ST HELENA ISLAND
St Helena Island
We are excited to present one of the most unusual and remote travel destinations - St Helena Island. Discover one of the world’s most secretive destinations, spectacular St Helena Island, jewel of the South Atlantic. Until recently, only accessible by sea, we explore the fascinating British, Boer & Napoleonic history of this barely discovered gem.
Located approximately 1 200 miles (1 950 km) west of the South Western Coast of the African continent, St Helena Island offers the traveller a very special experience. For hundreds of years the only way to visit the island was a lengthy sea voyage via Cape Town. Untouched by mass tourism, the island is a wonderful discovery with a lengthy history, incredible marine life, fauna and flora and a welcoming people.
Discovered by the Portuguese in 1502, it became a Dutch then a British possession . It was a strategically important port of call during the British Empire, until the opening of the Suez Canal and the advent of steamships. The island’s remote location meant it was used as a place of exile for key prisoners, including some 6 000 Boers, King Dinuzulu, Bahraini princes and, of course, Napoleon.
Numerous volumes describe the natural history of the island, documenting the endemic and endangered species ranging from the gumwood tree to the wire bird. Millions of years in the making, these fragments from the wreck of an ancient world include tree ferns, black cabbage trees, Jellico, a native dogwood and the golden sail spider. The Diana’s Peak National Park is a testament to the island’s pristine environment; a home to most of St. Helena’s endemic wildlife.
Getting your Bearings
The first step to planning your holiday is to understand the regions and how to get there. From the UK, there are unfortunately no direct air services to St Helena Island. South African Airlink operates a regular service from Johannesburg O R Tambo International Airport to the Island. Our Travel Team are on hand to plan the best route for you.
Where to Go and Stay
Until recently, the only way to reach St Helena Island was by air to Cape Town followed by a sea journey. The opening of the new airport has changed access and the lives of the Islanders forever. Don't expect mass tourism, glitzy hotels and tourist attractions. What you can expect is an undiscovered gem, friendly welcoming people and a fascinating history.
Discover the history of the South African Boers who were exiled here by the British, the fascinating history of Napoleon, the French Emperor who died here in exile, meet Jonathan, the world's oldest living tortoise, discover the fantastic diving and fishing that the unspoilt ocean has to offer or revel in the stunning bio-diversity of this remote and unspoilt location with great walks and hikes.
Mantis St Helena
There are few undiscovered destinations left in the world, and until recently, the British Territory of St Helena was one of them. The opening of St Helena’s airport and the advent of commercial flights has reduced journey times from days to mere hours, making it easier for you, the discerning traveller, to experience this extraordinary island.
Mantis St Helena is located in Jamestown, the island’s capital. The 30-bedroom boutique hotel is set in the original East India Company’s officers’ barracks built in 1774 and boasts a large restaurant, cocktail bar, guest lounge and two spacious outdoor terraces. Luxurious Heritage Suites and newly built Contemporary Rooms have set a new accommodation standard on the island.
St Helena’s scenery is spectacular. From the clear Atlantic waters past sheer cliffs and breath-taking rock formations, through arid red desert dotted with cacti, rolling green fields and flax-covered hillsides to a pinnacle of prehistoric cloud forest.
Tour Ideas to get you thinking!
Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk. Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk. For further information, please visit our Travel Advice page. The advice can change so check regularly for updates.
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