Africa Wildlife & Cultural Adventures

Visit St Helena Island - one of the most remote islands in the world

A unique and fascinating week-long privately guided itinerary that uncovers the rich and varied history, culture and natural beauty of St Helena Island

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 has changed with the opening of the brand new airport in October 2017. We are thrilled to be offering this journey to the island before the inevitable change takes place. One can expect unspoiled landscapes and untouched nature. Beneath the shadow of a soaring, ruined cathedral of volcanic rock is a rugged paradise, one of sand dunes and lush green hills and a coastline where dolphins and whales are often spotted.

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.

7 night Discover St Helena Itinerary

Saturday

On arrival you will be met by your guide and transferred to your hotel, passing through some of the small villages en route. The volcanic nature of the island is immediately apparent in the rugged coastline scenery.

After check in, explore Jamestown on a town walk with Basil George, a descendant of one of the Boer prisoners of war who decided to remain on the island after the declaration of peace. Basil is a hugely experienced guide and a local poet with a wicked twinkle in his eye who will keep you entertained with his vast knowledge of the island and its inhabitants.

Visit the Castle with its tropical garden, St James Church (the oldest Anglican Church in the Southern Hemisphere), the famous Jacob's ladder which ascends 699 steps above the town and the Court House.

Return to your hotel for evening at leisure.

Sunday

After breakfast meet with Aaron at 9.30 for an orientation of the island by 4x4. Stop at Deadwood Plain which was the camp site of Boer prisoners of war during the Anglo Boer War of 1900-1902 before a short walk to Flagg Staff which gives you wonderful panoramic views across the island.

Visit Fisher's Valley where Napoleon rode his horse during his exile on the island and Levelwood, home to the Bell Stone – a rock which when struck rings like a bell. Wind your way to the south west point of the island for incredible views over the Atlantic Ocean, which stretches unbroken for 2,700 kilometres in every direction. Drink in hand as the sun sets, it's the perfect end to the day.

Monday

This morning, after breakfast, a highlight of the island awaits as you join your skipper for a boat cruise off the island. Home to huge schools of Pan-Tropical dolphins, Bottle-Nose dolphins and Rough-Toothed dolphins, as well as turtles, Devil Rays and Whale Sharks (in season January – March), the deep blue waters are teeming with life.

The tour gives you a scenic view of St Helena's coastline and allows you to view a few of the old fortifications and outposts that still stand.

Return to port with the afternoon at leisure, although you may like to arrange with your skipper to snorkel this afternoon as a separate excursion. This can be arranged and settled directly with him: there are a number of good, safe snorkelling spots near the harbour.

Tuesday

Set off this morning with your guide for the south of the island, stopping at the St Helena Coffee Plantation en route. A highlight of the day is Sandy Bay, which isn't sandy, but is dramatic in its beauty and jagged cliffs, and where you'll enjoy a picnic lunch on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean.

As you head back to Jamestown, a private tour of the Governor's residence, Plantation House awaits. Built in 1792, it has always been home to the island's governors, although the current governor, Lisa Phillips, is the first female.

Perhaps an even more famous inhabitant though is Jonathan the tortoise, a 184 year old giant tortoise who lives on the grounds and is the world's oldest living animal. Visit St Paul's Cathedral and Knoll Fort on your return to the hotel.

Wednesday

Today is at leisure to explore at your own pace. Highly recommended is the very well curated Museum of St Helena which not only traces the varied history of the island, but also has artefacts from the number of wrecks that dot the coastline over the last 500 years.

You may also like to book another optional boat cruise, or swim in the Atlantic – or in the public Olympic-sized swimming pool that sits near the harbor and is a great place to meet local islanders.

This evening, dinner has been arranged with a local family to experience some local cuisine and learn about local island life – which often involves not so confidential stories about neighbours and family members!

Thursday

This morning set off for Diana's Peak, the island's only National Park. Experience the micro and macro life in a cloud forest, from the many endemic plants and invertebrate species, to the breath-taking views of the island. It is a four hour tour to the high central ridge. You will be driven to Cabbage Tree Road to start your walk up the path to the highest point on the island, Diana's peak at 823 m (Walkers need to have a reasonable level of fitness as there is an ascent of 175m) Have your picnic lunch on the peaks.

In the afternoon, stop at Farm Lodge for tea. Built in approximately 1670 as an East India Company planters house, Farm lodge is set in its own grounds of 10 acres with lawns and lush tropical gardens and entertaining hosts.

Friday

Napolean Bonaparte was exiled to St Helena in 1815 and died on the island 6 years later. This morning we visit Longwood House, owned by the French government, where he lived and died. It is one of the best Napoleonic museums in the world, with original furniture and over 900 artefacts.

Have your picnic lunch on Longwood Green and after lunch take a stroll to see Napoleon's tomb and the beautiful heart shaped waterfall, before stopping at the St Helena Distillery on your return.

Saturday

After breakfast you will have time for a last look around Jamestown before your transfer back to the airport and onward flight to South Africa.

Here's an example of how you could fit St Helena into a trip to South Africa.

Day 1 – Arrive into Johannesburg and transfer by road to Athol Place; overnight

Day 2 – Spend the morning exploring downtown Johannesburg on foot – visiting Constitution Hill, a previous fort and notorious prison complex that now houses South Africa’s Constitutional Court and viewing a series of Urban Art installations with your qualified walking guide. Enjoy lunch (own account) in the vibey new Maboneng Precinct before heading off to Soweto this afternoon for a drive through this complex township where shacks sit alongside mansions and highlights include visiting Nelson Mandela’s former home, Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s house and the Hector Pietersen Memorial site. Overnight Athol Place

Day 3 – Transfer to OR Tambo International to board your morning flight to St Helena (via Windhoek)

7 night Discover St Helena Itinerary (above)  

Day 10 – Fly from St Helena back to Cape Town via Windhoek, arriving late that evening (around 23:10pm); transfer through to your overnight accommodation in the tranquil Gardens area, which is a short walk to vibey Kloof Street; overnight Kensington Place

Day 11 – Join your expert guide for a day getting to grips with the edgy, artsy, culinary and creative side of Cape Town. You’ll head up Table Mountain, hit the trendy East City Precinct – a treasure trove of art studios, boutiques, atmospheric pubs, craft beers and concept stores. You’ll touch on the city’s lesser known historical facts, meet some captivating characters and folks behind the uplifting urban art and township craft projects, explore Woodstock – Cape Town’s poster child for urban regeneration and end the day with craft beer or gin tasting at a local hangout.

Overnight Kensington Place  

Day 12 – Climb into your vintage WW11 side car for your short but exhilarating ride along the Atlantic Seaboard past the glitzy suburbs and stunning beaches to Hout Bay. Ocean conditions permitting you’ll enter the water here for an unforgettable experience snorkeling with seals. Onwards through oak-lined village of Noordhoek to the Cape Peninsula to explore some of the less visited hiking trails and shipwreck beaches before heading to the Naval base at Simonstown to search for a colony of rogue penguins. Explore the quirky town of Kalk Bay browsing through the bohemian shops before soaking up the surf vibe at Muizenberg as you sip your sundowner.

Overnight Kensington Place  

Day 13 – Enjoy your morning at leisure before heading to the airport for your flight home.

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