St Helena Island

St Helena Island

SA Airlink will be operating the only commercial flight from 14 October 2017. The flight will initially be once a week in an Embraer E90 (98 seater), from Johannesburg, with a stop in Windhoek, to allow Cape Town passengers on the CPT-WDH flight to connect. The flying time is approximately 5 hours, although the return flight is shorter owing to the prevailing winds.

St Helena Island is a tropical island of volcanic origin in the South Atlantic located 2,485 miles East of Rio De Janeiro, 703 miles to the South East of Ascension Island, 1200 miles from the West African coast and 4,901 miles from the UK making it one of the most remote islands in the world.

In 1815 the British Government selected St Helena as the place of detention of Napoleon Bonaparte. He lived on the island until his death in 1821. His body remained on the island for another 20 years before being moved to Paris. The island is only 47 square miles however boasts 400 endemic bird and plant species. Above all the island is very safe and you are assured of a warm welcome by the islanders.

Previously the island has only been accessible by taking a five day voyage on the RMS St Helena from Cape Town. This is all about to change with the opening of the brand new airport in October of 2017.

St. Helena draws nature lovers and avid birders alike. Diana's Peak National Park, home to 60 known native species of plants - 45 of which exist nowhere else in the world - is utterly pristine. In addition, the island's mountains and subtropical climates make for exceptional coffee-growing conditions, and although farms are not abundant, it produces some of the best (and most expensive) coffee in the world.

Longwood House where Napoleon Bonaparte lived and died - St Helena Island
Longwood House where Napoleon Bonaparte died in exile

St Helena Highlights

  • Whale sharks (it is not uncommon to see 20 whale sharks in an outing during the season, which is January, February and March)

  • Dolphin spotting, including Pantropical dolphins, Bottle-nosed Dolphins and Rough-Toothed Dolphins. The Pantropical Dolphins are seen 95% of the year, often in schools of 100-400 dolphins, swimming close to the boat

  • Jamestown - charming buildings and quaint island-life, as well as an excellent Museum that charts 500 years of the island's history

  • Jacob's Ladder, a taxing 699 steps above Jamestown, which affords incredible views over the town

  • The grouping of Plantation House, home to the Governor and Jonathan the Tortoise, the world's oldest animal at 180 years old, St James' Church and the Boer Cemetery, set in wood-shaded avenues and rolling hills

  • Meeting St Helenians, known as Saints, who are expressive, entertaining and have an opinion on all of island life, including each other! A home dinner with a family is a perfect way to get to know them better

  • Napoleon's House, where he died in exile and which is beautifully maintained. Some prior reading of Napoleon is useful to put the importance of the house in perspective.

  • Sandy Bay - far from Sandy, but dramatic volcanic rock scenery