Duration 8 days / 7 nights
Sea Lion Island: 2 nights. Pebble Island: 2 nights. Saunders Island: 2 nights. Stanley: 1 night.
Day 1 - 2: Arrive Mount Pleasant Airport early afternoon, transfer by Falkland Islands Government Air Service (FIGAS) 8-seater Britten Norman Islander aircraft to Sea Lion Island with a flight time of approximately 25 minutes. The relatively low level flying provides passengers with exceptional views of the Falklands coastlines and inland scenery. Your accommodation here is at Sea Lion Lodge, the only purpose built lodge in the Falkland Islands, and just minutes walk from a rich variety of wildlife. Sea Lion Island is one of the smallest in the Falklands archipelago, and the most southerly inhabited island, but is still the prime destination with the sheer abundance of wildlife in such a small area making it a must on any Falklands itinerary. An introductory and orientation tour by vehicle upon arrival will point out the principle areas of interest, however everything is in easy walking distance of the lodge – a map and guidelines for safe wildlife viewing are given out on arrival. The internationally endangered Striated caracara, Antarctic skuas, Southern giant petrels, and a host of passerines can all be seen on this island. Not to be missed are the Southern sea lions at East Loafers, and the Elephant seals which bask on the white sandy beach at the appropriately named Elephant Corner. The latter are close enough to be seen from the lodge bar! Keep an eye open and there is the odd killer whale to be spotted off shore as well.
Day 3 – 4: Transfer by FIGAS to Pebble Island. Pebble Island is one of the larger outlying islands, and the landscape varies greatly from large ponds and moorland, to long sandy beaches and rocky cliffs. This diverse countryside offers shelter and protection to an equally wide-ranging breeding population of birds and mammals. Many thousands of Gentoo, Rockhopper and Magellanic penguins breed each summer along with raucous congregations of Southern sea lions. The deep ponds on the east of the island, many of which are within walking distance of the lodge, are home to Chiloe wigeon, Grebes, Black-necked swans and a multitude of other wildfowl and wading birds. The full day guided tour in 4x4 vehicle offers ample opportunity to see the abundant wildlife and spectacular scenery further afield from the settlement, as well as hunting for the semiprecious stones that give the island its name. Pebble also has something for the historian with some 1982 conflict debris and the memorial to HMS Coventry. Your accommodation on Pebble Island will be at Pebble Lodge; previously the farm manager’s house and situated in the centre of the farm settlement. Now, although ideally adapted to the needs of the visitor, it retains the warm and friendly atmosphere of a large farmhouse.
Day 5 – 6: Transfer by FIGAS to Saunders Island and then overland to the wildlife hotspot know as Rookery Inn – a drive of about 40 minutes. Rookery Inn is a comfortable well appointed two bedroomed self-catering cottage located on the cliff top with magnificent views of the islands along the north of West Falkland. This 30,000 acre island is still an active sheep farm and is important historically for being the site of the first British settlement in 1765. However the attraction to the wildlife enthusiast is undoubtedly the Black-browed albatross colony which stretches along the north coast to the narrow sandy isthmus known as the Neck. This island is unquestionably one of the Falklands best wildlife sites with King and Rock shags, Gentoo, Rockhopper, Magellanic, King and, if lucky a few Macaroni, penguins to be seen as well as the albatross. All this wildlife is right at your doorstep at this fully equipped but isolated self-catering style accommodation known as Rookery Inn. Food can be bought in a small store at the settlement, or alternativelyif you would rather not waste a moment’s wildlife viewing, preprepared meals can be provided at additional cost.
Day 7: Transfer by FIGAS to Stanley. Following arrival at Stanley Airport and prior to your arrival at the Malvina House Hotel, a city tour will take in both the historic and most modern parts of this small and remote capital city, as well as a visit to the museum and picturesque Gypsy Cove. Spend the afternoon exploring and photographing colourful Stanley and buying souvenirs.
Day 8: Transfer to Mount Pleasant Airport by private vehicle. Keep your eyes open for Red-backed buzzards en route!
Included in this itinerary:
• Full board accommodation (all meals included) at Pebble Lodge and Sea Lion Lodge.
• Accommodation (no meals included) at Rookery Inn, Saunders Island.
• Hotel accommodation including breakfast at Malvina House Hotel, Stanley.
• All domestic flights.
• Airport transfers as listed.
• Excursions as listed : - Introductory tour on Sea Lion Island - Full day tour on Pebble Island - Roundtrip transfer on Saunders Island - City tour & museum visit in Stanley.
Note : Accommodation on Saunders Island is only self-catering. There is a small store in the settlement which sells a basic but adequate range of tinned, dried and frozen foodstuffs, and the landowners can sell you fresh meat, eggs and bread. However if you would rather not worry about any catering, we can highly recommend pre-catered homecooked meal packs which are sent out from Stanley. These contain everything for breakfast (bread, cereal, yoghurt, juice etc.), packed lunch material (savoury pastries, sandwich fillers, fruit, chocolate, drinks etc.) and a three course evening meal with simple reheating instructions.