Antarctica is home to the South Pole, which is one of the two points where the planet's axis of rotation intersects the surface. The other point is the North Pole, which can be found in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. You can find the South Pole in the middle of the continent of Antarctica, which is fast becoming a popular travel destination for those who are looking for the next great frontier. At the site of the South Pole Antarctica is where the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station is situated. This research station, which is operated by the United States, is one of many research stations in Antarctica, and visitors to the continent can tour it if they please.
South Pole Antarctica expeditions were quite popular in the early 1900s, as various countries were hoping that their representatives would be the first to reach it. The first successful expedition to the South Pole took place in 1911, and it was led by Roald Amundsen. This Norwegian-led expedition reached the pole about a month before the British explorer Robert Falcon Scott arrived with four traveling companions. South Pole Antarctica is an unforgiving place, thanks to the cold weather, the dry air, and the usually strong winds, and unfortunately, Scott and his party perished on their attempted return to the McMurdo Sound area. It wasn't until 1929 that the first plane flew over the South Pole in Antarctica, and ground visitors did not return until 1956.
During the winter months at the South Pole, the sun never rises. As such, it can be an excellent place for astronomical observations in the wintertime. During the summer months, the sun never sets, and those who are enjoying summertime South Pole tours won't want to forget their sunscreen. South Pole Antarctica sits atop an icy plateau that is approximately 9,300 feet above sea level. Thanks to this high altitude, the sunlight is usually very intense. Sunscreen is a must wherever you go in Antarctica, even if you find yourself closer to sea level. That's because all the snow here reflects the sunlight. In addition to sunscreen, anyone planning South Pole tours, not to mention Antarctica vacations in general, will also want to remember to bring sunglasses, as snow blindness is always a risk. Knowing what to pack for a trip to Antarctica is key to having a pleasant vacation experience. In addition to sunscreen and sunglasses, you'll also want to pack a good hat.
Interestingly enough, the ice at the South Pole in Antarctica is estimated to be about 9,000 feet thick. The land under the ice is actually close to sea level, which is something that you might find hard to believe on your expedition to the South Pole. Even though the sunlight is strong in terms of UV rays at the South Pole, it isn't very warm. In fact, South Pole Antarctica boasts one of the coldest climates on Earth. Because the South Pole is located at such a high altitude in the middle of a land mass, it is much colder than the North Pole is. Even in the middle of summer, the temperatures here only average minus twelve degrees. Come the winter months, an average temperature of around negative 85 degrees is to be expected. Because of all the cold weather and the drifting snow that can be found at the South Pole, some visitors might be surprised to know that the climate here is described as being a desert climate. This has a lot to do with the fact that the area hardly receives any precipitation.
Because of the harsh climate at South Pole Antarctica, you won't find any resident animals or plants in the area. Some visitors have seen birds on occasion, though it is generally determined that these birds are simply flying off course. Hopefully, you won't find yourself off course at any time during your expedition to the South Pole. Should you be interested in South Pole tours, they are usually very expensive, as it's not an easy place to get to. That being said, there are companies that offer tours to this unique destination, so you can certainly arrange a visit with relative ease if you can afford it. For those with funds to spare, private South Pole tours are arguably the way to go, however group tours are more affordable.