tourism

Airlink St helena

Flights to St Helena, this is just the beginning

All eyes from around the world was on St Helena Island as SA Airlink inaugural flight from OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg touched down at the St Helena Airport at 14.00 GMT October 14th 2017. Slightly later than originally planned but none the less this is the start of the weekly commercial service to St Helena from the outside world.

HE Governor Lisa Phillips greeted the 72 passengers as they disembarked the Embraer E190-100IGW aircraft whilst the majority of the island’s population watched from the viewing deck to witness this historic occasion.

Tour Operators from Eastcape Tours, Get Africa Travel, Springbok Atlas, and Island Holidays took the opportunity to take the first commercial flight to St Helena. Amongst the passengers were International media from the BBC, ITV, The Times, Thomson Reuters, Associated Press.

Shortly after the arrival a press conference with the visiting media (can be found here) took place in the terminal building. Eventually, the passengers made their way to their hotels and guesthouses which included some who are staying at the new Mantis Jamestown Hotel.

A full itinerary has been organized by the St Helena Tourist Office for the visitors which offers tours to some of the Islands tourist hotspots including a visit to Napoleon’s house, and marine tours on Sunday to see whales and Dolphins on the leeward side of the Island.

Enterprise St Helena and St Helena tourism had also scheduled various meetings to speak with investors who had arrived to look at opportunities here on the Island.

Governor Phillips invited arriving guests to a reception at plantation house to celebrate to what she describes as a proud and momentous occasion for St Helena.

Saint FM outside broadcast
Saint FM outside broadcast

The local community radio station Saint FM presented a special remote live broadcast from the arrivals terminal at the airport where they interview many passengers who just arrived on the aircraft. This broadcast was streamed live worldwide over the internet, which attracted hundreds of listeners.

Immediately after the landing social media sprang into life with live pictures and videos. The BBC broadcast their live report of the event on their world service and TV news at 10 back in Europe. The reporters described their amazing trip to the Island and a how St Helena would benefit from the commercial air service and also some history to the airport project.

Marine tours St Helena
Marine Tours St Helena

This morning the marine tours operators departed the pier head with their visitors hoping to show off St Helena’s marine potential to the tourism market.

The flight is due to depart St Helena at 14.30 GMT Sunday the 15th October.

RMS St Helena

Sale of the R.M.S St Helena.

Today St Helena Government has announced that St Helena Line will withdraw the RMS St Helena from service in February 2018.

The RMS is now being offered for sale and London shipbroker CW Kellock & Co Ltd will handle the sale of the RMS to her new potential buyers.

The RMS St Helena has been in service for more than a quarter of a century and was built in 1990 in Aberdeen Scotland as a fit for purpose ship to serve St Helena Island in the South Atlantic.

RMS St Helena
RMS St Helena alongside in Cape town

The RMS as she is known as has a gross tonnage of 6,767 gross tonnes, and can accommodate 156 passengers in 56 cabins. The RMS St Helena was scheduled to be withdrawn from service in 2015 but due to the delay in the Islands airport opening and commencement of a commercial air service, she was forced to continue serving the island until an access solution was implemented. St Helena will now open its doors to commercial air travel on the 14 October 2017. The RMS St Helena will continue her final few voyages to the Island calling at St Helena, Ascension and a final voyage to Tristian da Cunha and it is hoped her the last voyage will end in Cape town on the 15 February 2018. Details of the sale of the RMS can be found on the RMS St Helena website.  If you would like to travel on the RMS St Helena for the very last time more information can be found here

Rent, buy, sell, or let property on St Helena.

Renting, buying or letting property on St Helena has been made simple with a website that allows you to do all of the above with a simple process.

The Property finder St Helena was launched last year and continues to deliver the one stop service for property owners and anyone just wanting to buy or rent property on St Helena.

Owners of property who would like to sell or rent their property can do so by simply navigating to www.propertyfinder.sh

You could use either option to submit your details;

St Helena property finder
The St Helena Property Finder Website

(i) “the contact us option”  on the info menu or at the bottom of the page, or ;

(ii) by using the do it your self-option by selecting the submit property which can be found at the top right corner of the website. First timers will have to register first.

St Helena property finder websiteIn both options above and if you prefer, the property finder can do it for you. This can simply be done by using the contact us link and completing the form provided.

Renting property on St Helena is becoming very popular as we get closer to welcoming commercial flights to the Island. Property sales are not as frequent but you can find residential properties that are been offered up for sale.

Land sales is another option to invest in on St Helena and there are a few options and land sales  available

How much does it cost to advertise your property with the property finder?

Property owners who advertise with the property finder for the first time will be offered attractive fix pricing unlike other property websites, advertising is commission based on value.

Property owners who own more than one rental property and would like to submit their listing will be offered a discounted price on multiple listings.

What are the benefits of listing on the property finder

  • gives you the advantage of getting new clients into your property every time a ship or aircraft arrives on Island.
  • Generates more organic income
  • Helps to build a strong reputation as a property owner for your future business.
  • Allows you to communicate directing with your customers once your property is listed
  • All enquiries are automated and are received directly by the property owner. Therefore, your confidentially is upheld.

To contact the Property finder, feel free to use the contact us page.

Water sports on St Helena

Have you ever thought about visiting St Helena and wondered if you could enjoy any type of water sport activities during your stay, knowing that St Helena has one of the world safest oceans surrounding it.

The answer to the question is yes you can enjoy a variety of water sport activities during your visit.

The water temperature varies throughout the year, obviously during the summer months the temperatures are higher and a lot cooler during the winter.

The majority of Jet-skis are privately own but there are a few small tour operators now offering jet-ski hire and there are others interested parties that are preparing to setup Jet-ski rental along with other water sport possibilities.

Other small tour operators are also offering inshore fishing which is slowly becoming a highlight for visitors who would like to explore St Helena’s ocean paradise.

The video below shows a short preview of a locally organise water sport’s afternoon in Rupert’s Bay.

This is a fast growing pastime for the Island community.

If you were thinking of returning or going to live on St Helena you can purchase and ship a jet-ski to the Island, you will be expected to pay customs duties on its value but there is no registration required for using this type of watercraft on St Helena

 

 

 

RMS st helena

RMS St Helena’s historical and final journey to London along the River Thames

Despite a grey overcast afternoon in central London on Tuesday 07th June 2016 the RMS St Helena began her historical and final journey along London’s River Thames from Tilbury docks where she has been moored since Sunday 5th June 2016 after completing her last North bound two week voyage since departing St Helena as the Royal mail ship St Helena with 123 passengers on board.

RMS Tilbury Docks
RMS St Helena departing Tilbury docks as she is about to enter the River Thames for her Journey to HMS Belfast.

Saints and members of the public with connections to St Helena from all over the UK gathered along the banks of the River and at London’s Tower Bridge to welcome and watched the RMS St Helena’s memorable moment as she passed under Tower Bridge at 16.45 (BST) making her way alongside of HMS Belfast where she will be moored until Friday 10th June.

Among the crowd gathered were onlookers, some whom had travelled from the South of England and as far as Aberdeen in Scotland. Also viewing the moment were some former crew members of the old and new RMS, one of them being Carl Stroud who had travelled to the UK from the Falkland Islands and who had incidentally served on board the RMS for nine years during her service to the Island.Many of the viewers watching from the river banks along with crew members on board witnessed what they all described as a touching and emotional moment as the RMS sailed along the Thames escorted by two tugs.  “The RMS had been part our their lives for almost 26 years”

RMS St Helena on London visit
Crew on the Monkey Island of the RMS St Helena sailing on the River Thames in London

Audiences from around the world also watched live social media feeds such as face book, Instagram and twitter as the river journey unfolded.  Crew members and others on board posted images and  took selfies and posted them online as the RMS left Tilbury and made her journey towards the HMS Belfast.  Jackie Leo the Ships Hotel Services Officer posted a final image to mark the journeys end with a selfie alongside of the HMS Belfast “what a wonderful evening”

During the time The RMS is moored alongside of the HMS Belfast she will host invited guests at promotional events on board to promote St Helena as a tourist destination, one of the highlights will be the visit of the Princess Royal who will attend a reception on the Wednesday, Matt Gillian a Michelin star top UK chef who lives in Hampshire will also be in on board for a promotional event. Matt who was born in the UK but has a St Helenian heritage as his mother was born and bought up on the Island. Matt was also a winner of the Great British Menu a BBC TV series that was aired on British TV late last year. British TV presenter Tim Wonnacott who visited St Helena earlier this year was also a guest at Wednesday’s reception.

The RMS St Helena
The RMS St Helena passing through Tower Bridge

ITV and other media organisations covered the story of the RMS on British television emphasising on the history of the ship and St Helena’s new era of air travel that is about to change the island forever.  Captain Andrew Greentree the ship’s master spoke to BBC news about the life of the RMS and its important role to St Helena over the years, Jackie Leo said that St Helena is looking forward to international tourists arriving.  Mrs Kedall Worboys, St Helena’s UK representative also spoke to the news in an emotional speech about how proud she was of the RMS and its crew that sailed on her over the years. The RMS will depart London at around 17.30 on Friday the 10th June and will make her way down the River Thames and return to the Tilbury Cruise Terminal where she will be opened to the public for viewing on prearranged tour tickets that were available online a few weeks ago.  The RMS St Helena is scheduled to depart Tilbury at 16.00 on the Tuesday 14th June for St Helena.

RMS St Helena arriving at Tower Bridge London
Jackie Leo on board the RMS St Helena – London.

The RMS will continue to serve as the lifeline to the South Atlantic Islands and is scheduled to continue its service until the end of September, sailing between Cape

RMS
The RMS St Helena along side of HMS Belfast

Town, Ascension Island and St Helena.  Originally the RMS was scheduled to be

decommissioned and sold in July of this year shortly after the St Helena Airport was due to open in May of this year, however due to the wind shear and safety concerns at the airport the life of the RMS has been extended with the hope that procedures are put in place to enable commercial flight operations soon from the islands airport.

 

food St Helena

Proposed Food safety ordinance could increase cost of living on St Helena

The majority of food products sold to the consumer in a Supermarket on St Helena Island normally costs more than double and in some cases almost triple the actual price that can be seen in your normal high street supermarket outlet in South Africa or the UK.

local meats
local meats

St Helena depends on the majority of its food products to be imported from South Africa or transshipped from the UK which is then delivered to St Helena on the RMS St Helena. As a result, this makes the cost of living rather high and the reason behind such a high price tag is due to the freight cost which is among the highest in the world and already is expected to be increased within the new shipping service to be provided by Andrew Weir Shipping. However the cost of living is set to increase if the new proposed Food Safety Ordinance 2016 gets approved in its entirety by Legislative Council. It has been highlighted that certain components of the Ordinance will impact everyone who lives in or is hoping to visit St Helena. One of the main parts of the Ordinance which will have an adverse effect is the Governments plan to ban the importation of fresh or frozen meat products from South Africa. St Helena imports frozen meats such as Chicken, Pork, Sausages, Beef, Lamb, Fish and Bacon from South Africa as the Island cannot produce or meet demand locally. The new drafted Food Safety Ordinance dictates that importers of meat products will only be allowed to import meat from approved EU suppliers.  Merchants on the Island do not import frozen products on a large-scale on the transhipment service from the UK, as the cost and risk of doing so has massive financial impacts if the frozen products don’t reach the Island in the correct storage conditions and merchants would be directly responsible for the shipment regardless of the condition on arrival. It is also not cost-effective to tranship frozen goods as there is a massive price difference on UK frozen products at source compared to SA products.

Pre-packed-meat-Products
Pre-packed-meat-Products

Speaking directly to some importers on the Island the forecast that if they are forced to import meat product from the EU authorized suppliers and not from South Africa under the new regulations then this would lead firstly to an increase to almost four times the price at source, and most certainly a reduction in the choice of products imported. Such a move by the Government will greatly increase the risk of food security because it will take 10 weeks to resupply goods from the UK if unexpected shortages occur. Re-sellers and small business owners like service providers in the catering industry fear that this will impact their business massively as they will have to increase their prices for visitors and locals alike. They also believe that this will not encourage clients to use their service as regular as they do now and will result in less income. One business owner stated he is frustrated with the new legislation whilst it is understood that a number of pieces of legislation are being revamped or introduced to support a potential new tourist industry, in this particular instance, they can see no logic in the banned importation of meat products from South Africa. South Africa is one of the tourist capitals of the world and as a business owner put it “I am certain tourists  don’t take their own meat products with them” This is particularly reasoning when in this large tourism continent, there are never many or no cases identifying food quality problems as long as there are systems in place monitoring the distribution, catering and hospitality industries.  Another local St Helenian commented that “The idea of banning meats from South Africa makes no sense to me what if Britain decides to leave the EU in a few months after the referendum then this will make us look silly”

RMS st helena

RMS goes up for sale as it ends its service to St Helena

It has been made official by St Helena Line that from July 2016, the passenger and cargo Royal mail Ship St Helena will be removed from service. The RMS St Helena is intended for sale and London ship broker CW Kellock & Co Ltd has already been appointed to oversee the sale of the RMS. This news comes as expected to many who live on St Helena and passengers from around the world who have travelled on the vessel many times, everyone with connections to St Helena and the RMS Somehow cannot but feel that it formed part of the Islands life line.

RMS Funnel
RMS Funnel

The RMS St Helena has been attached to the Island and has been in operation for more than a quarter of a century therefore the impact of its absence affect the entire community locally on St Helena and abroad.

For the many years that the vessel has served the people of St Helena, it was managed by St Helena Line Ltd

St Helena being a remote South Atlantic Island meant that movement to and from the island was sufficiently served by the ship and this is where attachment stemmed from. This mode of transport has finally been phased out for what we will remember as a UK Overseas Territory located 1200 miles off the West coast of Africa in the South Atlantic.

RMS St Helena
RMS St Helena anchored in Jamestown

Due to the size of the island, the RMS St Helena was adequate to meet all the transportation needs of the island at the time. The RMS was built specifically to serve the St Helena route, the ship was constructed in 1989 in Aberdeen Scotland. Even though she served a relatively small island the ship was big enough for all of the Island needs, with the ability to accommodate 156 passengers in its 56 cabins and at the same time carried enough cargo for the Island. A ship of this magnitude needed a large crew to manage her and she was therefore staffed with a total of 56 officers and crew members.

A ship that carries the RMS prefix had the permission to carry mail for the British Royal Mail under contract. This task dates back to the 1840s and today only four ships have the contract. The RMS St Helena is one out of the four ships and now the latest to drop that designation.

The RMS St Helena has been operating on a tight schedule since it was commissioned. The regular schedule has been operating out of Cape

RMS St Helena in James bay
RMS St Helena in James bay

Town but calling at St Helena and Ascension Island.  A new airport is set to be opened on St Helena on 21st May 2016 and shortly after this the ship will cease its operations. It is assumed that with the new airport the majority of passengers will fly to St Helena and cargo movement will happen by another sea freight contractor. It is hope that the airport will be the newest and most widely used means of transport to the island.

RMS along side at Cardiff Docks
RMS along side at Cardiff Docks

It is just under 100 days to decommissioning date and the last few voyages will happen over the next few weeks to mark the grand finale to a long but historic service to the people of St Helena. The RMS is scheduled to call at Tristan da Cunha then head north followed by a farewell voyage to the UK. She is expected to visit the port of London then be moored alongside HMS Belfast off Tower Pier starting 7th to 10th June 2016 she will then sail south to St Helena on her final voyage.

The future of RMS St Helena. The hope for the future of the RMS St Helena has not been determined yet but continued service in another part of the world will enable the ship to continue its service to humanity.

The RMS holds many memories for almost everyone who has sailed on her.

Here is a collection of a few photos that was taken over the years.

Do you have any photographic memories that you would like to share of the RMS?

Tim Wonnacott takes Antiques roadshow to St Helena

Over the last week Ex BBC TV presenter Tim Wonnacott from the famous day time UK TV show Bargain Hunt made his journey to St Helena. Tim accompanied by his wife arrived on Island on the last call of the RMS St Helena from Cape Town.

Ralph Peters at the St Helena Antiques Roadshow
Ralph Peters at the St Helena Antiques Roadshow

Tim has spent the last few days on Island admiring St Helena’s beauty and what the Island has to offer. Tim has enjoyed dolphin and bird watching on boat trips to Egg Island with Craig Yon a local diving and sports fishing tour operator. Tim has also spent some time meeting the Saints and has given interviews to both radio stations about his career as a presenter and his trip to St Helena. One of the highlights of Tim’s trip to St Helena was an Antiques Roadshow that was held in Jamestown under a marquee set up in The Grand Parade organised by St Helena Tourism. Members of the public were invited to bring along there Antiques to learn more about them and their value.  The show kicked off with a bright sunny morning after a night of continuous rains. The show drew a crowd of over 150 people, many people brought their valuables along, some of whom had no idea what they were valued at. The marquee was also set up to include market stalls with locally made products to be sold to the public. Each free entry to the antiques show was given a ticket number as they entered, one member of the public observed that over 50 tickets were handed out.

Patsys Flaggs Flaggs Settee
Patsys Flaggs Flaggs Settee

Various items were brought along, viewed and valued by Tim some of them include a very old Eddy stone radio owned by Mr Ralph Peters,  Mrs Patsy Flagg brought along a Settee, A fiddle which was thought to be dated back to over 100 years, other items included old books, paintings, furniture and Jewellery. The entire antiques show and market day was a massive success for tourism and everyone who contributed to make the day a success. Tim and his wife is also enjoying the local cuisine as he ended his successful day with a meal with Dr Niall O Keefe and his wife Aine. Tim is also scheduled to enjoy fine dining at Island Images restaurant before he departs St Helena in the next few days. The show was also filmed by a visiting film crew on Island.