Georgetown (Ascension Island)

Photo © Gelli

Travel Guide Africa Ascension Island Georgetown

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Introduction

Georgetown is the capital of Ascension Island with a total population of about 600 inhabitants. Located on the west side of the island, it is a small town but with all the basic needs for the local people like a hospital, police station, post offices, a supermarket and the St. Mary's Church at the town centre. Children however have to go further inland to attend school and Georgetown remains the cultural heart of the island where most activities are based or started. There are a few facilities for travellers.

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Sights and Activities

  • Fort Hayes, (There are signs pointing to it near the port). M 5PM-7PM, Sa 10AM-noon, or by special arrangement if possible (call 2326(W) or 2455(H)).
  • Fort Thornton, (Across the port from Fort Hayes).
  • St. Mary's Anglican Church. It's part of Diocese of Cape Town along with its counterpart in St. Helena. Built in mid 19th Century as the Naval Church. Has much history laid on the Wall Tablets inside.

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Events and Festivals

  • January 1 - New Year's Day Public holiday is the 2 January if 1 January is a Sunday; public holiday is the 3 January if 1 January is a Saturday
  • 3rd Monday in April Queen's Birthday (Elizabeth II's actual birthday is April 21)
  • May or June - Ascension Day
  • December 25 - Christmas Day The public holiday may be on a different day
  • December 26 or 27 - Boxing Day. If the 26 December is a Sunday, then Boxing Day is held on 27 December; the public holiday may be on a different day

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Getting There

By Plane

The airport is just about 8 kilometres south of Georgetown. The airport and land-bridge air services to Ascension Island are operated by the Royal Air Force. Flights to Ascension Island are operated by a special RAF charter service who allow a limited number of civilian passengers on board. Note that it is not possible to book flights until you have proof of your onward sea passage. Departures are from the Brize Norton RAF airbase in Oxfordshire.

Cancellation insurance is highly advised as the charter flight is subject to changes in date according to operational requirements, whilst the RAF reserves the right to refuse civilian passengers without reason. Even with a confirmed booking, civilian access to the flight is also strictly subject to change at short notice if military requirements dictate it. More details on prices and schedules can be found through the Ascension Island travel agency.

By Boat

The Royal Mail Ship "Saint Helena" travels regularly between Saint Helena and Ascension Island, Walvis Bay and Cape Town. The schedule is primarily designed to meet the needs of locals and cargo for St. Helena, and thus follows a timetable but not a consistent routing. In general terms, the ship leaves Cape Town once a month, before heading to St. Helena, sometimes via Walvis Bay. From St. Helena it will then run 1 or 2 shuttles to Ascension Island, before returning to Cape Town, again sometimes via Walvis Bay. Occasionally, Cape Town is omitted, and the ship returns to St. Helena directly from Walvis Bay.

Twice a year (in March and October) the ship travels from St. Helena via Ascension to the UK, currently docking in Portland on the south coast.

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Getting Around

As there is no public transport on the island, all visitors that wish to see something are required to rent a car. Several companies offer rental cars, but they are not very cheap. There is about 40 kilometers of tarred roads on the island and all major sights can be visited in a few days. Bikes can be rented as well, and if you like hiking then you are on the right spot as well.
Recently, taxis have been introduced on the island, so if you only want to take a car once or twice and you are with several people, this makes for a nice option as well.

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Eat

Because everything is imported, prices for food are very high on the island. If you get the chance to go out fishing with the locals, you may walk away with a bag of tuna. Sometimes the community hosts a fish fry that is open to everyone.

There are very few places to eat, with odd opening hours:

  • The Restaurant, in the Obsidian Hotel, Georgetown. Breakfast 7:30AM-9AM; dinner 7PM-8:30PM. For dinners bookings are really required.
  • Snack Bar, at Volcano Club at the US base. Tu-F 5PM-9PM, Sa 4PM-9PM (last orders at 8:50PM). American-style fast food.

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Drink

  • The Anchor Inn, in the Obsidian Hotel, Georgetown. 6:30PM-11PM daily.
  • The Saints' Club, Georgetown. The bar opens in evenings.
  • Two Boats Club, Two Boats village. The bar is open from 7:30PM.
  • Volcano Club, at the US base. From 5PM. Seems to be the most crowded venue on the island and has the best selection of alcohols.

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Sleep

The only hotel, Obsidian, with restaurant and car hire, closed September 2017.

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Keep Connected

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

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Contributors

as well as Hien (6%), hasbeen (4%)

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This is version 11. Last edited at 12:19 on May 6, 19 by Utrecht. 4 articles link to this page.

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