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The Most In-depth Polar Expeditions

More testimonials.

Come watch wildlife with us! Cheesemans' Ecology Safaris' distinctive worldwide tours travel to destinations unique for abundant and photogenic mammals, birds and nature. We emphasize maximum field time and action-packed wildlife photography during the best season at each destination. Hand-picked leaders and local guides combine amiable personalities with extensive knowledge of each region. All our tours provide a non-smoking policy in small groups. As a small company, we provide a personal touch and attention to every detail - just as we have done for over thirty years. We are dedicated to delivering the best possible wildlife encounters to you. Join us for an amazing experience!

Reserve early! Our trips can fill fast. To reserve your space, follow the instructions in each itinerary. Please contact us if you have any questions. If a trip is full, ask us about our wait list and other options.

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What Makes Us Unique?

photographing penguins in Antarctica
Plenty of time for photography

Abundant Time Ashore

We spare no effort to be able to offer you as much time in the field as physically possible. Of course, how much time you spend out there is up to you, but the choice is yours, not ours. We strive to offer at least eight hours of shore time for each landing day and often far exceed that amount. Don't go to Antarctica and find yourself stuck on a ship when you want to be exploring this magical place!

We maximize the number of Zodiac drivers on our staff so we can quickly ferry our participants ashore, without waiting in a long queue. More drivers also allows participants greater flexibility in deciding when they would like to go ashore and return.

Zodiac cruising
Zodiac cruising

Jam-Packed Itinerary with
More Landings and Zodiac Cruising

Since 1994 we have led over 25 expeditions to the Antarctic regions and now use this experience to continuously perfect and update our itinerary to make it the most in-depth you will find.

Please compare the number of landings we plan to other tours - we are sure that we will come out on top! We can offer more and longer landings without rushing from one site to the next because our trip is longer and we have more Zodiac drivers. Years of experience gives us the knowledge to hand pick the most productive sites. Plus we spend significant time Zodiac cruising to get you close to the spectacular scenery, ice, and wildlife in the waters of this unique area.

Hugh Rose in Antarctica
Hugh Rose

Expert Leaders and Staff

Excellence, expertise, and genuine interest in your enjoyment define our leaders and staff. Our numerous and experienced staff will help you safely land ashore in challenging sea conditions. For this reason, we rarely miss landings, especially at such fantastic but difficult sites as Steeple Jason in the Falklands and Bailey Head on Deception Island along the Antarctic Peninsula. These are undeniably two of the most fantastic sites in the world for breeding albatross and penguins.

While on shore, we offer you photography seminars and wildlife drawing classes (on our Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia and Falklands expedition), plus geology, bird, and nature walks to enhance your visit. Also, while on board the ship at sea, we offer ecology, geology, photography, and history lectures. Staff members are on watch from the ship's bridge and deck to spot and identify marine mammals and seabirds.

We have accessible expedition leaders - when you contact us you can often talk directly to an expedition leader who is glad to answer all your questions, no matter how small! We can also provide names and contacts of former travelers upon request.

Exploring South Georgia
Exploring South Georgia

Small Cohesive Group

IAATO rules state that only 100 people are allowed to go ashore at one time (except on Prion Island, where only 50 are allowed). Having fewer than 100 participants on board allows everyone to be ashore at the same time, eliminating timed shifts and maximizing field time. Our groups are small enough so we can land ashore at the same time without creating a crowd, yet large enough to allow us to bring a diverse array of knowledgeable leaders.

We charter the entire ship to make sure that our group is cohesive and passionate about their wildlife experience. We talk to each and every participant about focus of our expedition to assure the best experience for all. We also provide a non-smoking policy for the comfort of everyone.

Ortelius ship
The Ortelius

Best Ships

We charter the best possible ships, such as the Ortelius and Hans Hansson, for these types of wildlife expeditions. These ships are strong and fast, perfect for the Southern Ocean, yet small enough to provide an intimate experience. The Ortelius has the highest ice-class notation (UL1 equivalent to 1A) so you can feel safe as you explore the icy waters around the Antarctic Peninsula.

Chartering the entire ship puts our expedition leader in charge resulting in more time ashore and Zodiac cruising than other expeditions. Our experienced expedition leaders and ship crew know these waters well and can put together agreeable alternate plans when sea and weather conditions change.

St. Andrew's Bay, South Georgia
St. Andrew's Bay, South Georgia

Great Value and Quality

Our tour is the best value of any Antarctic voyage. This is primarily because we are a small, efficient company so you are not paying for a lot of advertising and travel agent commissions. Be sure to compare the number of days, landings, and leaders, plus the hours spent ashore against other tours before you sign-up. Read independent reviews on Epinions.com.

Our leaders and participants are a most enthusiastic, excited, and fun bunch of people. Many of our travelmates are repeat participants, so you will likely see a familiar face or two on our tours. Many new and lasting friendships have been started on a Cheesemans' expedition. The high number of repeat travelers is a testament to our high quality and value. Read a few of our participant testimonials.

Beach cleaning of Dyke Bay on Carcass Island in the Falklands
Beach cleaning

Passionate Conservation

We are concerned about protecting the polar environments and have supported many conservation efforts over the years. We promote protection of the Wandering Albatross and rat eradication programs. We are full members of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO), and Ted Cheeseman regularly attends meetings that set Antarctic policies. IAATO is a membership organization that advocates, promotes, and practices safe and environmentally responsible travel to the Antarctic.

We initiated an annual beach cleanup of Dyke Bay on Carcass Island in the Falklands where we removed over a hundred bags full of trash the first year. Thanks to our many generous staff and travelmates who volunteered to give up valuable time to benefit this spectacular place.

South Georgia Island

Destination (click for itinerary) Days Dates Group
Leader Trip
South Georgia Island Scientific Exploration 1, 2
aboard Hans Hansson
32 October 29, 2015 -
November 29, 2015
10 Tom Murphy
and 3 more
South Georgia Island Shackleton 100th Anniversary Antarctic Expedition1, 2, 3
aboard Ortelius
20 October 29, 2015 -
November 17, 2015
100 Ted Cheeseman
plus 14 staff
Extensions and Options Available:
1 Pre-trip Falkland Islands Extension to Carcass, West Point, and Sea Lion Islands
2 Pre-trip Patagonia from Punta Arena to Torres del Paine National Park in Chile
3 Optional Shackleton Crossing Trek during the expedition
View our South Georgia and Falkland Islands photo and video gallery.

King Penguins at Right Whale Bay, South Georgia by Hugh Rose
King Penguins at Right Whale Bay, South Georgia
© Hugh Rose

These special in-depth voyages are the product of our many years of experience leading expeditions to South Georgia and our passion for everything it has to offer. Our itineraries are specifically designed to take advantage of the vibrant early season when snow blankets the mountains and early summer brings wildlife treats seldom experienced. We explore vast colonies of King Penguins; see Macaroni, Gentoo, and Chinstrap Penguins; watch Elephant Seals in their peak of breeding activity; plus observe nesting Wandering, Grey-headed, and Light-mantled Sooty Albatross. The landscape of glaciers pouring into the sea and snow-capped peaks delivers rare beauty and photogenic impressiveness that words cannot convey. Our itineraries spend more time in the environs of South Georgia, the most beautiful and wildlife-rich island on the planet! We give you the maximum time possible on shore, including early and late landings for great morning light. Expert leaders in wildlife photography, ecology, biology, and history will further enhance your experience. Come with us to discover why South Georgia is considered the "Crown Jewel of the Antarctic."

The shorter itinerary sails on the impressively stable Ortelius, which has spacious cabins and large public spaces and an open bridge policy. This itinerary spends nine days around South Georgia.

The longer, small-group itinerary sails on the cozy Hans Hansson that can poke into the nooks and crannies around the island. This itinerary spends an unparalleled 17 landing days exploring South Georgia.

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South Georgia and Falkland Islands

Destination (click for itinerary) Days Dates Group
Leader Trip
South Georgia Island In-depth Adventure
aboard Sea Spirit
19 October 20, 2016 -
November 7, 2016
100 Hugh Rose
plus 13 staff
View our South Georgia and Falkland Islands photo and video gallery.

Black-browed Albatross on Falkland Islands
Black-browed Albatross
on Falkland Islands

We are very excited to be able to bring this comprehensive expedition to you on board the distinctive Sea Spirit. We used our long history of leading expeditions to the Antarctic regions to design this special itinerary that visits both South Georgia and the Falkland Islands. This expedition sails during our favorite time of year in this region when snowy mountains and landscapes provide delightful "eye-candy" beyond belief. Six days sailing around South Georgia gives us lots of time to visit unbelievable colonies of King Penguins; see Macaroni, Gentoo, and Chinstrap Penguins; huge elephant seal harems giving birth, mating and fighting; and colonies of Wandering, Gray-headed, Light-mantled Albatross. Three days around the Falklands includes Steeple Jason Island where more Black-browed Albatross nest than anywhere else on earth! Exceptional leadership expertise will enrich your experience during all aspects of the voyage. Our priority on this journey is to give you the maximum time possible in the field so you can explore at your own pace during a special time on South Georgia and Falkland Islands. Come explore South Georgia with us!

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Antarctic Peninsula

Destination (click for itinerary) Days Dates Group
Leader Trip
Antarctic Peninsula Quest for Whales and Landscapes1
aboard Ortelius
19 Mar 8, 2016 -
Mar 26, 2016
100 Ted Cheeseman
plus 16 staff
Extensions Available:
1 Pre-trip Patagonia from Punta Arena to Torres del Paine National Park in Chile

Humpback Whales Antarctica
Humpback Whales

Since the first explorers discovered this unknown continent, they've shared stories of incredible vistas and abundant mammals. This exciting expedition will combine years of experience on the Antarctic Peninsula with a scientific focus on marine mammals, in partnership with the American Cetacean Society (ACS). We designed this itinerary to maximize our opportunities to study and watch the whales that inhabit this vibrant and nutrient filled area from the South Shetland Islands to Crystal Sound south of the Antarctic Circle! Happily, here we find some of the best whale feeding grounds in the midst of Antarctica's most stunning landscapes, taking full advantage of the season's golden light. Landscape photography, time with Humpbacks, Antarctic Minke Whales, and Orcas, and visits to penguin and seal colonies will surpass your wildest expectations. Our priority on this special expedition is to give you the maximum field time during a unique period on the Peninsula and to share our passion and experience in the Antarctic with a special scientific component. Come and experience the Antarctic Peninsula with us!

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All material © Cheesemans' Ecology Safaris.
All photos © Doug or Ted Cheeseman, unless otherwise credited.

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