Saint Helena

Saint Helena

Use Normal Level of Caution

Saint Helena, Ascension & Tristan da Cunha (a group of 4 islands) are a group of islands located in the south Atlantic Ocean, halfway between Africa and South America. In this British Overseas Territory and parliamentary democracy, the Queen/King of England is the chief of state and the governor of Saint Helena is the head of government. The population of the Saint Helena Islands is estimated to be only 6000 people, with the population steadily declining since the 1980s due to emigration.

These volcanic tropical islands were first discovered in the early 1500s by Portuguese explorers. The islands have been used by many countries, for many purposes, over the past 500 years. For example, Saint Helena was used as the place of exile for Napolean Bonaparte, it was used to hold prisoners during the Anglo-Boer war in South Africa, and in the 1960s Ascension island was used as a space tracking station for the United States. Currently, Tristan da Cunha island is the site of a South African meteorological station. Tristan da Cunha island group is home to two world heritage sites.

The economy relies heavily on aid from the UK government, however fishing and agriculture are also sources of income for the people of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha islands.

The islands have a tropical climate and are home to diverse wildlife, including over 40 plant species that are found nowhere else in the world. There is only one airport which is located in Saint Helena. Prior to its opening in 2017, the islands were only accessible by ship – a 5 day journey.

Although the official currency is the Saint Helena Pound, the Pound Sterling is also accepted. Often, however, when paying with the Pound Sterling, change will be returned in the Saint Helena Pound. Credit cards not widely accepted and are not accepted on Tristan da Cunha.

Currency SHP: Saint Helena Pound
Language English
Capital Jamestown, Saint Helena Island
Recent Alerts None
Latest Alert Not Available

Diseases To Be Aware Of

The diseases listed below are those which occur most often in Saint Helena. Other, less frequently encountered diseases might be displayed within the Travel Alerts section if they have occurred recently.

None required.

Vaccinations to Consider

The following is a list of recommended vaccinations for travelling to Saint Helena.

None required.

Medications to Consider

The following is a list of recommended medications for travelling to Saint Helena.

None required.

Safety and Security in Saint Helena

Emergency Numbers

999 For police on Saint Helena island and all emergency on Ascension island
999 For fire on Saint Helena island and all emergency on Ascension island
911 For an ambulance on Saint Helena island

Personal Safety

The Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha islands are some of the safest places on earth and the crime rate is very low.
Nevertheless, travellers should exercise caution when driving as most roads on the islands are single lane and road conditions may be poor, especially in poor weather conditions. Drive carefully as animals may be on the roadways. Be aware that drinking and driving, as well as drinking in public, have severe penalties. Driving is on the left.
Before hiking or exploring the islands, ensure someone is aware of where you are going and when you will return. Always heed the advice of locals, ensure you are prepared with the proper clothing and equipment and that you are sufficiently fit for the outdoor activity. For safety reasons, it is advised to always travel with a guide, especially to the remote part of Tristan da Cunha. Note that hiking up the Base or to Mary’s Peak is prohibited unless you are accompanied by a local guide. Note also that camping is prohibited on Tristan da Cunha island.
Ascension and Tristan da Cunha islands are only accessible by boat. Travel plans to these islands may be disrupted or cancelled due to changes in weather.
There is an active volcano on Tristan da Cunha island, but it has not recently erupted.

Ensure travel and medical insurance is acquired before departing. In the case of a severe medical emergency, evacuation will likely be required.

Same-sex marriage has been legal in Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha islands since 2017.

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