"THE MOST REMOTE ISLAND ON EARTH" Tristan da Cunha by jorgejuansanchez
Tristan da Cunha Travel Guide: 22 reviews and 102 photos
Tristan da Cunha is an archipelago composed by Tristan da Cunha Island (10 square kilometres), Gough island (inhabited by six South African scientists), plus uninhabited Inaccessible, Nightingale and two smaller ones.
It is not easy to travel to Tristan da Cunha. The island has no airport and very few ships go there.
During the austral summer there are frequent cruises calling in that island in their way to or from Antarctica, and they allow a short transit in the island (a couple of hours). Unfortunately, due to the frequent treacherous conditions of the waters, they very rarely disembark the tourists to the island. There is no harbour in Tristan.
Better do not count on that possibility to visit Tristan da Cunha properly.
In fact, only three ships have a regular schedule to Tristan da Cunha, from Cape Town:
- SA Agulhas is a research ship and belongs to the South Africa Government. In exchange for the lease of Gough Island for meteorological purposes, they call in Tristan and in Gough Island during their journey to the South African bases in Antarctica and accept tourists. They will be disembarked in Tristan during three weeks, after that they will pick them up to return them to Cape Town.
The problem is that, perhaps, 3 weeks is a lot of time for an island inhabited by only 270 persons with seven family names. The only activities are climbing the volcano (2000 metres high) during the summer season, fishing lobsters with the natives (if you make friendship with them), or playing golf.
- Edinburgh is a fishing boat that travels to Tristan two o three times every year to fish lobsters around the archipelago. They only accept twelve passengers, but the local Tristans have preference, so, very often there are no places available for tourists. Furthermore, they will never confirm you the place. You have to risk until the last moment (that is why they never accept the payment of the journey until the last day, that is, 800 US dollars for a round trip journey, including meals). Sometimes the tourists travel to Cape Town, wait for days, and in the last moment their seats are cancelled owing to local Tristans wishing to get back home, or to a doctor who has to travel to Tristan.
- Kelso, another fishing boat, has better conditions on board (the cabins are more spacious). It also travels two or three times a year to Tristan.
If you chose the Edinburgh or the Kelso to travel to Tristan, then you will spend around one week in the island before going back to Cape Town (although you can arrange a longer stay, arriving, for instance, with a ship, and going back to Cape Town with another one two months later).
Calculate about 7 days for the westbound journey, and six days for the eastbound one. In winter the navigation takes longer (In August 2007 it took me 9 days to Tristan and 10 days back to Cape Town).
In Tristan there is a hostel. It costs 15 pounds per night. You can live with a family and then they will charge you 30 pounds per day with the three meals included.
I can only recommend you to stay with a family instead to live in the sad hostel alone. At least that is what I did and was very satisfied. They prepared me delicious lasagnes, lobsters, beers, chocolate handmade cakes… I was really spoilt by the Swans family where I lived.
Tristans really love visitors.
There is Internet, Post Office, a supermarket where you can buy food, a bar with swimming pool, and a cafeteria open in the evenings where you can play billiard while drinking a beer (or more!) or any liquor (whiskey is very popular among the locals).
There is a Catholic and an Anglican Churches.
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