Welcome to St Helena
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; after 14 million years of isolation it boasts 500 endemic species and a coastline frequented by marine life including dolphins and whale sharks. The journey – a 3100km, 5-day-each-way boat expedition from Cape Town aboard iconic RMS Saint Helena – is part of the adventure. A long-awaited airport will open in 2016, but St Helena isn't expecting a revolution. Phone reception will remain a rumour, cars will still be brilliantly behind the times, and life will continue at a similar somnambulant pace to Jonathan, the giant tortoise that started tottering around the island shortly after Napoleon died.