WATCH: Remembering Napoleon on the island of Saints

2016-05-05 15:33
Post a comment 0

Cape Town - Pegged as one of the last untapped outposts on the globe, interest in the Island of St Helena is rapidly gaining momentum as its new airport prepares to usher in the new and bid farewell to a golden RMS era. 

While the island is said to be an adventurer's launchpad more than it is a  beachgoer's hotbed, one of the interesting things about this unique piece of rock in the middle of the South Atlantic ocean is that it also happens to be the spot where French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte died in exile at Longwood House - on 5 May, 1821 to be exact.

Napoleon commemoration

The islanders, better known as Saints, mark the event annually with a “Moment de Memoire”  at his Tomb in Sane Valley, which this year took place on Sunday 1 May. The commemoration coincides with the one held at Les Invalides in Paris, France, where Napoleon’s body is now interred.

And yet another historic figure will be 'laid to rest' come July when the official air route to the island is expected to kick in - setting in motion the long good bye to one of the last remaining Royal Mail Ships, the RMS St Helena.

The iconic boat has been ferrying passengers and cargo to and from the namesake island since 1990. The 6 700-ton vessel has reportedly travelled 2.5 million miles and carried 101 000 passengers since taking over the route from Cape Town to the outpost. 

Sailing beneath the Tower of London

But what will become of the ship once the airport takes over? As it stands, several potential buyers are believed to have expressed interest in purchasing the RMS St Helena - but not before she will make a farewell visit to London in June, sailing under the Tower Bridge for the first time. What a voyage it will be...

Interested to know a bit more about the island, check out this video produced by St Helena Tourism - 'A rare unspoilt beauty, and now yours to explore'. 

What to read next on Traveller24:

First large passenger jet lands on St Helena

WATCH: First large passenger jet lands on St Helena 

PICS: First jet aircraft touches down in St Helena from Johannesburg