Off to St. Helena!

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In 2011 I did a post listing the 13 places in the I most wanted to visit but haven’t yet. To date, I’ve only visited one of the places on that list: Lord Howe Island in Australia.

Today I’m embarking on a trip in Cape Town to cross off the second destination on my list: the island of St. Helena.

For those of you who have no idea where or what St. Helena is, here are some quick facts:

  • St. Helena is located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on approximately the same latitude as the Namibian/Angolan border.
  • St. Helena is a British Overseas Territory and the capital of the territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha.
  • St. Helena was discovered by the Portuguese in the late 16th Century and settled by the British in the mid 17th Century. There were no native inhabitants on the island.
  • As of 2014, St. Helena is only accessible by ship. There is no airstrip on the island. The only regular transportation to the island is the R.M.S. St. Helena which visits every three weeks. The ship takes five days to reach St. Helena from Cape Town.
  • They are building a runway which will finally provide an airlink from the island to the rest of the world.
  • St. Helena was where Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled and died. France still has a small consulate on the island to manage the house where he lived.
  • The population of St. Helena is approximately 4,200 people. The people of St. Helena are called “Saints”.
  • The currency on St. Helena is the pound, however, they have their own notes which are printed at St. Helena Pounds, not pounds from the Bank of England.

St. Helena is the most remote place I will have ever visited. Certainly a huge feather in my travel cap. I’ll have no internet during the five days there and back on the boat, but will be posting some photos and updates during my 8 days on the island.

This trip is sponsored by the St. Helena Tourism Board and I’m extremely grateful for inviting me to visit their island. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’m looking to make the most of it.

  • 13 Comments... What's your take?

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Comments

  1. Megan says:

    St. Helena has been on my list for awhile now. I wanted to take the ship *to* the island and the RAF flight back. how was the ship’s journey itself? My sealegs are lame. It looks like you had a fabulous time and now I am painfully jealous. :)

  2. Nathan says:

    This is definitely joining my long list of travel destinations. Thanks Gary

  3. Quade Baxter says:

    St. Helena is on my list too. I look forward to your posts. That 5 days there and back w/o internet at first sounds frightening…but then sounds like a nice peaceful break. How did we all travel prior to all the tech gear( I did and I can’t imagine it anymore). Also thanks for the 2016 airport news, now I know I have to get there soon…before the hordes move in!

  4. Vanessa says:

    I am interested in getting employment in the travel industry. Do you have suggestions

  5. genevieve says:

    We visited Saint Helena in 2008 and again in 2013. Its a shame that you only have 8 days there because although the journey and island are amazing, its the people that really make the place.
    Where will you be staying?
    We look forward to reading your posts!

  6. Vid says:

    Hi Andy,

    This is amazing – have a great time in St. Helena. I wasn’t aware that it’s only accessible by R.M.S St. Helena. We went to Cape Town in 2011 but were on a “short” trip then. The idea of a 5 day boat ride to the middle of the ocean sounds amazing.

    Look forward to the updates. Hope you are having a fantastic time

    Cheers

  7. Britnee says:

    Sounds amazing! Good luck with your travels on the boat!

  8. Jen says:

    What an awesome experience for you. It sounds like an interesting place. Can’t wait to read more about it ad see your pics.

  9. When you say Cape Town, I am assuming you mean Cape Town in South Africa? If so, very cool because I live there.

  10. St. Helena is definitely on my list as well – there’s something very thrilling about such remote places (I noticed you have several of them on your list). Btw is it possible to get there from anywhere else but Cape Town? I’m very much looking forward to the pictures!

    • Gary says:

      There are occasional cruise ships which stop there when they are repositioning ships. That only happens a few times a year, however.

      The only regular transportation right now is by ship from Cape Town.

      An airport should be opening in 2016.

      • Paul Tyson says:

        You can get a flight to ascension with the MoD and then ship from there.

        Were moving there for two years this September, I can’t wait.

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About Gary Arndt

My name is Gary Arndt. In March 2007 I set out to travel around the world...
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