Find a trip
Whether spotting wildlife is an added bonus, chance encounter or from time spent observing, Explore trips offer you opportunities to get close to nature. From the ‘Big Five’ of Africa to the majestic Polar Bears of the Arctic, Explore trips take you on an unforgettable adventure to the heart of the animal kingdom.
Exploring in small, inconspicuous groups on our sustainably run group holidays gives you a chance to experience nature as it was intended with plenty of opportunities to capture it on camera and video.
To ensure low impact on the places that we visit and the animals we see, Explore works with and follows the guidelines of the Born Free Foundation. We have also recently removed elephant riding from all of our itineraries, offering alternative experiences such as elephant walking safaris in the wild.
Where will you travel to on your Explore wildlife holiday? Speak to one of our Customer Service team or take a look at some of our highlighted trips below. You can even build you own adventure from scratch and to your budget with a Tailormade trip. Call 01252 883184 to find out more.
Top Wildlife Adventures
Most famed for the renowned ‘Big Five’ (Lion, Buffalo, Elephant, Rhino and Leopard) in vast reserves such as Chobe and the Serengeti, you’ll be blown-away by the vast landscapes of wetlands and deserts from which you can observe these animals from four wheel drive, boat or even foot. Stay in a house-boat on the Okavango Delta as you observe big game and flocks of birds, or take a walking safari through Mkhaya Game Reserve in Africa’s last Kingdom, Swaziland.
Spend three nights exploring the Okavango Delta Panhandle by houseboat and see elephants at Chobe National Park as you stay in traditional lodges and campsites.
Track elusive Indri Lemur in Andasibe Reserve and observe a variety of chameleons, amphibians and birdlife on this remarkable island.
Search for the Big Five in Kruger National Park and track black and white rhinos in Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Reserve. Visit St Lucia, home to hippo and crocodile and discover the secluded sanctuary of Mlilwane at the foot of the Nyonyane Mountains.
The largest continent doesn't disappoint when it comes to wildlife - from the elusive leopard and Asian elephant in Sri Lanka to the endangered orang-utan of Borneo. Perhaps the most famous is the Bengal tiger, inspiring the Jungle Book story and can be spotted on game drives at Pench National Park, India.
Spot Bengal tigers at the location which inspired 'The Jungle Book', Pench National Park and track them by foot, jeep and canoe at Satpura.
Camp in the jungle, take a canopy walk through the rainforest and visit an orang-utan sanctuary at Sandakan whilst taking in the sights of spectacular birdlife such as hornbills, pittas and kingfishers.
Travelling from east to west across the island of Bali, Flores and Komodo this trip takes you to less-frequented areas such as the Ngada tribal villages, as well as a Komodo dragon safari walk to spot these fearsome creatures.
The tropical and volcanic region of bio-diverse Central America creates a haven for wildlife with cloud forests, lakes and coral reefs creating the perfect environments for monkeys, sloths, frogs and sea turtles. Journey further south and vast rainforests and wetlands host caiman, howler monkeys, giant otters and even jaguars.
Spot toucans, hummingbirds, parrots and kingfishers in the lush rainforests of Tortuguero and Monteverde. Head to the white sandy beaches of Manuel Antonio where you'll share the beach with capuchin monkeys and have opportunities to spot sloths.
Spend 2 days in the Amazon rainforest exploring by boat as you search for caiman, piranhas and birdlife. At the Pantanal Wildlife Reserve you will have a two days to explore, searching for armadillo, tapir, boar and 600 species of bird.
Discover giant river otters, caiman as well as a vast array of birdlife such as parakeet, parrot and canopy-dwellings native birds such as Pompadour Cotinga, Screaming Piha and White-throated Trogon.
Probably the most iconic location for wildlife spotting and the inspiration behind Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, a visit to the Galapagos Islands provides those lucky enough to visit with up-close encounters with giant tortoises, blue-footed boobies, penguins, giant lizards and a glimpse of an otherworldly landscape.
Witness large colonies of sea lions as you cruise around the remote Galapagos Islands. You'll also witness flamingos, albatross and tortoises set against the backdrop of jagged cliffs, caves and saltwater lagoons.
Witness flocks of seabirds including bluefooted boobies, frigate birds, pelicans, cormorants, albatross and petrels as you explore 'Darwin's Islands'. Giant iguanas, Galapagos penguins and sea lions also dot the landscape and, being comfortable in your presence, allow for fantastic photographic opportunities.
Explore secluded bays home to a range of marine life including tortoises, vast sea lion colonies and flocks of sea bird including blue-footed boobies and frigate birds.
Travelling on an expedition vessel crewed by experts, a journey to the Arctic or Antarctic will take you to awe-inspiring wilderness and wildlife. Taking a Zodiac inflatable boat to the shore, you’ll witness roaming polar bears, walruses, seals and flocks of birds in the Arctic, or rookeries of penguins and whales in the Antarctic set against the backdrop of snowy landscapes and floating icebergs.
Search for the 'King' of the Arctic as it patrols the ice for food and spot walrus, Arctic fox and seals as you sail amongst ice-blue glaciers and deep fjords.
Explore deep into Antartica as you Cross the Polar Circle in a small ship that can access hard to reach places. Explore across the ice and discover Chinstrap penguins, Crabeater seals, Minke and Humpback Whales.
Travel in Polar Rovers are you see the World's Greatest Concentration of polar bears. The expert knowledge of the Expedition leaders will help you understand more about these majestic animals.
Observe a range of penguin species including king, gentoo, Adelie and chinstrap as you explore South Georgia's ice-covered mountains and get closer to penguin rookeries when you take a Zodiac to Antarctic wildernesses.
“I’ve recently returned from an awe-inspiring trip up to the High Arctic, aboard the nimble yet comfortable M/S Expedition. The trip surpassed my expectations on so many levels – the wildlife, the route, the staff, crew and the ship; it was a fantastic experience from start to finish.
We were incredibly lucky on the wildlife front – so lucky in fact that our bear count reached double figures! We saw 10 bears, one of which was a very special encounter, with the bear practically walking right up to the bow of the ship and posing for photos! We were with the curious bear for around two hours, whilst he scanned and navigated his way across the pack ice and dipped in and out of the water.
We had many other special encounters – a Zodiac cruise amongst groups of swimming walruses, watching an Arctic fox hunt for kittiwakes, as well as 'waving' humpback whales, white-beaked dolphins, Arctic reindeer and many others.
What really added to the wildlife experience though, were the staff. There were experts on-board from every field including ornithology, zoology, geology, biology and photography and they were always on hand to answer questions and enhance the experience with their knowledge. Each day they would offer lectures on various subjects, which would help further explain the fascinating events/scenes and wildlife we were witnessing. I believe between them they had amassed a combined expedition experience of over 200 years!
One other added benefit was the “Photographer in Residence” – a professional photographer that was on-board to help us get the best out of our photos. She held a series of workshops, as well as one-to-one tuition and advice when we were in action, allowing us all to take some excellent photos to treasure and to show off to our friends and families!
And then there’s the ship. The M/S Expedition is perfect for expedition cruising, with its ice-hardened hull and bow thrusters to help it manoeuvre through pack ice and around the coastline with ease. It has a large fleet of Zodiacs which allowed us to get very close to the action, and of course providing the platform for the all-important shore landings.
On-board, the cabins are all en-suite, spacious and comfortable, and there is a generously sized ‘discovery lounge’ with large windows and views of the passing scenery, a dining room with excellent cuisine, and even a small pub! My favourite bit about the ship though is its open bridge policy – you can head up to the bridge and witness the Captain navigating his way through this unique environment first-hand.
To sum it up– it was the trip of a lifetime to one of the last true wildernesses on earth.“
Explore Tailormade’s Hanna Holmes recently had the chance to visit the Polar Pioneer while it was docked In Scotland. She spent some time exploring the ship and viewing its facilities.
"On my visit to the ship, not only did I get to explore it, I also learned all about the physicalities of the Polar Pioneer and its crew. It’s a small ice-strengthened research ship that has been refurbished to accommodate 54 passengers.
One great thing about the vessel is that its main focus is on the expedition experience. They have some extremely knowledgeable guides on board who will be there throughout to answer any queries. All the crew members I met were extremely passionate about the polar experience of those that journey with them. Throughout each cruise they build a comprehensive log which is later emailed to all those aboard, giving a fantastic memento of your holiday.
I had a look through all the types of cabin on board; they were all simple yet comfortable with a porthole or window. Another thing I really liked about the vessel is that it has a large open bridge, which you can visit at any time during your cruise. The bridge has some of the best views on the ship and also has some seats, plus you can ask the captain and the crew about navigation.
There is also a an open bow on the 1st deck, which allows you to walk all the way round the vessel for better sightings, plus they have a 'floating' bridge which is open to all and provides great views - all these additional outside spaces are invaluable during any polar cruise. The Polar Pioneer is perfect for polar expedition cruising - hopefully I'll get to go aboard while she is in polar waters one day!"
Take a look at all our Polar Voyages
Set sail to the far ends of the Earth to see the last true wilderness areas in existence. Travelling on a small expedition vessel crewed by a team of polar experts and using Zodiac inflatable boats for shore excursions, you will witness the splendour of areas virtually untouched by the hand of man.
These icy extremes are a haven for wildlife, much of it endemic to the polar regions. Just imagine waking up surrounded by glaciers and mountains as far as the eye can see, standing encircled amid hundreds of penguins or that heart-stopping moment when you see your first polar bear.
28 December, 2012
Explore expands polar offering with greater choice for all budgets
Adventure travel specialist, Explore, has today launched its 2013/14 Polar Adventures brochure with 11 new itineraries on offer. The new collection features a greater breadth of choice for all budgets, with Arctic voyages costing from just £2,299 per person. What’s more, customers can now journey to Antarctica without having to contend with the infamous Drake Passage by taking advantage of the new Antarctica Fly and Cruise voyage.
Four new ships feature in Explore’s latest brochure. The M/V Ocean Nova, M/S Fram, M/V Polar Pioneer and the M/V Ushuaia each have their own unique features but all have ice-class classifications allowing them to travel safely through the remote Polar Regions. Those looking for a particularly intimate experience can travel alongside on-board experts and researchers on the M/V Polar Pioneer, which carries just 54 passengers and contains only ocean-facing cabins.
Offering fantastic value for money and an in-depth cultural insight is Explore’s new 12 day West and Southern Greenland voyage. This varied journey travels to the little-visited sounds and glaciers of west Greenland and visits Inuit settlements and abandoned villages while learning about their Viking history and admiring the unique wildlife. Travelling on the M/S Fram, the voyage departs in May, July and September 2013 and costs from £4,576 per person to include accommodation and all meals.
Another new itinerary but different from the rest of Explore’s polar offering, is the new land-based Polar Bears in Churchill tour of Canada. Designed especially for polar bear enthusiasts, the six-day tour allows customers the unique opportunity to admire polar bears up-close, from the comfort of a Tundra Buggy - a bespoke vehicle for polar bear viewing. Customers will travel alongside an experienced guide who will explain the bear’s behaviour while watching them. In addition, customers will view other Arctic wildlife and can participate in a dog-sledding excursion. Commencing in October and November 2013, the tour costs from £3,445 per person to include accommodation, some meals, transport and the services of a wildlife guide.
For those who long to visit the opposite pole but are wary of journeying through the infamous Drake Passage, Explore’s new Antarctica Fly and Cruise combos offer the ideal solution. Instead of spending multiple days sailing through its often-stormy waters, customers will avoid the passage entirely and take a two-hour flight to Antarctica, where they will meet the M/V Ocean Nova. Maximum time can then be spent admiring and exploring the wildlife, fjords, icebergs and landscapes of Antarctica. There are three different voyages to choose from; a five day trip departs costs from £2,594 per person. To include accommodation and all meals.
Another unique addition to the collection is Explore’s new 15 day Antarctic Peninsula and Weddell Sea voyage. The voyage journeys deep into Antarctica – an area famously explored by Ernest Shackleton - and will allow customers to experience the vast landscapes and tabular icebergs of Antarctica and the Weddell Sea. Customers may have the unique opportunity to view the world’s tallest penguin, the emperor penguin, as well as seals, whales and a variety of birdlife. They will make ample shore landings, allowing great photographic opportunities. Departing in February and December 2013, the voyage costs from £3,740 per person and includes accommodation and all meals.
Ashley Toft, Managing Director for Explore, commented “Explore has been offering small group adventures for over 31 years now and Polar Adventures are one of our newer additions. A trip to the Polar Regions was once the stuff of dreams, but with increasing exposure in the media, people are beginning to realise that actually, there’s no reason they why they can’t see the poles for themselves”.
He continued, “Over the last few years we’ve received ever-increasing demand for polar adventures. This year, we’re pleased to offer voyages from just £1,535 per person – an amazing price for a truly fantastic experience.”
For further information, or to book, visit www.explore.co.uk or call 0844 875 1895.
- Ends -
Notes to editors
Please note, flights are not included but can be arranged through Explore.
For more media information, interview requests or images, please contact:
Louise Ponting, PR Officer, Explore – firstname.lastname@example.org, 01252 379 511
Save as you sail. Take a look at our fantastic offers on a selection of our polar cruises to the Arctic and Antarctica. Save up to 25% on selected departures.
Norwegian Arctic 2017 – Save 25%
Date: 20th March - 10th May
Choose a Norwegian adventure and save 25%:
Scottish Highlights and Norwegian Fjords (ESN) – Save 25% - 11th May 2017
Cruise the Norwegian Fjords (ENF) – Save 25% - 24th May 2017
Norwegian Fjords and Spitsbergen (ELN) – Save 25% - 31st May 2017
Realm of the Polar Bear In Depth (ACSX) – Save 25% - 28th June 2017
Terms & Conditions:
The above offers are per person, valid on all cabins types and are subject to availability at the time of booking. The offers are only valid on the departures listed above and cannot be combined with any other offer, except Explore loyalty discounts. These offers do not apply to pre or post voyage services such as flights, transfers or hotel accommodation. Deposits must be paid by the 10th May 2017.
Norwegian Arctic 2017 – Save up to 20%
Date: 20th March - 10th May
Choose a Norwegian adventure and save up to 20%:
Realm of the Polar Bear In Depth (ACSX) – Save 20% - 15th July, 11th August 2017
Realm of the Polar Bear (ACS) – Save 20% - 14th June, 21st June 2017
Realm of the Polar Bear In Depth (ACSX) – Save 15% - 1st August 2017
Realm of the Polar Bear (ACS) – Save 15% - 8th July 2017
Realm of the Polar Bear (ACS) – Save 10% - 25th July 2017
Spitsbergen, Greenland and Iceland (ASG) – Save 10% - 1st September 2017
Terms & Conditions:
The above offers are per person, valid on all cabins types and are subject to availability at the time of booking. The offers are only valid on the departures listed above and cannot be combined with any other offer, except Explore loyalty discounts. These offers do not apply to pre or post voyage services such as flights, transfers or hotel accommodation. Deposits must be paid by the 15th April 2017.
Antarctica 2017/18 – Save 15%
Date: Valid from 20th March - 15th April
Book on any of the following departures and save 15%:
King Penguins of the Falklands and South Georgia (ABS) - 23rd October 2017
Antarctic Circle (APC) - 20th February 2018
Classic Antarctica (ANK) - 4th March, 13th March 2018
Terms & Conditions:
The above offers are per person, valid on category 3 cabins and above only and is subject to availability at the time of booking. The offers are only valid on the departures listed above and cannot be combined with any other offer, except Explore loyalty discounts. These offers do not apply to pre or post voyage services such as flights, transfers or hotel accommodation. Deposits must be paid by the 15th April 2017.
Arctic and Antarctica – Save 15% when you book two back-to-back voyages
Date: No date limit
Ship: M/V Polar Pioneer
Why not take an extended trip through the fjords and glaciers of the Arctic or couple your journey to the Antarctic Peninsula with a longer voyage to the home of macaroni penguins in the Falklands and king penguins in South Georgia? Book two back-to-back trips on-board the M/V Polar Pioneer, and save 15% off both voyages.
Terms & Conditions:
The 15% discounts will be applied to your final balance payment, not the deposit. The discount is per person, valid only on cruises running back-to-back (one after the other) and cannot be combined with any other offer except Explore loyalty discounts. The offer does not apply to pre or post voyage services such as flights, transfers or hotel accommodation.
Antarctica – Free dry bag offer
Date: No date limit
Ship: M/V Ocean Nova and M/V Sea Explorer
Free dry bag upon embarkation
Every passenger who travels on the Ocean Nova or Sea Explorer will be given a free dry bag upon embarkation. Invaluable when on a Zodiac, this handy piece of kit will keep your belongings dry and safe until you need them.
Terms & Conditions
The dry bag will be provided once you board the ship. Offer applies to all departures aboard the M/V Ocean Nova and M/V Sea Explorer. This offer is ongoing; however we reserve the right to revoke it at any time.
Antarctica and Arctic – Free jacket offer
Date: Available on all departures
Ship: M/V Polar Pioneer
Each passenger travelling on board the Polar Pioneer, will receive a complimentary polar expedition jacket to wear on their trip and take home afterwards.
The stylish 2-in-1 jacket is designed to be worn over your essential base layers and is suitable for the conditions encountered on your polar adventure. Both pieces offer sophisticated expedition styling and have been customised, complete with an included ‘drop seat’ allowing for additional comfort when sitting in Zodiacs. Other key feature include:
- Waterproof, breathable outer shell
- Two zippered fleece-lined hand warmer pockets
- Drawcord-adjustable drop-tail hem seals in warmth and cuts out wind
- Adjustable, fleece-lined hood with laminated visor for good visibility in poor conditions
- Microfleece-lined back of neck and wind flap for next-to-skin comfort
- Easy-to-use velcro cuff tabs
- Lightweight synthetic fill polyester shell inner jacket provides great warmth-to-weight ratio
- Comfortable wind-resistant inner jacket, which is detachable from the waterproof outer shell
Terms & Conditions
The jacket will be provided once you board the ship. Offer is valid on departures aboard the M/V Polar Pioneer. This offer is ongoing; however we reserve the right to revoke it at any time.
Antarctica and Arctic – Free jacket offer
Date: No date limit
Ship: M/S Expedition
All passengers embarking on a voyage aboard the M/S Expedition will receive their very own exclusive parka.
Designed specifically for exploring the polar regions, the jacket comes in male and female sizes from S to 3XL and includes cold weather features like:
- Breathable waterproof fabric
- 5cm Thinsulate(TM) liner
- Reflective taping by 3M(TM)
- Removable hood with microfleece lining
- Large rear storage pocket
- Cuff pocket
Terms & Conditions
The jacket will be provided once you board the ship. Offer applies to all departures aboard the M/S Expedition. This offer is ongoing; however we reserve the right to revoke it at any time.
Book early for free upgrade - First come, first served! Date: Ongoing while available
Ship: Expedition 2016/17/18 voyages
Booking your polar voyage early doesn't just give you more time to get excited about your holiday; it also means you can take advantage of our great cabin upgrade offer. On each departure of our Arctic and Antarctica voyages aboard the Expedition, the first booking in a twin-share category 2 cabin will be automatically upgraded to a twin-share category 3 - free! Category 3 cabins have a larger window rather than a porthole, with the benefit of being on a higher deck; this gives you the best vantage point from which to view the passing scenery. So, make sure you book as early as possible and be the lucky one to take advantage of this offer.
Terms & Conditions
The upgrade offer is ongoing, on a first-come-first served basis (until further notice) and is specific to the Expedition departures only. This offer is subject to availability at the time of booking and is only applicable to the cabin types as listed above. Upgrades are per person and cannot be combined with any other offer except Explore loyalty discounts. The offer does not apply to pre or post voyage services such as flights, transfers or hotel accommodation.
To book any of these offers call our specialist polar team: 01252 884 247
Terms and Conditions Apply: To qualify for discounts, the booking must be confirmed (i.e. the deposit paid or full payment taken) between the dates indicated on the offers (where applicable). All discounts are per person and may only be used against the base price of the tour and don't apply to any pre or post voyage services such as flights, transfers, hotels etc unless otherwise stated. Offers cannot be combined with any other promotions or discount. We reserve the right to amend or withdraw our discount offers at any time. These offers are available on new bookings only.
It’s important that you choose the right expedition vessel for your journey to the Arctic or Antarctica.
Explore has done the work for you and hand-picked a selection of ships that will take you to see the very best of the polar regions. We only use small, highly respected expedition ships, captained and crewed by some of the top experts in their field. All the ships have ice-strengthened hulls, enabling them to manoeuvre safely in the ice.
None of the ships are luxurious but all are comfortable and sensibly kitted out for expedition voyages in polar conditions. Whichever ship you choose, you will enjoy a warm, friendly atmosphere on-board – and the chance to witness some of nature’s most extraordinary sights up-close and in the company of a
Our Polar Ships
M/S Expedition gets the best of both worlds: large enough to offer stability and generous public areas, but small enough to manoeuvre easily and get you close to the action.
The M/S Fram is a comfortable vessel for your polar exploration with modern amenities such as fitness room, Jacuzzi and sauna.
M/V Ocean Nova is a modern vessel that offers the exclusive Fly and Cruise combination.
Polar Pioneer is a Finnish ex-research vessel, refurbished to provide an adventurous journey in the polar regions; its ice class means it has excellent manoeuvrability
The Ushuaia is an ice-strengthened small ship, accommodating just 84 passengers; making it a comfortable and steadfast choice.
The M/V Sea Explorer is a small, all-suite expedition vessel. Built in 1992 and refurbished in 2005, several improvements have been made to optimise comfort on board.
Explore has a team of polar experts waiting to talk to you about your expedition to Antarctica or the Arctic. Many of us have travelled to the poles, gaining first-hand knowledge of the region and the vessels you’ll be travelling on. We can help you make the best decision on which trip and which ship to go on, ensuring you really do have the journey of a lifetime. To contact our polar team for more information or to book a trip call 0844 875 1895 or email email@example.com
Built for the US agency NOAA (National Oceanographic & Atmospheric Administration), the Ushuaia has been constantly modernised and refurbished in its eight years operating in Antarctica. The Ushuaia is an ice-strengthened small ship, accommodating just 84 passengers; making it a comfortable and steadfast choice. Knowledgeable staff will ensure you get the most out of your visit and there’s an openbridge policy plus ample deck space for wildlife-viewing.
- Passengers: 84
- Staff and Crew: 38
- Dimensions: Length 84.7m; breadth 15.5m; draught 5.5m
- Cruising speed: 12 knots
- Ice Class: 1C
Polar Pioneer is a Finnish ex-research vessel, refurbished to provide an adventurous journey in the polar regions; its ice class means it has excellent manoeuvrability. The vessel accommodates only 54 passengers, meaning more time with the experts and a friendly on-board experience. Informed crew and experts will ensure you learn about how a polar expedition runs, your unique surroundings and the wildlife; Zodiacs will take you to shore for close encounters.
- Passengers: 54
- Staff and Crew: 32
- Dimensions: Length 71.6m; breadth 12.8m; draught 4.5m
- Cruising speed: 10 knots
- Ice Class: 1A