South African holidaymakers looking to add more island destinations to their travel bucket list, are in for a treat in 2024.
This is as St Helena Tourism announced that direct flights between Cape Town and the remote St Helena Island, will resume from December 2024 until March 2025.
This move was also in a bid to supplement the existing weekly flights between St Helena and Johannesburg.
The island’s tourism authority explained that the flights, operated by Airlink, will run on Saturdays from Cape Town and on Tuesdays from Johannesburg.
“The addition of Cape Town flights provides new options for South African travellers looking to visit St Helena, one of the most remote islands in the world,” St Helena Tourism said.
They added that up until 2017, when St Helena’s first and only airport opened to the public, Cape Town served as the gateway for St Helena, with regular ship services over the centuries.
This included a five-day voyage to reach the island.
“Today, the flight takes just a few hours from South Africa and the additional flight from Cape Town offers different options for lengths of stay for South African holidaymakers to the island,” St Helena Tourism said.
Commenting on the resumption of the route, Airlink CEO Rodger Foster added that in the six years since Airlink was awarded the contract to operate air services between St Helena and the African mainland, they have seen a steady post-Covid recovery and rise in demand for travel to and from the island.
“Starting initially as a weekly service, we’ve since introduced a seasonal second-weekly service to cover the summer holiday period between Johannesburg and St Helena.”
“However, we recognise that many St Helena residents have close ties with Cape Town, which, for centuries, was a primary gateway to the island. Cape Town is a launch pad for tourism beyond South Africa,” said Foster.
He highlighted that by linking Cape Town directly with St Helena to cover the summer season at the end of 2024, Airlink will provide a convenient and reliable service to what is a unique, largely unspoiled, and attractive destination which is also of historical significance.
St Helena is isolated in the middle of the South Atlantic and offers travellers a step back in time. It is also home to around 4 500 residents and is steeped in history as the place of Napoleon’s exile and death.
Beyond its historical significance, St Helena’s rugged volcanic landscape provides diverse opportunities for hiking, and strong conservation efforts nurture a vibrant marine landscape, which are perfect for diving and snorkelling.
Due to centuries of seclusion, St Helena maintains a tight-knit community and traditions seemingly untouched by the modern world.