What To Do In Saint Helena

View a Map of Saint Helena

Saint Helena Island is in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and is one of the world's most isolated islands. If you start crossing the Atlantic Ocean at the border between Namibia and Angola, Saint Helena Island will appear just less than half way to Brazil. As the most populous of the United Kingdom's territories in the South Atlantic, it governs the others: Ascension, Tristan da Cunha, Gough Island and their satellites.

Saint Helena's most famous resident, of course, was Napoleon, who was exiled there by the British. Apparently Elba was not far enough away. He died there, and you can visit his beautiful gravesite in a flower-laden glade, but his remains were disinterred and are now at Les Invalides in Paris. You can visit his two residences on the island. He stayed at The Briars for less than two weeks, and lived the rest of his life in a respectable house in Longwood. 

The flora and fauna of the island are marvelous. Though many endemic species have become extinct, there are some left to be seen. Cabbage trees, gum trees and the local ebony can all be seen. The ebony was thought to be extinct until a local botanist found a specimen hanging off a cliff. It is being propagated and planted around the island. The islanders have also begun to restore the native forests of the island. The Millennium Forest has been planted by many volunteers and consists largely of local gum trees. Native, old growth forests can be found on the highest peaks of the island. High Peak and Diana's Peak have beautiful natural areas.

Two animals are of note. The giant earwig was the largest in the world. Truly a terrifying beast for those who fear earwigs, it was between two and three inches long. The species was made extinct by researchers who literally collected them all!

The second species is a happier story. Though endangered, with only about 300 remaining, the Saint Helena Wirebird is a plover-like bird with long beak and legs. It is a land bird, and can be found in open areas. The playing fields behind the high school are a particularly good place to look without having to take a longer hike. The Wirebird is Saint Helena's national bird.


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Vital Stats

Region Info Sub-Saharan Africa
Population 664.2 million
Highest Altitude 5,892 m
Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania 19,331 ft
Lowest Altitude -0 m
Lagos Island, Nigeria -1 ft
Lowest Temperature -18.6 °C
Buffelsfontein, South Africa (2005) -1.5 °F
Highest Temperature 51.7 °C
Kalahari Desert (1948) 125.1 °F

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