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 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 nunatakVesleskarvet 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 manned uninterruptedly since then.