Transport in Saint Helena

Saint Helena has 138 kilometres (86 mi) — 118 kilometres (73 mi) paved and 20 kilometres (12 mi) unpaved — of roads.[1] The only major harbour is James Bay at Jamestown, Saint Helena, which has customs and immigration buildings. There is no merchant marine.


Saint Helena has its own vehicle registration plate system. Traffic drives on the left as is the case in the United Kingdom itself. Indeed, two of the nearest countries to the islands — South Africa and Namibia — also drive on the left. The speed limit is 30 mph (48 km/h) across the island, and with many of the roads single lane and on steep slopes the local etiquette is that drivers heading downhill give way to those coming up.

A minibus offers a basic service to carry people around Saint Helena, with most services designed to take people into Jamestown for a few hours on weekdays to conduct their business. Car rental is available for visitors.


Saint Helena does not have an airport but after many years of negotiation an airport building project is now underway, due for completion in February 2016. In November 2011 a deal between the British government and South African company Basil Read was signed and the airport is proposed to open in 2016, with flights to and from South Africa.[2]

An airport was built on Ascension during World War II to be used as a staging point for aircraft being ferried from factories in Canada and the United States to the war in North Africa. At the end of the war the airport was abandoned, subsequently re-opening when Ascension started to be used as base for monitoring space launches and ICBM tests. Ascension airport is now known as RAF Wideawake. The only way to fly to Ascension is to fly with the RAF via RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire, England on an overnight charter, operated (as of September 2010) by an Air Seychelles Boeing 767-300ER. A limited number of civilians are allowed on this flight but fares are high. Transferring from Ascension to Saint Helena takes two days on the RMS Saint Helena.


The Saint Helena Railway Company built an inclined-plane railway on the island in 1829.[3] It became a steep staircase, Jacob's Ladder, and the island no longer has any railways.

See also

External links

  • BBC News- "Saint Helena to get first airport"


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