Moving Here

MV Karoline discharging cargo at Rupert’s jetty.

Moving to the Island and deciding what to bring can be quite overwhelming, to help ease the situation you might find the guides and information below useful.

It is also useful to speak with someone on the island before your arrival to talk about the practicalities of life on the island.  The United Kingdom Representative or Central HR can provide you with a contact.

Household goods and baggage

The freight ship transports all household goods and freight to the Island.  Goods are transhipped via Africa.


Dress on the island is casual but there are occasions for formal wear.  Public Service employees are expected to dress according to the nature of their work – office attire is similar to UK Offices in the summer.  During the hotter, summer months in Jamestown, thinner fabrics would be more suitable.  Not all men choose to wear a necktie or a suit when not attending formal meetings.

Outside of work, shorts and t-shirt are the norm.  Pack for the weather (11C – 30C); waterproofs for rainy days, jeans, sweaters and jumpers for cooler ones. 

Buying clothes and shoes is limited on the Island and it is recommended to bring most of the items you will need.  Mail order is an option, with a 5% import duty charged on clothing and 20% on shoes and most other items.  The UK VAT is allowed be deducted from cost price.

There is no dry cleaning service on the Island which should be considered when deciding what to bring.

St Helena uses 240v with square pin plugs just like the UK.

If you are buying new equipment to bring with you, it is worth bearing in mind that reliability is the most important concern.  Island facilities for repairs are very limited and sending overseas for parts or repair services is costly and time-consuming.

Stereo equipment, TVs, DVD player etc. can be brought in as well as a range of other smaller electrical equipment, however some choice is available on the island, but such items are usually more expensive. 

What To Bring

Specific items to bring will depend upon the following: personal needs; what is provided with the accommodation; the balance between limits on shipping volumes and costs; and what is available on the Island. 

The following items should be considered, although the majority can, subject to availability, be bought on the Island:

Stereo, TV, DVD player, Kindle, Tablets, External Hard Drives/DVDs/CDs, particularly if you have children

Kitchen equipment, Crockery, Glassware, Cutlery, Toaster, Iron, Food Processor/Blender, Coffee Maker, Kettle/Jug, Microwave Oven.

Stereo, TV, DVD player, Kindle, Tablets, External Hard Drives/DVDs/CDs, particularly if you have children

Pictures and ornaments, Rugs, Books/games, Children’s toys

Electric Dehumidifier*, Heater*, Camera, Tools

IT Equipment (e.g. laptop, memory sticks, external hard drive, headphones)

Sports equipment e.g. golf clubs, racquets, swimming/diving gear, mask & snorkel, hiking boots, walking sticks, backpack, reusable water bottles, mountain bikes

Also useful to bring as only limited availability on the Island

Also useful to bring as only limited availability on the Island

Second Fridge or Freezer, (especially if you wish to buy in bulk), Water Filter Jug & Cartridges, Yoghurt Maker, Bread Maker, Multi-Point Adapters, Vacuum Cleaner, Tumble Drier, Clothes Airer, BBQ Stand

*These items would be needed if Officers live in a property in the higher, damper parts of the Island.

Although a fridge is provided in most accommodation, some Officers have found a second fridge/freezer to be of use, particularly as most fruits and vegetables are only available at irregular intervals and it is useful to have plenty of space to store these commodities.

The St Helena ‘Bring and Buy’ facebook page is popular and can be useful for obtaining items, new and second-hand.

It is worth considering bringing items that can make your rented accommodation more homely, e.g. pictures, personal duvet covers etc.

Contact Lenses & Spectacles

Contact lens wearers will need supplies of solutions etc.  However, ophthalmic and medical opinion is that the use of contact lenses on the Island is not recommended, as there are risks of contact lens wear, due to the dust in the atmosphere, and there is a difficulty in providing emergency eye care treatment.  Despite that opinion, there are many people who do wear contact lenses.

It is recommended that spectacle wearers bring an additional pair of glasses as repairs to lenses are not available on the island, although there is a local gentleman who repairs the frames if they are not too badly damaged.

Medical Supplies

You are strongly advised to bring supplies of any medicines, allergy treatments, special creams and supplements.

Special Occasions

Consideration should be given to such things as birthdays and Christmas, as the choice of goods can be limited.  Toys and books are sold on the Island, but the choice is, again, limited and availability varies.

Import Duty

Import duty is charged on a range of items and a full list (PDF document) is available at this Customs Ordinance link

You will need to advise HM Customs (within two weeks of your arrival) if you intend to ship goods to the island within the first six months after your arrival.


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