A group of islands in the Southern Ocean, the South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands are uninhabited islands used as research stations and formerly whaling stations, and several of the islands are primarily covered in glaciers. They are a British overseas territory, though Argentina also claims sovereignty over them..
Visitors and researchers can observe the many varieties of animals, including albatross, penguins, petrels, and elephant seals that inhabit various islands. The king penguin colony at St. Andrew’s bay is where visitors can see hundreds of thousands of penguins and thousands of elephant and fur seals. At Drygalski Fjord, a narrow and steep inlet caused by glaciers, visitors can see Weddell Seals. Besides whales, you can also see dolphins and porpoises prancing in the seas around the South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands.
Visitors can learn the history of the islands at the museum at the government station, Grytviken. The museum houses a small gift shop that sells souvenirs. Grytviken served as an active whaling station in the past.
The Bird Island houses a Bird Island Research Station owned by the British Antarctic Survey. Andean Teal, Common Diving Petrel, Antarctic Prion, Brown Skua, Black-necked Swan, Blue Petrel, Cape Petrel, Antarctic Tern, Chinstrap Penguin, Black-browed Albatross, Coscoroba Swan and Flying Steamer Duck are some of the birds found on the islands.
King Edward Point near Grytviken is the place where the government officer and a post officer resides. It is just a kilometer across King Edward Cove.
Many of the tourists to South Georgia Island and the South Sandwich Islands stop by on their way to the Antarctic Peninsula.
Facts about South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
- South Georgia Island is the largest of these islands, at about 167 kilometers (104 miles) long and ranging from 1.4 to 37 kilometers (0.0 to 23 miles) wide.
- All the islands combined cover an area of about 3,903 square kilometers (1,507 square miles).
Where is South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands?
South Georgia Island is located 1,390 kilometers (864 miles) southeast of the Falkland Islands, and 2,150 kilometers (1,336 miles) from South America. The South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands are accessible via boat, though while aircraft do not land on the island, they can take visitors on flights over the islands. Several expeditions make the trek out to the islands, some of which allow for camping and hiking across the land.
Best time to visit
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands should be visited during summer in the southern hemisphere, November to February, because their location in the extreme south means that winter days are mostly dark, and the islands may be unreachable because of ice build-up.