A volcanic island in the South Atlantic Ocean, St Helena is one of the most remote islands in the world and the second-oldest British Overseas Territory after Bermuda. Uninhabited until the Portuguese landed there in 1502, it was an important stop over for centuries for ships sailing from South Africa and Asia to Europe, while its most famous resident was Napoleon Bonaparte who was exiled there by the British in 1815.
Today, this solitary speck of land attracts intrepid travellers to experience its historical connections, natural beauty, welcoming locals, fantastic walking trails and memorable wildlife encounters. After 14 million years of isolation, St Helena, often nicknamed the Galapagos of the South Atlantic, is home to 500 endemic species and an ocean frequented by dolphins (three species), whale sharks, humpback whales and other marine life.
St Helena is a hotspot for snorkelling and scuba diving with its clear, warm waters, fascinating marine life and wrecks. There are dive sites within easy reach of the wharf at Jamestown, ranging from rocky reefs with caves to cobbles and sand, all teeming with marine life.
Packed full of endemic flora and fauna, there are at least 45 species of plants unknown anywhere else in the world and a high proportion of endemic birds - the highland areas contain most of the 400 endemic bird species, which includes the national bird, the Saint Helena plover or wirebird, due to its wire-like legs. Diana’s Peak National Park is home to much of the island's flora and fauna, testament to its pristine natural environment, and the highest point on the island at 823 m.
The island's varied landscapes are remarkable; soaring crags, alpine meadows, steep-sided ravines, wooded valleys, green mountains, coffee plantations and beautiful waterfalls. Walk up the 699 steps of Jacob's Ladder for panoramic ocean views; choose one of the 20 'Post Box' walks through stunning scenery; visit Plantation House, a Georgian mansion built in 1791, to meet the island's oldest inhabitant - Jonathan, a Seychelles tortoise more than 180 years old!