St Helena Island is located in the South Atlantic Ocean (latitude 15.9650° South and longitude 5.7089° West). The Island is approximately 2,500 miles (4,000 kilometres) from the east of Rio de Janeiro and approximately 1,210 miles (1,950 kilometres) from the west of Angola. The nearest landmass is Ascension Island which lies 703 miles (1131.37 kilometres) to the north of the Island. The Island measures 6 miles (10km) by 10 miles (17km), giving a total landmass of 47 square miles (112 km2).
St Helena Island, which rises from the South Atlantic Ocean, has sheer barren cliffs with valleys that steeply slope from the central ridges. There is little flat land. The highest point of St Helena is Diana’s Peak, standing at 823m above sea-level. There are no large beaches. The easily accessed black and peddle beaches are at Sandy Bay and Rupert’s Valley. Access to the sea by vehicle is very limited. The higher grounds are covered in bush and vegetation. The terrain then changes to grassland and pastures before becoming dry and mostly barren below 500m.
Climate & Weather:
Although St Helena lies well within the Tropic of Capricorn, its climate is best described as sub-tropical. Temperatures are subject to the influence of the south-east trade winds blowing over the cold benguela current – where a dull rainy morning can often lead onto a bright sunny afternoon. Temperatures and precipitation vary with altitude, and the coolest months are normally August and September and the warmest March and April.
St Helena Island is steeped in history – from the time the Island was discovered in 1502 by João da Nova, to the Island becoming the place of exile to key prisoners, including Chief Dinizulu, Boer Prisoners, Zulu Poll Tax Prisoners, Bahraini Prisoners and Napoleon Bonaparte. The recent discovery of human remains in Rupert’s Valley also suggests the Island played an important role during the Transatlantic Slave Trade.