Tristan da Cunha is a group of volcanic islands in the South Atlantic Ocean. The Tristan archipelago is located 2,800km (1,750 miles) from South Africa.
The island is circular in shape with an average diameter of 12km (7.5 miles) and an area of 98km2 (38 square miles).
Tristan is the main island but the archipelago consists of five other smaller islands. Gough Island, Inaccessible, Nightingale, Alex Island, and Stoltenhoff.
The main island is mostly mountainous with several flat areas around the coast with its highest point known as Queen Mary’s Peak reaching a height of 2,082 meters.
To find out more visit the Tristan da Cunha Government website
The archipelago has an oceanic climate with mild temperatures and a constant moderate to heavy rainfall and an annual mean temperature of 15.1°C. Summer temperatures rarely exceed 25 °C. Prevailing winds from the northwest coming in from the tropics can cause 100% humidity and cloud.
Frequent storms bring gale force winds to the island generating an uplift of moist air creating persistent clouds and rainfall of up to 1681mm on average per year.
Frost is unknown below elevations of 500m although winter snow covers the peak and sometimes reaches lower ground. Sandy Point, on the east coast of the main island is known to be the warmest and driest place being sheltered from the prevailing winds.
- 2,082 meters is the highest point on Tristan at Queen Mary’s Peak.
- The island was discovered in 1506 by the Portuguese explorer Tristao Da Cunha.
- Gough Island and Inaccessible island are both UNESCO world heritage sites.
Situated on the northwest coast of the island is the only settlement, Edinburgh of the Seven Seas. The other islands are uninhabited with the exception of Gough island where the South African weather station is based. Operated by six staff located on the south east coast at Transvaal Bay since 1963. Gough Island and Inaccessible island are both UNESCO world heritage sites.
To find out more about the outer islands visit the Tristan da Cunha Government website.
The island was discovered in 1506 by the Portuguese explorer Tristao Da Cunha, who was unable to make a landing due to rough seas. The main island was named after himself. “Ilha de Tristao Da Cunha”. It was later anglicised by the British ‘Tristan da Cunha’ Island. 140 years later the first recorded landing was made by the crew of the Heemstede. The first survey of the island was made by the French frigate L , Heure du Berger. However, only 30 years later the first permanent settler arrived at Tristan, Mr. Jonathan Lambert who declared the islands his property and named them the islands of refreshment. He came from Salem Massachusetts, United States. Lambert’s time on the island was short-lived as he died in a boating accident only two years later.
To find out more about Tristan da Cunha's history visit the government website.
With a population of only around 242 (and around 30 additional expatriates, their families, and visitors) Tristan da Cunha is the most remote populated archipelago in the world.
The community is very family orientated, many activities involve the everyone. All land on the island is communally owned. Besides subsistence agriculture, the main industry on the island is commercial fishing and tourism. Most of the islanders are farmers but also have an income earning money from fishing and jobs provided by the Tristan da Cunha Government.
To find out more about the Tristan da Cunha community visit the government website.
Marine Protection Zone
The journey to our Marine Protection Zone began in 2010 when the Tristan da Cunha community started discussing with how to protect our pristine ocean. We were already managing our lobster fishery sustainably, but we wanted to go further.