Safety and security
Crime levels are low.
See Victims of Crime
Many roads on St Helena are single lanes. Speed limits are signed across the island but drivers are unlikely to travel at speeds in excess of 30 miles an hour or above third gear. Vehicles travelling downhill must give way to those travelling uphill. Driving is on the left. Drink drive laws are strictly applied with a limit of 50 micrograms of alcohol per 100ml of breath. Public transport on St Helena is very limited but hire cars are available.
UK driving licences are valid on St Helena for three months after which a local (St Helena) licence must be obtained. Licences can be purchased from the Post Office in Jamestown and are valid for one year.
There is a public minibus service which operates on Friday and Saturday nights only. There is no other public transport on Ascension Island, but bus tours with a driver can be arranged. There are a limited number of hire cars.
The speed limit is 20mph in Georgetown and Two Boats Village, and when passing the US Base. It’s either 30mph or 40 mph elsewhere. If you’re expecting to stay for more than 3 months, you must apply for an Ascension Island Driving Licence from the Post Office.
Wild sheep, donkeys and land crabs (protected species) can gather on the roads, especially during wet weather.
There are a number of sites which are out of bounds. On arrival to Ascension visitors are briefed where they’re permitted to visit but if you’re unsure it’s always worth checking with either the police station, harbour authorities or Ascension Island Government personnel first.
The waters around Ascension can be dangerous and great care should be taken when entering the sea. You should seek local advice and heed warning signs displayed at the beaches before considering swimming, diving or snorkelling.
Tristan da Cunha
Visitors are not allowed to hike up the Base or to Marys Peak unless accompanied by a Tristan guide. Trips to areas away from the main settlement on Tristan, including to Nightingale and Inaccessible Islands, must be made with a guide for safety reasons. A fee is payable and an indemnity declaration must be signed. Let others know where you are going and when you intend to return.
You need prior approval from the Administrator to visit Gough Island, which is 200 miles away by sea to the south. Permission to land will rarely be granted as Gough is a World Heritage Site.
Getting to St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
St Helena airport usually offers weekly flights to Johannesburg provided by SA Airlink. These have been temporarily suspended due to the global coronavirus pandemic.
The St Helena government, with the support of the UK government, has organised charter flights from the UK to St Helena to maintain essential access. If you need to travel to St Helena please contact Christina Plato by email: email@example.com and register your details.
The St Helena government is identifying people who need to travel to/from St Helena so that they can be contacted once flight arrangements are confirmed.
Due to runway repairs required to the Ascension Island runway, the Ministry of Defence has temporarily rerouted the South Atlantic Airbridge via an alternative location. Monthly flights to Ascension from South Africa via St Helena are suspended. Air access is currently via a six weekly charter from the UK via St Helena. The availability of seats is limited. You should contact your travel agent, local tour booking office, or Ascension Island employer for the latest up-to-date information.
There is limited accommodation available to tourists on Ascension Island.
Tristan da Cunha
Travel to the Island is by sea only. Fishing/supply vessels from Cape Town visit the Island eight times a year, and there is one annual visit made by a South African research vessel in September/October. Due to the limited harbour facilities, vessels have to anchor offshore and passengers are ferried by smaller local boats. This can be hazardous in bad weather. Approaching bad weather can mean that you have to return to your ship ahead of schedule. Fishing requirements may mean that ships need to depart Tristan ahead of or behind schedule. Connecting airline bookings in South Africa should be flexible.
If you need emergency assistance, contact the local police (telephone 22626). If you need an emergency passport, contact the St Helena Immigration Service at the police station.
The Ascension Island Police Detachment is able to provide emergency assistance. There is no facility for issuing replacement UK passports or UK entry visas. You can however obtain an emergency passport from the Ascension Island Police (telephone 66412).
Tristan da Cunha
If you need emergency assistance, contact the local police (telephone 2010). If you need a replacement or emergency passport, contact the Administrator’s office at the Government offices in the Settlement.
UK - Representative for St Helena
St Helena Government UK Representative, Alliance House, 12 Caxton Street, London, SW1H 0QS
Telephone: 0203 818 7610
Fax: 0203 159 5151
Mobile: 07989 404 654