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SANAE is the South African National Antarctic Expedition. The name refers both to the overwintering bases (numbered in Roman numerals, e.g. SANAE IV), and the team spending the winter (numbered in Arabic numerals, e.g. SANAE 47). The current base, SANAE IV, is located at Vesleskarvet in Queen Maud Land, Antarctica. Summer teams comprise administrative and maintenance personnel, helicopter crew and scientists from various countries and can be up to 100 people. Overwintering teams consist of scientists and support personnel from South Africa, typically totalling 10 members in recent years.

The research programme at the SANAE IV base is carried out under the auspices of the South African National Antarctic Programme (SANAP).



The first expedition, SANAE 1, overwintered at Norway Station, taken over by South Africa from Norway after the end of the IGY. Later teams overwintered at SANAE I, SANAE II and SANAE III, built on the Fimbul Ice Shelf near the Blåskimen Island. Built on the moving ice shelf, these stations inevitably got buried, and eventually broke off as part of icebergs drifting away. Successive stations were always repositioned at the same geographical position of S 70º18 W 2º22. SANAE IV was built on the nunatak Vesleskarvet in the hope of having a base with a longer lifetime. The first team to overwinter at SANAE IV was SANAE 36 in 1997. The base has been staffed uninterruptedly since then.

Base Opened Location Notes
SANAE I 1962 70°18′S 2°22′W / 70.300°S 2.367°W / -70.300; -2.367 (SANAE I)
Borga Field Base 1969 350 kilometres (220 mi) south of SANAE I
SANAE II 1971 70°18′S 2°22′W / 70.300°S 2.367°W / -70.300; -2.367 (SANAE II)
SANAE III 1979 70°18′S 2°22′W / 70.300°S 2.367°W / -70.300; -2.367 (SANAE III) Buried under snow[1]
Sarie Marais Field Base 1979 200 kilometres (120 mi) south of SANAE III
SANAE IV 1997 72°40′22″S 2°50′26″W / 72.67278°S 2.84056°W / -72.67278; -2.84056 (SANAE IV)

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  1. ^ Cooper, John (June 2006). "ANTARCTICA AND ISLANDS - Background Research Paper produced for the South Africa Environment Outlook report on behalf of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism" (PDF). p. 6. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 December 2015. Retrieved 5 October 2010.

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