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St Helena - Overview

An incredible place with human history derived from military and communications institutions; a unique young volcanic landscape; an unusual variety of flora and fauna, and a rare diversity of marine life.

Located in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean around 1,600km (994 miles) from the coast of Africa, and 2,250km (1,398 miles) from the coast of South America, Ascension Island lies on the route of the Ministry of Defence/Royal Air Force flights that operate between England and the Falkland Islands. This makes it an ideal stop off point to enjoy its regular sunshine and white sandy beaches, extraordinary landscape, wildlife (including turtles) and to really experience somewhere off the beaten track.

Ascension Island is thought to have been first discovered in 1501 by Juan da Nova Castella who called it Conception Island, however, the discovery was never publicised. It wasn’t until 1503 when it was first recorded by Alfonso d'Albuquerque on Ascension Day, hence the name Ascension Island. After Alfonso’s visit not many people visited Ascension Island as it was too dry and barren to be of much interest. However Ascension became extremely important when Napoleon Bonaparte was in exile; the British Government were concerned that the French might use it in attempt to rescue their emperor, therefore a small British naval garrison was established on the island in 1815. From then until the 1980’s the island has had a chequered career as re-supply centre and a sanatorium for ships involved in the suppression of slave trade from the West African coast, a Cable and Wireless base, and location for a NASA tracking station and more recently, a BBC short wave relay station was installed to serve South America and Africa. In the early 1980’s Ascension came to international notice during the Falklands War as it served as a staging post for the British forces en route to and from the Falklands.

How to get there
There are two ways to get to Ascension Island, the first being by air with the Royal Air Force departing from either the United Kingdom or the Falkland Islands. We are able to assist with reservations for these flights.

The other option is by way of the last remaining Royal Mail Ship (RMS) in the world – the “Saint Helena” which travels between Portland – Tenerife – Ascension Island – Saint Helena – Walvis Bay and Capetown. It also occasionally stops at Tristan da Cunha. There is also a programme of shuttle services between Saint Helena and Ascension. A selection of cruises (ranging from 4 days to around 4 weeks) allow you to discover these remote islands at a more leisurely pace. Please contact us for further details.

The limited accommodation offered on Ascension Island means that pre-booking is absolutely necessary.

Obsidian Hotel
Located in the heart of the capital Georgetown and just a stone’s throw from some of the beaches and the pier, the Obsidian is the only hotel on Ascension Island. The accommodation is of the highest standard and comprises of 16 single rooms and double room apartments. The apartments and rooms are all en-suite and are equipped with TV, international telephone and internet connections, fridge and tea making facilities. All the rooms have either balconies or patios. The hotel now has a Wi-Fi Hotspot which covers the hotel building and the patio area, this allows broadband access so guests can bring their own laptops.

Hayes House
A more economic option, this guesthouse is situated in Georgetown. All the rooms are modern and comfortable, though they are smaller than those in the hotel. All rooms are en-suite, have a TV, a fridge and tea making facilities. Rooms sleep a maximum of two people and all rooms share a communal lounge.

St Helena


Antarctica & South Georgia