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Archive for st helena

The World’s Oldest Tortoise

By Linda Tancs

St. Helena and Ascension, together with the Tristan da Cunha islands group, are among the world’s most isolated islands and comprise a British overseas territory in the South Atlantic. It’s the perfect spot for, say, a giant tortoise to live a peaceful life. That’s what Jonathan, a giant tortoise, is doing on St. Helena. He’s at least 190 years old, earning him the title of “oldest tortoise ever” in Guinness World Records. Given his advanced age, he also holds the record as “world’s oldest animal on land.” He’s lived through two world wars, the rise and fall of the British Empire, changes in the monarchy as well as the passing of dozens of governors of his island home.

Secret of the South Atlantic

By Linda Tancs

One of the world’s remotest islands, St. Helena may very well be one of the South Atlantic’s best kept secrets. Of course, history buffs know that it’s the locale where the British exiled Napoleon after his defeat at the Battle of Waterloo. Not surprisingly, the general’s house and its original furnishings are a major tourist draw—that is, for those tourists who have been able to get there. Until now, the tiny British overseas territory was accessible via private flights or the last commercially operating Royal Mail ship. But thankfully the island has caught up with the 21st century with the introduction of weekly flights via South African airline Airlink. The upcoming whale shark season (November to April) is not to be missed; marine tour operators offer opportunities to swim with them. This subtropical paradise also offers an array of endemic wildlife and flora at Diana’s Peak National Park, the island’s highest point.

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