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Saint Helena landscape with ocean behind, Saint Helena

Saint Helena

An island full of unique moments. Take a tour of Napoleon Bonaparte’s final house, sample a potent spirit – white lion rum – at the island’s only distillery and seek out the 40 plant species that can only be found here.

Long accessible only by sea, the forgotten isle of Saint Helena finally opened its first international airport in 2016. A flight of a few hours is now all that separates it from mainland Africa – rough five-day voyages across the wild southern Atlantic are a thing of the past.

This undiscovered, windswept island – rich with volcanic landscapes and whisperings of Napoleon’s ill-fated exile – has become suddenly accessible. Amongst these spectacular landscapes, a fascinating ecosystem flourishes. The colourful soils harbour numerous endemic and endangered species. Of the 60 native plant species found on Saint Helena, 40 are unique to the island.

Island landscape, Saint Helena
Saint Helena

What to expect on your Saint Helena holiday

Remote, ruled from afar and somewhat forgotten, the island has a fascinating history. It is renowned as the final place of exile for a defeated Napoleon, who eventually perished here in 1821. His six-year exile still fascinates modern-day visitors, with his residence, Longwood House, now a museum.

Rugged and mountainous, this small island erupts from the cold waters of the Atlantic. Unspoiled landscapes decorate the volcanic terrain, which offers fantastic walking and intriguing natural history. Away from the hills, the capital, Jamestown, has the atmosphere of an English country village, featuring a mix of colonial and Georgian architecture.

Napoleon Residence, Longwood House, Saint Helena
Napoleon's former house and tomb, Saint Helena

A little more about Saint Helena

As well as its plant life, the island is also renowned for its birdlife, with endemic species filling the skies. Meanwhile, the seas that crash against the sandy beaches and weather-carved cliffs are home to visiting whales and dolphins.

A short, but intriguing history is the backdrop to this natural beauty. Uninhabited until discovered by the Portuguese in 1502, the island made its name as an important stopover for ships on transatlantic voyages. Later, it became better known as a place at the very end of the Earth – ideally suited for exiling one’s enemies. The most famous amongst these was Napoleon Bonaparte, but the island also hosted unfortunate Boer prisoners and a troublesome Zulu king.

Looking down Jacob's Ladder, Jamestown, Saint Helena
Jamestown, Saint Helena

Ideas for your Saint Helena holiday

  • Visit the 19th-century High Knoll Fort, whose fortifications have long defended the island
  • Walk through ancient tree ferns and black cabbage trees in search of the endemic burrow-dwelling wire bird
  • Visit Napoleon’s former home, along with his tomb – now empty, after his remains were repatriated to France
  • Cruise along Saint Helena’s impressive coastline in search of spotted and bottle-nose dolphins
  • Ascend Diana’s Peak, the highest point on the island, for stunning views of the volcanic landscape
  • Sample the potent spirits – including white lion rum and coffee liqueur – brewed by the island’s only distillery

Explore Saint Helena

  • Diana's Peak
  • Longwood House
  • High Knoll Fort

Experiences

Rum Tasting

Sample the potent spirits – including white lion rum and coffee liqueur – brewed by the island’s only distillery.

High Knoll Fort

Visit the 19th-century High Knoll Fort, whose fortifications have long defended the island.

Napoleon’s Tomb

Visit Napoleon’s tomb and former home, now empty, after his remains were repatriated to France.

Forest Walks

Walk through ancient tree ferns and black cabbage trees in search of the endemic burrow-dwelling wire bird.

Diana’s Peak

Ascend the highest point on the island, for stunning views of the volcanic landscape.

Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Illona Cross

Born in a small South African town, I have always followed my passion for nature and discovery. After studying Nature Conservation in Pretoria, I was one of the first women to complete a very tough cadetship in the Natal Parks Board. It was here where I cut my teeth in African wildlife management. My desire to see more led me to work as a guide for AndBeyond, first in South Africa, then in Tanzania as the company expanded. Here, I lived and worked in the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro, guiding and running safari camps.
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Bridget Cohen

Aged five and with my Curious George toy safely tucked under my arm, I set off with my family to travel around Europe in an orange VW minibus. Looking back on the adventures we had along the way, I now know that this was where my love for travel and exploring began.
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