Now just as remote but more accessible
St Helena Government and Andrew Weir Shipping Management have announced the extension of the Royal Mail Ship St Helena's schedule until the end of June 2017 reflecting the continued delay in the opening of St Helena's new airport. Island Holidays is glad to announce two new fully guided and escorted tours – one in November 2016 and the other in March 2017. In addition we are happy to make reservations for independent travel where our clients can, if they so wish, take advantage of our personal knowledge of the island, its facilities and its people.
A British outpost deep in the South Atlantic, the island of St Helena is a very special place in many ways. Roughly half way between Africa and South America, St Helena is famed as the island where Napoleon was tucked out of harm's way for the last five years of his life. It has a fascinating history. For generations it was a bustling port of vital importance to the East India Company's trade routes and its population reflects the international influences from European, to African, to Indian and to Chinese.
Scenically it is spectacular with high cliffs rising from the sea, interspersed with steep valleys and with a lush interior. This is the safest of destinations where a genuinely warm welcome is extended to that rarest of breeds – the tourist (or visitor as the islanders think of us). Mobile phones were introduced in 2015 and a slow internet connection is possible but both services are expensive and therefore not so much a part of the way of life to the exclusion of all else. The atmosphere on St Helena therefore remains utterly conducive to complete rest and relaxation.
Safe and slow it may be, but the island holds many attractions other than its scenery and history. For walkers the Letterbox Walks offer varying degrees of challenge; the island archives are a source of fascination for people with family links in the island's colonial past; the botanist can wonder at the extraordinary work being done to re-establish the island's endemic plants and every birder wants to see the Endangered Wirebird (recently upgraded from being Critically Endangered thanks to the tireless work of conservationists). The seas around the island are home to Bottle-nose Dolphins and a school of up to 400 Pan-Tropical Spotted Dolphins are regularly sighted on boat trips along the north coast. In 2013 this activity also allowed an Island Holidays group to see seven Whale Sharks which came right close up to the boat. Fabulous. And forget not Jonathan, the famous 180-something year old Giant Tortoise who lives in the grounds of Plantation House, the resident of the island's Governor.
Throughout the year (except for the Southern winter) Island Holidays will be offering occasional guided tours based on the very popular trips which we started back in 2006 when we were the only tour operator taking people to St Helena. By choosing to travel with Island Holidays you can be sure of a depth of knowledge and experience. We'll have three different tours and these can be viewed via the links on this page (above).
With the opening of the airport imminent and the withdrawal of the Royal Mail Ship in the same year St Helena is bound to change over the next few years but it could never lose its heritage, its charm and – most importantly – it's wonderful people who make everyone feel at home on their beautiful island.