Best Bitcoin Card for Saint Helena
Since October 2017 the island St. Helena has an airport. Tourism is growing and giving new hope to the islanders. The upturn is urgently needed because the British overseas territory in the middle of the Atlantic is also affected by the Brexit.
St. Helena lies between Angola and Brazil in the South Atlantic. Since October 2017, scheduled flights have been flying to the island for the first time.
The landing on the windy island is rough. At first glance, St. Helena is not a particularly hospitable place. Napoleon was banished here in 1815. Steep mountains, dark volcanic rock, hardly any plant can be found here. Airport has “changed the whole dynamics of the island”.
Derek Richards and his wife Linda have been running a small guesthouse in St. Pauls, ten minutes by car from the capital Jamestown, since last year. The two rooms of the hostel are attached to the house. “I had planned it long before, but people didn’t come regularly,” explains the 52-year-old. The airport, he says, has changed the entire dynamics of the island, also for the inhabitants of the island. “You’re no longer on a boat for five days if you want to go on holiday.”
St. Helena Airport opened in 2017 to attract more tourists to the island
Exactly this has been the reality so far – and St. Helena is therefore not a tourist destination. The British mail ship “RMS St Helena” connected the island since 1990 with the motherland and above all with the nearby port of Cape Town in South Africa. The monthly arrival of meat, vegetables and medicines determined the pulse of the island for decades. Now that the airlift has been established, the time-honoured ship resigned on 10 February 2018. A new ship continues to bring goods. But the Brexit has caused prices to rise. Now the island hopes that tourism will boost the economy and reduce dependence on the British government.
Investments have already been strong, both from private individuals like the Richards and from the Island Government. The latter had three historic terraced houses completely renovated in the city centre, connected with each other and thus built an elegant hotel out of the ground. At first, they tried to find private investors, says Governor Lisa Phillips. “But that was difficult because the airport had not yet opened.
Portuguese discovered St. Helena in 1502
Really detached from Europe, St. Helena, often advertised as the “most remote place in the world”, had not been for centuries. The Portuguese, who discovered it in 1502, initially used the uninhabited patch of land as a supply station. They brought farm animals, planted fruit trees and replenished their drinking water supplies. Despite all the original secrecy, the strategically important location soon brought other major European powers onto the scene. Above all, Dutchmen and Englishmen fought for the island. In 1657 the British Crown handed over the rights to administer St. Helena to the British East India Company. Settlement began.
St. Helena has only 4500 inhabitants
The British influence cannot be overlooked to this day. Payment is made in the British overseas territory with the Saint-Helena-Pfund. The currency is pegged to the British pound. On the narrow streets, left-hand traffic applies. English is also the official language. Even if the Saints, as the islanders call themselves, interpret English in a dialect reminiscent of a yodelled mixture of Scottish highland gibberish and US southern slang.
The way of life clearly deviates from the hectic pace of European metropolises. On the streets each of the only 4500 inhabitants greets everyone. 200 years ago, however, it was this provincial that brought the most famous inhabitant of the island – Napoleon Bonaparte – to the palm of his hand. From 1815 until his death in 1821, the French military dictator lived on St. Helena, banished and guarded by the British, but in an elevated style.
Between November and March whale sharks are the main attraction
Noble wines from Madeira and Cape Town as well as ham from Spain were delivered to Napoleon, who was also allowed to leave his house as he wished, reports Trevor Magellan. “He could move freely, but where could he go? Magellan, a pensioner for a long time, now guides tourists twice a week through the guest house where Napoleon lived the first seven weeks of his stay.
Anyone seeking solitude must leave Jamestown today. The town with its shopping street and small harbour is a kind of miniature centre of the island. From here, the boats that bring divers to the reefs, where colorful doctor fish, rock perches and moray eels cavort. The main attraction between November and March are the gigantic whale sharks, which tolerate snorkeling companions.
Besides the tourist boats, the old fishing boats still dock. Peter Benjamin is one of only seven professional fishermen who set sail in the morning at 4.00 a.m. to catch the shy bait fish and then the thick yellowfin tuna under the protection of the night. Whenever possible, he also takes guests with him. Currently there are about 80 air passengers a week.
While his two fishing passengers fight for minutes with a single fish, Benjamin hits the water surface with a bamboo stick to lift the five to seven kilogram tuna out of the water one by one. Chronic back pain? He only notices them when he is back on land, he says with a laugh.
It is this mixture of lightness and suffering, of rough landscape and perfect peace that makes St. Helena special. Even the almost 80 air passengers who now land weekly do not change this. Guest house owner Derek Richards has brought this island atmosphere back again and again. He worked twice for several months in England, where he trained as a firefighter. But staying there was out of the question for him.
With a glass of white wine in his hand, Richards stands in front of the steep slope at South West Point, where the calmer waters of the north coast meet rough waves. Somewhere towards Brazil the sun sets over the endless sea. “I love this place,” he says. “Where could I ever have such a thing in Great Britain?
What is the best travel time for St Helena?
Seasons don’t really exist on the island, day temperatures range between 20 and 24 degrees. The warmer months are January to March, cooler from June to September.
How do I get to St. Helena?
As the only airline South African Airlink flies once a week (on Saturday) from Johannesburg to St. Helena. Johannesburg itself is served by various airlines.
Which currencies are accepted?
British and Saint-Helena pounds are accepted everywhere, as are euros and dollars in some shops. As there are no ATMs on the island and only a few credit card payment options, it is advisable to exchange money in advance.