added bonus of travelling between the settlements in 8-seat Islander aircraft which is a wonderful way to travel. On land transport is by LandRover. Accommodation is in comfortable hotels or lodges and you'll certainly not go hungry. The hospitality of the islanders is legendary.
Your Tour Leader
Ali Liddle is not only an experienced tour guide but she's also a passionate and knowledgeable conservationist. Originally from Northumberland, Ali lived and worked in the Falkland Islands - with a spell in South Georgia - for nearly 15 years in her capacity as a primary teacher and education officer with Falkland Islands Conservation. After an Antarctic season she returned to the UK but is really looking forward to another visit to the Falklands where her special knowledge (she authored Plants of the Falkland Islands) will enhance the experience of Island Holidays guests.
Alternative Falklands Tours
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The group assembles at RAF Brize Norton in the evening for the flight over the South Atlantic Ocean via Ascension Island. The one and a half hour stop on Ascension next morning gives us a chance to stretch our legs and try to find the Myna birds that frequent the airport and to see if those dots over the ocean beyond are Frigatebirds or Boobies.
Day 2: Darwin
We are met at Mount Pleasant by a Stanley Services representative and are soon on our way to our first port of call, Darwin. On the way we'll get our first feel for the Falklands landscape.
Day 3: Darwin
Today we set off on a full day tour with your driver/guide, taking in Darwin, Goose Green (where the first battle by 2 Para was fought) and onto San Carlos where the majority of British forces landed on May 21st 1982. We’ll walk down to the beach head areas and British and Argentine cemeteries. Even if your interest in the islands does not relate to the 1982 conflict, this tour gives you a wonderful insight into the island’s history and the islanders’ strong wish to remain under British sovereignty – a must for all visitors! And, of course, there’ll be plenty of bird life to entertain us along the way.
Days 4 & 5: Port Howard
Today we move on to to Port Howard, the largest settlement on West Falkland where we stay in the farm manager's old house, now converted to a lodge with a small museum dedicated to the Falklands conflict. During our stay we'll take daily LandRover excursions to explore West Falklands, each settlement we visit having an atmosphere all of its own. We'll be on the look out for Red-backed Hawk and Southern Caracara as well as the "regular" Falklands species and taking special note of the fascinating flora.
Days 6 - 8: Carcass Island/West Point
We move on to Carcass Island which will be our base for the next three nights. The accommodation is in en suite rooms in the main house with meals taken in the dining room that looks out through the trees to the sea. We'll have plenty of time to explore this lovely island with its Gentoo Penguin colony, its wonderful scenery and abundance of the smaller birds of the Falkland Islands such as the Falkland Pipit, the Rufous-chested Dotterel and so many more star turns. In addition, we are hoping to be able to take a boat trip to nearby West Point with its mixed Black-browed Albatross and Rockhopper Penguin colony and its delightful "English Garden" settlement where they serve superb teas! This trip is obviously weather dependent.
Days 9 - 11: Bleaker Island
Another inter-island flight takes us from the north west of the archipelago to the south east where we’ll stay on Bleaker Island for three nights. 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.
Days 12 - 14: 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 pools and coasts of the island. The majority of all Falklands breeding birds can be found on this island, 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 sights of the holiday are the Elephant Seals 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 Land Rover 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 15: Stanley
Our final inter-island flight of the holiday takes us back to Stanley where we will be staying in the Malvina House Hotel. Depending on flights (and we never know the schedule until the night before) there will be a free afternoon for exploration and shopping in Stanley.
Day 16: Stanley (Volunteer Point)
Today we take a LandRover excursion to Volunteer Point, home to the islands’ principal King Penguin colony, a visit to which has to be one of the highlights of your Falklands holiday. The three-hour LandRover trip takes us through typical Falkland landscape and we will spend lots of time with the delightful King Penguins.
Day 17: Falklands - Ascension Island - Brize Norton
We have a relatively early start for our transfer from Darwin to Mount Pleasant Airport for our flight to the UK via Ascension Island.
We arrive back at Brize Norton at 0730 hours.
Please note that the itinerary can be changed at the sole discretion of Island Holidays or our representatives.