Skypods: White Desert aims to offer the most luxurious beds on the continent in their new Echo. Photo / Supplied, White Desert
A South African adventure company hopes its inspiration from a “galaxy far, far away” will encourage tourists to visit the world’s most remote continent.
Echo Base is the latest project from luxury tour operator White Desert.
This summer, they’re planting space pods in the middle of Antarctica, which look like they landed in a sci-fi movie.
White Desert founder Patrick Woodhead says the parallels between Antarctica and space travel are undeniable.
Having already launched polar tours to two other temporary bases on the mainland, out of igloo huts and tented camps, the ‘Sky Pods’ will be something different.
In remodeling accommodation in Antarctica, they were inspired by fantasy adventure movies from their childhood, says polar explorer Woodhead.
Each of the six spherical capsules will feature floor-to-ceiling windows centered around queen beds.
He said the pods were “like the Millennium Falcon…meeting a boutique retreat.”
When they arrive on the Ice Shield Glacier in December, they might be the most comfortable beds on the continent.
The pods provide a luxurious base for adventurers exploring the Nunatak Mountains of East Antarctica.
An avowed Star Wars geek, Woodhead couldn’t help but draw parallels between ’70s sci-fi and the Frozen Continent. However, for one of their guests, the comparison was even more obvious: astronaut Buzz Aldrin.
“He talked about the beauty of our mountains and how there were even similarities to the terrain of the moon,” Woodhead said of the 1969 lunar mission veteran.
“We discovered that one of our camps in Antarctica is so remote that their closest neighbor was the International Space Station, orbiting more than 400 km above our heads!”
In accordance with the rules governing Antarctica, the pods are designed to be easily removed without leaving a trace, when it is time to return to the mother ship.
With only 12 seats for paying customers, seats on tours departing from Cape Town are extremely exclusive. There are only ten departures scheduled from December.
Arriving by private jet on the Blue Ice Runway, up to $168,000 per guest for a week-long visit including a day trip to the Geographic South Pole.
For adventurers on a slightly tighter budget and time, White Desert organizes day trips to their other Antarctic camp at Wolf’s Fang. For $23,500 per person, visitors have the chance to experience a 24-hour adventure that includes a trip to the nearby Nunataks and a champagne picnic in the snow.
It is light years away from the hardships experienced by the first explorers who discovered the continent.
I’m going on a champagne picnic… I may have some time.