Leisure & Recreation
A round at the Longwood Golf Club
St Helena’s volcanic landscape makes hiking one of the most popular activities, one that offers quite spectacular views.
There are numerous footpaths and 21 ‘Post Box’ walking trails etched out for exploring the island, each with varying difficulty, length and scenery. Proper footwear is essential and a guide is recommended for the challenging routes.
Surrounded by ocean, the Island is visited by whale sharks, humpback whales, is home to dolphins, devil rays, and a variety of fish which makes for great diving, boat trips, snorkelling and fishing.
Beaches however, are in short supply and because of strong currents and undertows, swimming in the sea is considered safe only, off the wharf in Jamestown, and from the black sand beaches at Rupert’s Valley and Lemon Valley, popular on weekends and holidays.
Sandy Bay beach is fine for picnics and barbeques but is not safe for swimming. The public outdoor swimming pool in Jamestown is open year-round.
Activities such as Kayaking and Paddle boarding are possible in certain locations and recreational fishing is popular on the island.
There is a small yacht club, for a small membership fee, you will have access to club house facilities on the seafront.
There are two dive club on the island, they offer a mixture of diving and fishing excursions as well as training opportunities.
Jonathan the tortoise
The island has a football and cricket league (new players always welcome), golf and skittle competitions, shooting, archery, badminton, tennis, squash, go-carting, boot camp, yoga and indoor gym facilities.
Let’s not forget the main tourist attractions; Jonathan the 190-year-old tortoise (in 2022) the world’s oldest living land animal and oldest chelonian (ever), Napoleonic history, and the 699 steps of Jacob’s Ladder.
There are no cinemas, but there are a few DVD hire shops and it is advisable to bring a hard drive library of movies and box sets. With the upgrade of internet connectivity expected in early 2022, access to online streaming services will become more easily accessible.
Island restaurants and eateries offer a choice of casual dining to silver service, street food and takeaways. It is advisable to book restaurant meals in advance as some open only on bookings.
The Inside St Helena app contains an extensive list of food venues, with details that include a description of the meals served, address, opening times and interactive phone, email and website/social media links.
Comprehensive listings can also be found on the St Helena Tourism website.
There are two local radio stations; SAMS (South Atlantic Media Services) and Saint FM. They run a radio service which broadcasts local programmes including news, announcements and advertisements and relay BBC World Service programmes. They also compile weekly newspapers, the ‘Sentinel’ and ‘The Independent’ which contain local news, advertisements, etc.
Swimming with whale sharks
Swimming with whale sharks
There is a Public Library in Jamestown. Whilst new books are purchased from a very limited budget, books are also donated from time to time.
There are a number of hairdressing salons, offering cuts, styling and colouring services. Salon’s do not currently offer the service of hair extensions/weaves.
There are a couple of beauty salon’s offering massages, waxing, facials, manicures, pedicures and nail treatments.
St Helena is a small Island, with a slow-paced lifestyle and is very remote from the ‘rest of the world’. With this in mind, be prepared to catch a bout of island fever aka cabin fever; ‘claustrophobic irritability or restlessness from being stuck on an isolated location for an extended period of time’ (Wikipedia). To help, it would be advisable to enjoy and explore the outdoors and get involved in the island community and activities.
In this small community, it can be a case of everybody knows everybody, people are inquisitive of newcomers and generally likes to know what’s happening within their community. Saints are known for their friendliness.