Must-Have Apps for Your Antarctica Safari

Kate Waite

14 Nov 2017

nws kate lists some useful apps for your trip to the antarctic peninsula

Antarctica is one of the few places on this planet that can promise a total disconnection from technology. Travelling to the largest wilderness in the world means no mobile coverage and no data connection, just two bleak words in the top left of my screen: “no signal”. There is actually a strong appeal to this, however the lack of connectivity doesn’t render my phone entirely useless. There are a number of apps worth loading onto your device to keep you entertained and informed throughout your polar journey, whether you're an Apple or Android user.


Google Play (Android)

iOS App Store (Apple)

You should have already downloaded our go-to travel app Vamoos, as we’ll have provided you with a unique User ID and passcode upon booking your safari with us. With elements designed specifically for Natural World Safaris, you’ll find all your travel documents pre-loaded along with a tonne of useful information about your trip. You can pore over your itinerary, check the local weather at your destination, check out information on the local wildlife and browse through a destination guide. For sea-based safaris like those to Antarctica, you’ll also be able to view information about the ship you’ll be sailing on, including a detailed deck plan and list of on-board facilities. With Vamoos you can keep track of all the essentials for your safari in one place, and the onscreen countdown really helps to build excitement!


Google Play (Android)

iOS App Store (Apple)

The Drake Passage is the name given to the 500 miles of water between South America’s Cape Horn and the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica. As one of the most notoriously rough and unpredictable sea crossings in the world, one of the foremost questions in our minds is whether we will have a “Drake Lake” or a “Drake Shake” after leaving Argentina! It’s hard to get an accurate long-term forecast for this region of ocean, so don’t panic if you see it changing frequently after downloading Windy. The app goes into great detail with wind speed and direction data, so if you’re braving the Drake Passage you can ensure you leave your departure point, Ushuaia, fully prepared for what is to come. If you’re setting sail from New Zealand, you won’t have to worry about this particular crossing, but Windy will still come in handy when anticipating the wind, wave and tide forecast on your way to Antarctica. A rough crossing does at least lend itself to some great images of waves crashing over the bow of the ship!

Antarctic Wildlife Guide

Google Play (Android)

iOS App Store (Apple)

This in-depth wildlife guide is handy for replacing a printed guidebook if you want to save space in your suitcase, or if you prefer to keep things digital. With over 100 species and 700 images to look through, you’ll be all set to start spotting your favourite creatures as soon as your ship sets sail. You can also filter the wildlife by particular regions, meaning you can narrow down your sightings all the way from Ushaia and the Falkland Islands to mainland Antarctica. Try keeping track of your sightings with the personal list feature, or using the innovative Bird Smart Search which allows you to identify a particular bird species by its habitat and physical features. Whether you’re a seasoned birdwatcher or are looking forward to spotting whales, dolphins and seals, you’ll want to make sure your device is charged when you’re out on deck!

SeaNav HD

This app is not available on Android devices

iOS App Store (Apple)

This app provides handy navigational tools and maps for you to use while on your journey. You can plot your position using GPS even when sailing across the Drake Passage, allowing you to keep track of how far you’ve travelled and the distance between your boat and your next destination. For sailing aficionados, a selection of in-app tools allow you to go into further detail, with a HUD that tracks Course Over Ground (COG), Speed Over Ground (SOG), Vector Made Good (VMG), Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) and a range of other specifics. The nautical charts can also be accessed while offline.


Google Play (Android)

iOS App Store (Apple)

Perfect for those dark and stormy nights at sea, this app allows you to save online links, articles and videos for you to read or watch later, even when you’re not connected to the Internet. Before embarking on your Antarctica safari, make sure you load up on reading material so you can dive into your portable digital library whenever you fancy. You can save things to Pocket from your computer, internet browser or email client, as well as apps like Facebook and Twitter. You can stock up on Antarctica-related material to really immerse yourself in your safari, or a few stand-up comedy routines to help yourself wind down after a long day of wildlife-spotting!

Netflix, Audible and Spotify

Netflix Audible Spotify

As household names, these apps require no introduction. Each one offers the ability to download content to your device for use when you are off the grid, ensuring you can still watch your favourite programmes or listen to music and audiobooks whenever you like. Make sure you load up your device before you go for when you fancy a bit of downtime on the ship. While there will be plenty of activities on-board, from informative lectures to socialising with your fellow passengers, there may still be times when all you want to do is switch off. Just make sure you bring your charger!


Contact our destination specialist to start planning your journey.

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