SAINT HELENA: 15.9583° S, 5.7020° W
One of the most remote islands on Earth is the serene subtropic of Saint Helena.
A small, secluded speck in the South Atlantic spanning just 122 square kilometres, Saint Helena is a haven of natural beauty unspoiled by its surroundings, or lack thereof, as it is isolated 1,000 miles from its nearest neighbours along the African coast.
Unsurprisingly, the island therefore only has a modest population of roughly 4,400 people, renowned for their friendliness, charm, and close-knit sense of community. Saint Helena’s most famous resident, however, is Jonathan the Tortoise, who at 190 years old is the world’s longest-living land animal and the oldest tortoise to have ever lived.
The wirebird, meanwhile, is Saint Helena’s only surviving endemic bird, a source of national pride within its incredible inventory of unique wildlife, which inhabits the island’s multifarious landscapes and crystalline waters.
Behold this breathtaking scenery and journey through over half a millennium of Saint Helenian history, that dates back to its discovery by the Portuguese in 1502.
The heritage of Saint Helena is that of ancient fortifications and shipwrecks, the latter of which are dotted around the coast and present popular dive and snorkelling sites. Entwined in these wrecks are tales of treasure, tragedy and loss, a fascinating window into a past that over centuries has paved the way for the myriad habitats and aquatic species that have since emerged.
Dive site habitats range from rocky reefs with caves to cobbles and sand, all teeming with marine life and within easy reach of the wharf in Jamestown, Saint Helena’s quintessential capital city built on igneous rock in a small enclave, sandwiched between the steep cliffs that form James Valley.
Several buildings are listed in Jamestown because of their historical importance, while Main Street has been described as one of the finest examples of Georgian urban architecture anywhere in the world.
An off-the-beaten-track bucket list destination that is quite literally a world apart, there is so much to explore on Saint Helena.