Kerguelen Islands

Today I’d like to suggest a must-visit destination.  Imagine a French island paradise, undiscovered by the masses.  I’m not talking about any place in the French Rivera, but rather the Kerguelen Islands.  While most people have never heard of the place, after this blog post, it will soon be on the radar and included on every ‘up and coming’ travel destination list.


Image Credit: Faivre Thierry

A small archipelago located in the southern Indian Ocean, the Kerguelen Islands are the best kept-secret in exotic travel circles.   Known as the “Desolation Islands,” the Kerguelen Islands are a bit off the beaten path.  In fact, the closest civilization is over 2,000 miles away.  And, getting there is a bit tricky.  There is no airstrip on the islands, and the only way to get to there is by boat.   But that is part of their allure.  To get there you’ll have to catch a ride on a fishing boat leaving from Reunion, a small island located off the coast of Madagascar.  After departing Reunion it is a short six-day boat trip to the Kerguelen Islands.  It should be noted that the surrounding seas around the Kerguelen Islands are generally rough, so six days on the open Indian Ocean is not for the faint of heart.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Journey-to-the-Heart-of-the-Kerguelen-Islands

But once you get there, the windswept islands will win you over.  France claims the islands as a territory and there is certain je ne sais quoi about the place.  While the climate is described as raw and chilly, it is often above freezing.  The islands have no native population, but there is a year-round population of French scientists, researchers and other nerds who like to party.  While the islands are primarily a scientific center, there is also a satellite, and a French missile defense system and it is rumored that a Hard Rock Café or Sandals may spring up soon.  Accommodations are sparse so book early (or consider packing a tent).

waterfall by Faivre Thierry

Image Credit: Faivre Thierry


If I come home to find my wife searching for ‘seasick prevention for kids’ or ‘recommended immunizations for Kerguelen Islands,’ I will know that she didn’t check the calendar.



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