For travelers eager for exclusive experiences there is a nearly unknown destination in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean: St. Helena island. The best way to arrive on the island, located between the coasts of Brazil and Africa is a six-hour flight departing from Johannesburg, South Africa.
It is part of the British Overseas Territory and the population of Saint Helena was 4,534 as of the 2016 census.
It is one of the most remote islands in the world, and was uninhabited when discovered by the Portuguese in 1502
Nature And History
Isolated for many decades, St. Helena’s airport is only two years old. The island’s long isolation has contributed to its natural preservation and exceptional landscapes. In addition to lush flora and tropical fauna, one of its great attractions is visiting where Napoleon Bonaparte spent his last years after the defeat at the Battle of Waterloo. The house where he lived and wrote The Memorial of Saint Helena is preserved and protected by the French State, although the island continues to be one of British Overseas Territories. Napoleon remained buried there for years until the time when his body was transferred to the Pantheon built specially for him in Paris on the banks of the river of Seine.
“The island’s long isolation has contributed to its natural preservation and exceptional landscapes.”
St. Helena Attractions
Those who do not fear heights will enjoy “Jacob’s Ladder” or “Ladder to Heaven,” as the locals know it, a staircase with 699 stone steps that leads to the Ladder Hill viewpoint. But the great attraction of St. Helena is undoubtedly the old house Longwood House: residence of Napoleon from December 1815 to May 1821. Currently, Longwood is a museum that holds precious objects related to Bonaparte.
Despite its small size – 47 square miles — the island contains a national park called Cima de Diano, which features the highest point on the island at 823 meters (2700 feet). Ultimately, you cannot miss the excellently preserved High Knoll Fort, built on a cliff at 584 meters above the sea level (1916 feet).
Where To Stay
One of the most outstanding hotels is the interesting complex of the Farm Lodge Country House. Built in 1670 in the style of buildings of the old East India Company, the hotel is a 20-minute drive from the capital of Jamestown. Its farm continues to produce fresh food and grow its own coffee. For those who prefer the city, the Hotel Consulate is the best option, built in the eighteenth century and declared a historical heritage of the island.
The local cuisine reflects many historical influences and includes aspects of Malay, Chinese, African and British cuisines. Fish is their staple food, and spices and curry generously season all their dishes. In Jamestown, there is a great diversity of restaurants, cafés, pubs and all kinds of gastronomic establishments. On the outskirts of the city, we especially recommend Half Tree Hollow, Longwood, Bottom Woods and Sandy Bay restaurants. ■