For a short time each year, large numbers of whale sharks gather in the waters of St Helena Island, ensuring an incredible and intimate experience for the fortunate few who manage to travel this far.
Led by the charismatic marine conservationist and multimedia expert Danny Copeland and supported by local marine conservation experts, this group trip is timed to coincide with the aggregation of whale sharks in this remote region.
Staying at the luxurious Mantis St Helena, your action packed itinerary includes diving, whale shark snorkelling and land tours, providing a unique opportunity to uncover the mysteries of St Helena with experts and like-minded individuals.
Day1: Depart for South Africa
Day2: Arrive Johannesburg, overnight stay
Arrive in Johannesburg and transfer to your hotel for an overnight stay. Enjoy the tranquil surrounds of the Safari Club SA, a relaxing oasis located a convenient distance from the airport.
Day3: Begin your St Helena Adventure in Style!
Fly to St Helena this morning, where you will be met and transferred to the luxurious Mantis St Helena hotel in Jamestown for a seven night stay. You’ll meet tour leader Danny here, and also be introduced to the rest of your group.
Day4: Diving and whale shark encounters
Your dive pack begins this morning. Local dive sites harbour hugely abundant and varied marine life, and are characterised by sea mounts, caverns and numerous historic wrecks.
This afternoon, head out again on the water to search for whale sharks. The appearance of whale sharks around St Helena is a relatively recent phenomenon and has been attracting the attention of scientists the world over.
Day5: More diving and plantation house tour
Make two more dives this morning. In the afternoon, enjoy a private tour of St Helena’s plantation house and estate.
With a little luck, you will also have the opportunity to meet the oldest living animal on planet Earth. Jonathan is one of four tortoises residing here, and is an extraordinary 186 years old, and counting.
Day6: Continue diving and search for whale sharks
After another morning exploring St Helena’s superb and varied dive sites, head back out this afternoon to search again for whale sharks.
Aggregations of up to 20-30 whale sharks are possible, while these waters also play host to numerous species of dolphin.
Day7: Dive and relax
Enjoy a further two dives this morning around the island. As well as abundant marine life on the reefs, these waters are known for pelagic species such as wahoo, tuna and dorado. Chilean devil rays are also commonly seen in these waters and are a highlight for divers.
This afternoon will be left free for you to explore the island and its history at your own pace.
Day8: A final day at sea
Enjoy your final two dives this morning, plus the last opportunity this afternoon to snorkel with St Helena’s majestic whale sharks in blue water.
Day9: Coffee plantation and distillery tour
After a morning at leisure, discover more of St Helena itself this afternoon with a coffee plantation and distillery tour.
Day10: Depart for South Africa, overnight stay in Johannesburg
Transfer to the airport for your return flight to Johannesburg where you will spend a further night due to flight schedules.
Day11: Depart for the UK
After a day at leisure, return to the airport for an overnight flight back to the UK.
Day12: Arrive UK
You should note: This trip includes a donation to work of the Blue Marine Foundation, who work closely with the St Helena National Trust to protect and conserve this special place.
Duration and price including flights from/to UK: 12 daysfrom £4,195 pp
Duration and price excluding international flights: 10 daysfrom £3,385 pp: Including flights & accommodation from Johannesburg
Single supplement: From £650
Group size: 16
Included in the price/package:
Return flights from the UK
2 nights hotel South Africa
7 nights hotel St Helena
Some evening meals
10 boat dives
Tanks and weights
3 whale shark snorkelling excursions
2 land tours
Informal evening presentations
Danny Copeland is a marine conservationist and underwater multimedia specialist. Born and raised in North Wales, his career has taken him diving on media and conservation projects across all seven continents.
A passionate advocate for our oceans, he works alongside world-leading marine scientists, and has spearheaded initiatives that have furthered the conservation of several sharks and rays. Aside from a passion in creating underwater 360VR content, Danny has worked alongside BBC cameramen, assisted photographers on assignments for National Geographic, and filmed for the award-winning Netflix documentary, Chasing Coral.
This small, rugged sub-tropical island in the south Atlantic is blessed with fascinating history, a wealth of wildlife found nowhere else on earth, and fabulous marine life encounters. Diving is offered year round, with whale sharks making an appearance December to March.
Ideal for viewing: whale shark, mobula ray, green turtle, humpback whale, bottlenose dolphin
Excellent for: Whale shark
Located in the heart of Jamestown, Mantis St Helena is a combination of restored historic buildings and a new contemporary building, within walking distance of the seafront and local attractions.