Johannesburg to St. Helena

St Helena is an isolated island in the South Atlantic with a population of around 5000.  It was first discovered by Portuguese explorers in 1502 and is infamously where Napoleon was exiled to and died. Historically it has been exclusively accessible by boat, but that’s about to change with the successful landing of the first test flight from Africa.

st helena2
Where the heck is St. Helena?

Why am I telling you about this? I’m telling you because, if, like us, you live in Johannesburg then you are on the ONLY confirmed route to St Helena with a flight time of around 5 hours.

St Helena boasts the oldest library in the southern hemisphere, a complete lack of ATM’s and an apparently spectacular night sky. It certainly looks like an intriguing and beautiful island to explore.

Language: English  

Currency: St. Helena Pound

Climate: Mild (with changeable weather)

St. Helena’s brand new airport is due to open early 2016, so get looking for a booking. Flights are expected to operate weekly, with a return trip costing an estimated £500-£600. Are you going to be part of the tourism boom? I’m tempted.

Has anybody visited St Helena? Would you recommend it? What else is there to see and do? Do you live there or know somebody who does?  I’d love to know more about it.

 

The most exhaustive information I could find about St. Helena was on their tourism site:

St. Helena Tourism

8 thoughts on “Johannesburg to St. Helena

  1. 2summers September 17, 2015 / 6:06 pm

    This is so interesting! I totally want to go.

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    • Expatorama September 17, 2015 / 6:28 pm

      I know. I totally want to go, I’ve been looking at photos on the tourism website and it looks gorgeous. For the last 500 years (well, forever technically) it’s only been accessible by boat, so I think a lot of it is untouched and pristine and being volcanic it looks quite rugged. I just heard from a friend that her friends were posted there from Cape Town for work and it would take them 8 days…..EIGHT DAYS by boat to get there. Fascinating!

      Liked by 1 person

      • 2summers September 17, 2015 / 6:31 pm

        I think we need to see if their tourism board will sponsor a blogger trip 🙂

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      • Expatorama September 17, 2015 / 6:39 pm

        That sounds like a plan. Do you normally go straight to the tourism board or do we need to find out if there is a mayor or king to contact?

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      • 2summers September 17, 2015 / 6:41 pm

        Ooh, I hope there’s a king! In all seriousness though, I’m not sure how to go about it. But I’ll ask around 🙂

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      • Expatorama September 17, 2015 / 6:46 pm

        Whoops, it’s part of the UK, so it could be HRH Elizabeth the II that we would need to contact. That might be a bit OTT. I’ll do some digging too.

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  2. Andrea April 12, 2016 / 1:24 am

    I went to school there for a couple of months in the early 80’s having sailed there (took 16 days as I mean sailed as in yacht, not ship). They measured their potatoes by the gallon, bread by the pint, and liquid measures were metric, from what I remember. There were still members from the UK Royal Signals Corp stationed at the time, and they installed the first telephone system. But to make an international call, you still had to go to signal hill above Jamestown to get patched through.

    Fascinating place, amazing patios accent that at first appears to be another language but is actually English. It is made more difficult to understand because the grammar doesn’t follow standard English e.g. “What your name is?” is the accepted form.

    They once had quite a thriving economy based on Flax, but when the market failed, the flax was allowed to grow wild, the fruit trees unpicked, and the population did their best to get out – either to Ascension island to the military base for jobs, or to the UK. I think somewhere on YouTube you can find footage of Prince Andrew visiting in the early 80’s (not while we were there), including the old way of getting ashore by holding onto a rope and timing your jump to the big South Atlantic swells. HRH mistimed it, but I’m not sure they show that in the footage!

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  3. Expatorama April 12, 2016 / 5:29 am

    Thanks Andrea that’s a fantastic insight. Sailing across all that ocean on yacht sounds like a huge adventure in itself before you even set foot on remote St. Helena.

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