1,200 miles from Africa and 1,800 miles from South America lays a fascinating remote volcanic island named St Helena. Almost entirely cut-off from the outside world, the island has often sparked interest by historian enthusiasts drawn to the island’s rich history, allowing them a glimpse into its role in fighting the slave trade, acting as a Boer prisoner of war site and the notorious home and prison of Napoleon, who was exiled to the island.
In more recent years, the island has become a sought-after destination for hikers, divers and nature lovers wanting a piece of the unique little 47 square mile island.
The subtropical island which until as recently as 2017 was only accessible by ship. It is a haven for walkers with its 21 post box walks designed by the St Helena Nature Conservation Group along the coastline and interior, experiencing 45 endemic plant species in contrasting subtropical volcanic terrain, many of which are endangered.
Visitors to the British Oversees Territory can expect to enjoy the hospitality of the Saints (local Saint Helenians) and spot humpback whales as they arrive between July and December. Those who visit during August might glimpse humpback whales with their calves as they migrate through the island’s waters every year. St Helena is undoubtedly one of the world’s finest destinations to discover the wonders of the sea, with the South Atlantic Ocean around its coastline visitors can marvel at the multitude of 750 different marine species which have been spotted around the island so far, with at least 50 of those considered endemic.
For any divers visiting the island, they can be kept busy swimming with whale sharks and exploring the eight shipwrecks around St Helena. Many of the dive sites are scattered with articles of marine archaeological artefacts such as cannons and anchors.
Timed correctly, visitors can enjoy one of St Helena’s infamous festivals, the festival of running (November 3rd-9th) one of the most remote and challenging in the world, it comprises of a Trial Run, Marathons, Fun Runs, a Jacob’s Ladder climb (an iconic landmark with 669 steps) and a Triathlon. December see’s Jamestown come to life as crowds celebrate Christmas with their festival of lights, a colourful street parade with music and dancing.
Visitors can find a sense of isolation and calm which is virtually impossible to locate in this busy and super-charged paced world we live in, while St Helena’s growing reputation as an eco-tourism destination is perfect for those who want to make a more sustainable destination choice. In 2017, St Helena created a 10 year plan outlining their intentions to remain green which included investing in renewable energy with a view to becoming 100% self-sufficient, have a long term water strategy for the Island, supported by adequate infrastructure, in order to reduce the impact of drought and climate change.
Those who want to embark on the remote and rugged island will find it more accessible as St Helena introduced additional flights to and from St Helena for summer 2019/2020.
Official St Helena Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/visit.sthelena and follow on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/sthelenatourism