St Helena, The Secret of the South Atlantic

Welcome to a world of new and different, a new adventure into a new era of tourism for the island.

Saint Helena is a small volcanic tropical island in the South Atlantic Ocean, located half way between Africa and Latin America. It is considered to be one of the most remote islands in the world, and was uninhabited when discovered by the Portuguese in 1502. Napoleon Bonaparte spent his last days here in a lonely exile, but today modern visitors maroon themselves deliberately to enjoy the adventures of this secret paradise.

This sub-tropical island is nicknamed the Galapagos of the South Atlantic as it boasts over 500 endemic species and a coastline frequented by marine life including dolphins and whale sharks.  It is home to the most varied heritage and nature, breathtaking views from the highest peaks, inviting waters and welcoming locals.

It’s hard to think of an isolated speck of land more synonymous with inaccessibility than St Helena. That is, until now. On the 14 October 2017, the inaugural commercial flight from Johannesburg touched down on the isolated volcanic outcrop.  Before the official opening of the airport, the only way to the island for more than 500 years, was a five-night voyage from Cape Town aboard the RMS St Helena, a British postal ship. SA Airlink will now be operating weekly flights from Johannesburg and Cape Town with a short stopover in Windhoek, Namibia; opening up the skies to the intrepid traveller.

The Mantis Group has restored three beautiful old Georgian buildings in Jamestown and turned them into a beautiful luxury hotel with thirty rooms. The hotel is less than a minutes’ walk from the seafront and visitors can be assured of international luxury standards and the warm welcome St Helenians have always extended to visitors. Food which is locally produced and sourced will tantalize your senses.

Saint Helena offers a variety of must-see tours and excursions to suit all. Longwood House in the town of the same name was Napoleons final abode. Eleven of the rooms, each painted imperial green, still contain much of Napoleons original furniture, as well as busts of him and his wives. It is set in grounds filled with flowers and the gardens are well worth some time on their own.

Lots’ Wife’s Ponds is situated on the southeast of the island. It is probably the best swimming spot on the island. They are large natural tide-pools, and although it can be bit a tricky to get there, it is worth it. At Sandy Bay Beach, the landscape becomes totally barren. Situated at the bottom of the one the deep ravines that cuts from the island interior to the coast, it is favourite destination and a good place to begin hikes.

A list of other places to visit includes a former Boer concentration camp, a native jungle, a Castle, Jacob’s ladder and a Bellstone which was a popular curiosity during Saint Helena’s original tourism boom before the Suez Canal opened. At first glance Bellstone appears to be a normal boulder – until struck with a rock, when it bellows out an echo of melodious sounds. One legend suggests the ringer of the Bellstone is granted a wish… what will you wish for?

Be sure to visit Jonathan, the oldest living resident on the island – a Seychelles tortoise who is more than 180 years old. His home is set in the sprawling lawns of the Governors home, Plantation House, a Georgian mansion built in 1791-92.

If you are looking for a unique “unplugged” escape, then a trip to the remote island of Saint Helena is the one for you. Come discover the secret of the South Atlantic!

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