The faintest flourish of green on the big blue canvas of the Atlantic Ocean, St Helena is one of our planet’s truly lonely lands. But for intrepid travellers that’s part of its eccentric charm. Napoleon Bonaparte spent his last days here in grumpy exile, but modern visitors maroon themselves deliberately, to enjoy wild walking trails, welcoming locals and wonderful wildlife encounters. It’s not for nothing that St Helena is nicknamed the Galápagos of the South Atlantic. Being so remote means that its not the cheapest destination but this package aims to make St Helena an affordable prospect for a week-long getaway.
Arrive St Helena and settle into accommodation.
This afternoon you can enjoy a historical stroll around the older part of Jamestown as an introduction to St Helena and its people. Highlights include many interesting Georgian buildings including St James Church which is the oldest Anglican Church in the Southern Hemisphere and other points of interest, discussions could also include the local way of life.
Today we suggest you explore the island by enjoying some of the scenic hikes the island is famous for…
Flagstaff is a great walk to get used to the Island with a clear track to follow. Starting from a small green at Deadwood, it is a straightforward stroll across Deadwood Plain, past wind turbines, and up through scrub and a small forest. What seems a gentle slope reveals sheer sea cliffs when you reach the summit. The walk allows you to often see the rare endemic Wirebird, and it passes the site of one of the Boer prisoner camps. This is a perfect walk for families, or for an afternoon, with great views across the Island. Allow 1,5 hours.
Diana’s Peak is the highest point on the Island (818m), and on a clear day offers stunning views right across the Island. The walking is not difficult, but it can be slippery when wet. The walk starts from a parking lay-by on Stitch’s Ridge on the road towards Sandy Bay that leads off the ‘W’ road. Walk back a short distance and the start of the walk, up Cabbage Tree Road grass track, is clearly marked. Following this track brings you on to a ridge, where you bear right towards the Peaks (left here takes you to Halley’s Observatory). On reaching a cannon, bear left then right, following the stepped path onto the Peaks themselves. The first peak reached is Mount Actaeon, and has a large pine on the summit. Continuing on, the path drops slightly and then climbs back up to reach Diana’s Peak itself. This is part of the cloud forest of the Island and has many endemic plants and insects, including massive tree ferns. From Diana’s Peak the walk continues to the third peak along the ridge which is Cuckold’s Point. Carry on from Cuckold’s and down a path through the tree ferns. At the bottom turn left along a broad track and follow this below the peaks, rejoining the outward path below Mount Actaeon. Then retrace your steps back along Cabbage Tree Road. Allow 2-3 hours.
Suggested excursion (not included)
9.30 am Marine & coastal fortifications boat tour; dolphin sightings are highly likely.
The viewing of St Helena’s Wild Life, which includes a Pod of 500-600 Pan tropical Dolphin’s, The Island’s sea birds, and possibly a Hump Back Whale or Whale Shark, (depending on the time of year as they are seasonal visitors). The fortifications that provided signal and outpost which were significant in the Island’s protection. Also Lemon Valley which was the designated Slave medical area and the first Slave burial site. All viewings are from the boat – No landings.
9.00 am Walk to Fairyland and Peak Dale (green walk with sea views) – easy/moderate Hike.
St Paul’s Built Heritage (10:30 AM start) 3 hours. St Paul’s is one of eight districts and have a number of interesting visitor attractions. St Paul’s Cathedral: Built in the 1800’s and is the only cathedral on St Helena.
1.30 pm Historical St Paul’s
Princes Lodge (to view a large collection of old St Helena prints) It’s an early Georgian property, set in beautiful grounds which houses the world’s largest collection of St Helena prints.
Plantation House grounds (to see Jonathan and the other giant tortoises) The Governor’s residence and the grounds is to home to several giant tortoise, among them is Jonathan the tortoise said to be the oldest of his kind in the world.
Boer Cemetery: Where the graves of the Boers died whilst imprisoned between 1900 – 1902.
High Knoll Fort followed by picnic tea and cake in the fort. (Built as a redoubt early 1800, offers beautiful views of the island.)
Flagg Staff walk (easy/moderate Hike)
Napoleon & Longwood!
Briars Pavilion: Take a look at the first house in which Napoleon Bonaparte lived.
Longwood House: Napoleon’s place of death
Millennium Forest: A recently built forest of the Island’s endemics, planted by the Islands community and its visitors. (Visitors can sponsor and plant a new tree to enhance the forest)
Deadwood Plain: site of the Boer Camp 1900 – 1902 and possible sightings of the endemic wire bird
Napoleon’s Tomb: The original burial site of Napoleon Bonaparte.
AM: Visit a local coffee plantation – sainthelenaisland.info/coffee.htm
1.30 pm Walk to Upper Jamestown & New Bridge: view different building in the styles of Churches, school, residences, hospital & the old water catchment.
This is your last morning on the island and after breakfast you will have time for one last short hike before heading to the airport for your flight in the early Afternoon with SA Airlink.