ST HELENA ISLAND
ST HELENA ISLAND
British Overseas Territory
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 There & Need to Know
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 is currently the only airline flying a scheduled service to St Helena Island operating a weekly service to St Helena on a Saturday from Johannesburg. A season service operates from Cape Town in the Southern Hemisphere summer.
When flying to St Helena from Europe, the early morning departure to St Helena from Johannesburg unfortunately requires an overnight stay and our travel team will be happy to assist with suitable hotel accommodations prior to your departure. Another option is to charter a flight to St Helena, ideal for a small family or tour group and our sister Company, Flitestar Private Air, has suitable aircraft based in Johannesburg. The advantage of chartering is that you will be able to time the flights to St Helena to connect with your international inbound services. We are also able to charter flights directly from Europe to St Helena For more information, please Contact our Travel Team.
Currently the duration of visits to St Helena island is 7 or 14 days.
Upon arrival, short-term visitors to St Helena (less than six months) are required to pay an entry fee of £20 at St Helena Immigration control. Children 12 years and under are exempt from this fee.
This is payable in cash only and the following currencies will be accepted:
British or Saint Helenian Pounds
South African Rands
There are no credit card facilities at immigration control.
Before leaving home you should arrange the following to cover your journey: Travel, personal accident and medical insurance (for at least £175,000) as well as, baggage insurance. You may be asked to produce proof of medical insurance by the immigration officer if you intend to stay longer than 48 hours. Please remember to have it with your passport.
The St Helena Pound (SHP) is the local currency. However, the Great British Pound (GBP), which has parity with SHP, is also widely accepted on Island.Most business outlets accept cash payments only. There is NO ATM service on St Helena. Visitors should take the opportunity to withdraw or exchange currency upon arrival to the Island at the Bank of St Helena Currency Exchange Kiosk, located on the ground floor of the St Helena Airport Terminal. You can draw cash out against your debit or credit card at any Bank of St Helena branch or kiosk. Please note that American Express and Diners Club Cards are generally not accepted anywhere on the island.
St Helena is a unique destination – it is located in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean, and until recently the only means of transport to the island was a five day ship voyage. St Helena is considered a ‘bucket list’ destination for tourists with an exceptional history and geographical features, striking vistas, distinctive destinations and a warm ‘Saints’ culture.
The uniqueness of St Helena also poses a number of challenges in operating a scheduled air schedule between Johannesburg and the island. Being in the middle of the ocean the island is prone to inclement weather conditions from strong winds, rain, low cloud and fog. With passenger safety always at the forefront, Airlink applies strict compliance to all the regulations governing the operation of an extended scheduled air service to an isolated location.
These regulations, including but not limited to “Extended Diversion Twin Operations” and “Isolated Aerodromes” specify certain minimum weather requirements which have to be met before the flight can depart. From time to time compliance to these regulations will result in a flight to St Helena being delayed.
Delays create an inconvenience especially for passengers, but also for Airlink, the airport and all support services. The St Helena Airport and Airlink continue to research, identify, examine and evaluate weather, airport and aircraft technologies that could be deployed to minimize delays.
Planning Your Trip
We are able to plan a fascinating insight itinerary to St Helena Island for you. This can either be "Explore-on-your-own" utlizing local car rental or a tailor-made accompanied itinerary utilizing the services and vehicles of our local representatives. We are also able to plan Group Travel for special-interest groups.
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.
The Consulate Hotel
A mid 18th Century building on the Main Street of Jamestown with its old colonial wrought iron balconies, the Consulate Hotel provides comfortable and relaxing accommodation in the centre of Jamestown. Ideally situated a 5 minute walk from the seaside and in close proximity to Jacobs Ladder, the Museum, Castle, Archives, shops, restaurants and pubs, the Tourist Office, Arts & Crafts Centre, Dive Centre and the Yacht Club, we provide you with a “Home from Home” from which to explore the unique island of St Helena.
Facilities include a public bar, coffee shop and snack bar, restaurant, 2 residents lounges, library, laundry, TV, Wi-Fi, Pay Phone, Smokers and Terrace Gardens, and a large covered courtyard with a fire place.
Tour Ideas to get you thinking!
Fully Escorted Tours from the UK
offer a number of Fully Escorted Tours from the United Kingdom to St Helena. These are extremely popular and sell out very quickly due to the limited number of participants. If you would like to be placed on the wait-list or express an interested in our next, "Secrets of the South Atlantic" departure, please Contact Us.
Tailor-Made Holidays to St Helena
We are able to tailor-make experiences for travellers to St Helena from around the World. With offices in New York and the UK, we are ideally positioned to plan your travel to St Helena Island.
In conjunction with the Mantis St Helena Hotel, we are pleased to provide you with the following suggested itineraries: Please click on the link to view a PDF of our suggested itinerary.
St Helena History & Heritage - Click Here
St Helena Diving - Click Here
St Helena General - Click Here
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