Every year, the fascinating, remote volcanic island of St Helena, located in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean becomes a hub of excitement. Locals and Blue Planet-inspired travellers prepare for one of the world’s most extraordinary wildlife experiences, the annual arrival of whale sharks, the world’s largest fish species.

These magnificent creatures are drawn to the island during the summer months, particularly in January and February, to feed on plankton and small fish. Despite reaching lengths of up to 40 feet (12m) or more, the sharks are submissive creatures and the pristine waters that surround the small island of St Helena is one of the best places in the world to offer the unique experience to swim alongside and observe their behaviour.

Experts and travellers alike are drawn to the island by this unique opportunity and St Helena takes its responsibility towards these creatures very seriously. Whale shark interaction is strictly regulated on the island and is only offered by accredited local marine tour operators.

St Helena
The remote island of St Helena

The waters around St Helena have been designated a Marine Protected Area and the island is undoubtedly one of the world’s finest destinations to discover the wonders of the sea. Divers and snorkellers can swim with whale sharks, explore historic wrecks and marvel at the many species under the sea, while those who prefer to keep their heads above water can still discover a myriad of species, with regular sightings of large pods of dolphins among the highlights to visitors.

Helena Bennett, Director of Tourism for St Helena, said, “The arrival of whale sharks is always a highly anticipated moment for St Helena. Having the chance to witness these beautiful creatures first-hand is a unique and special opportunity and we look forward to our visitors being able to experience such an encounter.”

The first whale sharks typically arrive in St Helena from late November to December and stay until April. This whale shark season, in addition to the weekly Saturday flight from Johannesburg, SA Airlink is offering mid-week flights to St Helena from Cape Town, South Africa from December 2019 to February 2020.

To book flights to St Helena, please visit flyairlink.com