Frequently Asked Questions about St Helena

And other useful information

The only stupid question is the one that is not asked.
Hull, E., K. Jackson, et al. (2005). Requirements engineering, Springer.

Here are the answers to questions we are often asked about St Helena

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Below: Frequently Asked QuestionsPeculiar Questions Asked

The Frequently Asked Questions

If you have a question about St Helena that is not covered below or elsewhere on this site please contact us.

We also have a page of Frequently Asked Questions about this site relating to this website.

Index:

Frequently Asked Questions

01: Where is St Helena, and how would I get there?

02: Do I need a visa and how can I get one?

03: Is your money the same as Britain?

04: Did I pronounce it right?

05: Isn’t St Helena the place where Napoleon was exiled/died?

06: Will I see a Wirebird while I’m there?

07: When was St Helena discovered?

08: Who owns St Helena now?

09: How is St Helena governed?

10: I’m a journalist writing about St Helena, can I ask you some questions?

11: How old is Jonathan?

12: St Helena sounds idyllic! Why doesn’t everyone want to live there?

13: Where can I get up-to-date news about St Helena?

14: What race are the people of St Helena?

15: What language is spoken on St Helena?

16: Can you help me with…?

01: Where is St Helena, and how would I get there?

01: Where is St Helena, and how would I get there?

15°55’24.3”S; 5°43’3.5”W{1}, approximately 1,900Km west of the Angola/Namibia border in the South Atlantic Ocean.
See our Where is St Helena? page to read more about St Helena. The scheduled commercial air service commenced on 14th October 2017 and now runs weekly, every Saturday, throughout the year with additional flights during our summer. Also see our page Getting Here for all the ways to get here, and our page Visitor Information to find out everything relevant you need to know about visiting.

Index…

02: Do I need a visa and how can I get one?

Government

Visas are handled by the Government of St Helena. There is information on our Visitor Information page.

Index…

03: Is your money the same as Britain?

Notes and Coins of St Helena

Our Pound (£, SHP) is worth the same as the British Pound (£, GBP) but we have our own notes and coins, though British money is accepted here (as are a few other currencies). Our Notes and Coins of St Helena page explains it all.

Index…

04: Did I pronounce it right?

Our island’s name

If you pronounced it ‘Saint Heleeeeenah’ then yes, you got it right. Please do not pronounce it ‘Saint Helaynah’! See Our island’s name.

Index…

05: Isn’t St Helena the place where Napoleon was exiled/died?

05: Isn’t St Helena the place where Napoleon was exiled/died?

It is. You can read about him on our Napoleon page, about where he stayed on our The Briars Pavilion & Longwood House pages and about his tomb on our Napoleon’s Tomb page.
But there’s a lot more to St Helena than Napoleon! Check out our Island Information pages to learn about the rest of our fascinating history, our culture and lifestyle, and many other things that make St Helena the most extraordinary place on Earth.

Index…

06: Will I see a Wirebird while I’m there?

The Wirebird

We can’t guarantee it, but if you want to see a Wirebird it’s very likely you will succeed. Both the island-tour companies recommended on our Visitor Information page routinely find Wirebirds for visitors; otherwise ask the Tourist Office to recommend a tour guide that knows where the Wirebirds live, or contact the St Helena National Trust.
Wirebirds can usually be found, though a little walking may be required.

Index…

07: When was St Helena discovered?

07: When was St Helena discovered?

Strangely, we’re not precisely sure! If there were any documents directly recoding our discovery they have not been found; probably lost in the Lisbon earthquake and fire in 1755. From other documents we can be sure that it was discovered by João da Nova, a Galician navigator sailing in the service of the King of Portugal, sometime in 1502, most probably on 3rd May. Many older histories of St Helena give our discovery date as 21st May 1502, but this is an error. All is explained on our page Discovery of St Helena.

Index…

08: Who owns St Helena now?

08: Who owns St Helena now?

St Helena is currently a British Overseas Territory. It was settled in 1659 by The East India Company, became a Crown Colony in 1834 and has remained under the British Crown ever since.

Index…

09: How is St Helena governed?

09: How is St Helena governed?

Like any other British Overseas Territory, St Helena has a Governor, appointed by the UK Government, who has ultimate power over the territory. Since the 2009 Constitution the Governor is required to act in most things in accordance with the wishes of a democratically-elected Council, but there are caveats and exceptions to this, so we say St Helena is ‘nearly a democracy’. See our page Government for more.

Index…

10: I’m a journalist writing about St Helena, can I ask you some questions?

10: I’m a journalist writing about St Helena, can I ask you some questions?

We’d be delighted to help! Please contact us. We’d like to help you write an informed article, unlike the ones on our Do they mean us? page!

Index…

11: How old is Jonathan?

Jonathan the tortoise

As explained on our Jonathan the tortoise page, we can only estimate his age; we think him to be around years old.

Index…

12: St Helena sounds idyllic! Why doesn’t everyone want to live there?

Could you live here?

If you like the sort of things St Helena has to offer it can, indeed, be idyllic. But it’s not for everyone. Check out our Could you live here? page and Saints page to see if it would meet your needs.

Index…

13: Where can I get up-to-date news about St Helena?

Your options are:

S.A.M.S. Radio 1

Sentinel

All of the above carry the latest St Helena news.
Please note: there are many sources on the Internet purporting to give news and information about St Helena. Some of these are not reliable and you should use them with caution{2}.

Index…

14: What race are the people of St Helena?

14: What race are the people of St Helena?

Mixed! Saints that have traced their ancestry found elements of European, African and Asian, coming primarily from English Settlers and ‘liberated’ African slaves but with elements of visitors and sailors from all over the world.

Index…

15: What language is spoken on St Helena?

15: What language is spoken on St Helena?

English is the official language. Most Saints, however, speak a derivation of English which can initially be quite hard to understand, even by native English speakers. This dialect is commonly referred to as ‘Saint’.

Index…

16: Can you help me with…?

Help With

People often ask us to help them with St Helena-related projects, such as researching family history, relocating here, getting jobs, buying and selling things and even getting messages to people. Sadly our resources are very limited and we can’t help with them all. Such help as we can give is summarised on our page Help With; an index to other pages with useful information. We hope you find it a useful starting point.

Index…

Peculiar Questions Asked

We publish our email address and get emails every day asking questions about St Helena. Most ask familiar questions which are already answered above or elsewhere on Saint Helena Island Info. Some ask interesting questions, to which we always respond as helpfully as we can. And some… Some are just odd and the only reply we could really give is a facetious one. Being polite we actually don’t but if we did this is what we might have written{3}:

Question

How we might have answered

Do I need a passport to enter St Helena?

Most people show a passport, but actually we accept just about anything here - driving licence, Blockbuster Membership Card, used rail ticket, whatever you have. You might have problems if you offer an ISIS Membership Card, but…

I have developed a product that restores youth. Where can I sell it in St Helena?

Anywhere where American tourists gather.

Is my passport stamped at St Helena or in London?

In London. Our passport stamp went missing in 1984 and we haven’t yet got around to replacing it. So we take your passport at the airport, send it by post to London for stamping and wait until it comes back. This rarely takes longer than three months.

I’ll be in California in June. What should I see in St Helena?

There is a great deal to see in St Helena, but you might find it rather a long excursion from California…

Where is the St Helena Embassy in Nigeria?

Although St Helena has embassies in every other country in the world - even North Korea and Antarctica - for some reason we seem to have forgotten to open one in Nigeria. You will have to use the British Embassy instead. Sorry.

I’ll be staying in Longwood. Where will be my nearest McDonalds?

Probably Swakopmund (Namibia), but the ones in South Africa are easier to get to.

Footnotes:
{1} Location of Jamestown according to latest GPS data.{2} sainthelenaisland.info, our Facebook™ page and our Twitter™ Feed are, of course, completely safe and reliable!{3} Before you ask… No - we really didn’t make any of these up.

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