With a relatively small population of 2,500 residents but a rather large offering of unspoiled landscapes and abundant wildlife, the Falkland Islands is in full preparation mode to welcome the Duke to their 740-plus island archipelago next February and March.
And, while the Duke will be busy with his duties as a Search and Rescue Pilot with the Royal Air Force, this warm and friendly community hopes that he will also find time to enjoy the beauty and hospitality that their British Overseas Territory is known for.
Below are a few suggestions the locals have for the Duke to take advantage of during his deployment, but which are also available to the many tourists who come to this nature lovers’ paradise.
Volunteer Point – This white sandy beach is a haven of bird activity and is, quite literally fit for a king. About 1,500 king penguins call Volunteer Point home as well as gentoo and Magellanic penguins, plus waterfowl and endemic subspecies like the dark-faced ground tyrant, Falkland pipit and thrush. About two and a half hours’ drive from Stanley, Volunteer Point is the largest, most accessible king penguin colony in the world outside of South Georgia.
Sea Lion Island – Just a 35-minute flight from Stanley, this nature preserve has an incredible amount of wildlife in a small area (the island is just five miles by one mile). There’s the chance to spot three types of breeding penguins, sea lions, and even killer whales that prowl the shoreline. And, with the Royal Family’s commitment to environmental preservation, William will likely have a great appreciation for the island’s sole accommodation, Sea Lion Lodge, which runs on the use of solar panels and wind turbines.
Getting around the Falklands will probably be familiar territory for the Duke as well given his passion for flying. FIGAS – Falkland Islands Government Air Service – flies visitors to a handful of settlements and Outer Islands across the archipelago from Stanley Airport on daily, non-scheduled flights.
Malvina House Hotel – After long days of training and military meals, William can kick back and relax the way the locals do…at the pub! The Malvina House Hotel is located in the centre of Stanley, the Falklands capital, and offers both panoramic views of the harbour and delicious menus using local produce.
The Duke’s visit in early 2012 coincides with the 30th anniversary of the Falklands Conflict between the UK and Argentina and which will be commemorated with numerous events throughout the year. In addition, there are several tour options that include historical sites as well as trips that highlight the spectacular landscape and wildlife that the Falklands are known for.
Cox & Kings offers an 8-day Falkland Islands Encounter for a princely sum of around £1,795 per person. The package takes in Pebble Island, Sea Lion Island, Stanley and a trip to Volunteer Point and includes flights from Chile with LAN, accommodation, touring and meals.
www.coxandkings.co.uk / 0845 564 1974.