Special-interest holidays worldwide
Island Holidays
Established 1987

St Helena, Whale Sharks, Napoleon and More

A fully guided 11-night holiday including 2 nights in Johannesburg, flying from London Heathrow

View of Jamestown from the top of Jacob's Ladder

London • Johannesburg • St Helena • Johannesburg • London

St Helena lies in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean and is a British Overseas Territory which has previously been accessible only by ship. Now that the long-awaited airport has opened it will be possible for those people who simply couldn't afford the 18 days it took to visit the island to do so and see much of what there is to offer within a reasonable time scale.

The first of our three guided tours for 2019 will run in January to coincide with the presence of the magnificent whale sharks. Obviously this can't be guaranteed – nature can be fickle – but that is our hope and is worked into our plans for the week on the island.

The holiday begins in South Africa when, upon arrival in Johannesburg we will be met by our local guide and taken to the excellent Michelangelo Hotel which is situated on Nelson Mandela Square. We'll take in a tour of Pretoria and then, the next day, fly to St Helena where we'll enjoy a week-long programme taking in all the highlights including two mornings looking for, and hopefully swimming with, the whale sharks which visit the area every year at this time.

Accommodation is in the Mantis Hotel and we'll spend much of the week in the company of local guides exploring the island. The cost of the holiday is fully inclusive from London – if you are travelling from South Africa please ask us for a separate quote.

A Pan-tropical Spotted Dolphin jumping out of the water off the coast of St Helena

Key facts

  • St Helena island exploration & whale sharks
  • Fully guided tour
  • 2019 departure: 24 January
  • Nights: 11 (includes 2 nights in Johannesburg)
  • Fully inclusive cost: £6,625
  • Single room supplement: £700
  • Deposit: £850 pp
  • Meal Basis: Full Board
  • Activity level: Easy (with moderate walks available)
  • Tour leader: Libby Weir-Breen with local guides
  • Maximum Group Size: 12
  • Travel: British Airways & SA Airlink
  • Departs: London Heathrow
  • Included in cost: International airfares and taxes, full board accommodation except for three lunches, tours and activities as described in the itinerary and local guides in South Africa and St Helena.
  • Not included in cost: Entry permit to St Helena, travel insurance, drinks and items of a personal nature.
  • St Helena January 2019
    detailed itinerary

Your tour guide

Libby Weir-BreenLibby Weir-Breen set up Island Holidays in 1987 with Shetland naturalist, the late Bobby Tulloch MBE. Her own experience in the travel industry goes back to 1977 when she left her job on The Scotsman newspaper to become a resort representative in St Anton in the Austrian Tyrol.

In 1987 she set up Island Holidays with the late Bobby Tulloch, Shetland's renowned naturalist. Since then she has travelled widely both researching and leading tours. A passionate conservationist and campaigner for trade justice, Libby has a love for the natural world and feels herself privileged to be able to express this through her work and to share it with so many like-minded people.

Your itinerary

Day 1: Your British Airways flight leaves London Heathrow Terminal 5 at 1810 hours (direct to Johannesburg).

Day 2: Upon arrival in Johannesburg at 0715 hours you will be met by a representative of Signature Tours who will take you to the waiting vehicle for your transfer to the Michelangelo Hotel in the Sandton district of Johannesburg. The rest of the day will be taken up with a private tour to the Sterkfontein Caves and the city of Pretoria. The caves, a World Heritage Site, are said to be the cradle of mankind and to have a 3-million year history. After lunch you'll visit the Union Building, the seat of Government, and the Voortrekker Monument before returning to Johannesburg for dinner and overnight.

Day 3: Your flight to St Helena departs Johannesburg at 0900 hours, arriving in St Helena at 1315 hours. Upon arrival we'll transfer to Jamestown and the St Helena Mantis Hotel which will be our base for the week. In the afternoon, once we've had a chance to freshen up, we'll meet up with our local guide who will run through the programme for the week, after which we'll have a wander around Jamestown to give you an idea of its layout. Dinner tonight will be in our hotel.

Days 4 – 9: Our programme for the week will take in all aspects of the island — it's fantastic scenery, Napoleon (of course), history and natural history, and we really hope the whale sharks have kept to their predicted schedule of migration. We'll meet with local people and talk about all things including of life on the island of St Helena. We'll visit Plantation House, home of the island's Governor, where we'll meet the most famous resident of St Helena, Jonathan the giant tortoise. There will be walks available for those who wish, with alternative activities for the less mobile. And, of course, there'll be boat trips. We'll spend one morning looking for Whale Sharks and another to enjoy the resident Pan-tropical Spotted Dolphins. We'll be looking for the endemic Wirebird (a lovely little plover) and visit the Millennium Forest. So much to see and do but we hope that, after a week, you'll have a real impression of St Helena and her people.

Day 10: There'll be a free morning in Jamestown to visit the museum, do a little retail therapy or simply sit and watch the world go by before an early lunch. We then head back to the airport for our flight back to Johannesburg which arrives at 2030 hours. As on arrival, we'll be staying at the Michaelangelo Hotel.

Day 11 Our flight doesn't leave Johannesburg until 2110 hours so we will be arranging a full day tour for you prior to taking you to the airport for your homeward flight.

Day 12: Your British Airways flight arrives in London at 1015 hours giving plenty of time for homeward journeys.

If you would like to extend your stay in South Africa we have some excellent suggestions or can accommodate your own arrangements.

Please note that the itinerary can be changed without notice at the sole discretion of Island Holidays or your tour leader.