The Comoros or officially the Union of the Comoros is an island state situated not far from the south-eastern African coast between Northern Mozambique and Northern Madagascar. The archipelago is washed by the waters of the Indian Ocean The capital city is Moroni.
The climate on the archipelago is wet tropical. A hot summer with everyday rains begins in November and lasts until April. The most comfortable time for holidays on the islands is a dry and warm winter, which lasts from May to October.
The officially acknowledged religion is the Islam. The population speak three official languages: Comorian, Arab, and French.
Many tourists prefer to spend their holidays on the Comoros coral reefs which surround the island and attract the lovers of diving and snorkelling. The most popular beach resort is the Grand Comore. The beaches on the Mayotte Island are also popular. The tourists can go to the sea safari, dive and surf.
The Anjouan Island is the main destination for ecological tourism. The tourists can take an excursion to the ylang-ylang plantations and enjoy the beauty of the local rivers. If you like active holidays, there are hiking, mountain routes and besides, anyone can try and climb the Mount Ntingi.
If you prefer independent tourism, you should go to the smallest Moheli Island and enjoy the privacy and the virgin nature.
There are no direct flights between the Comoros and CIS.
Air Austral offers the flights to the Comoros from the neighbouring countries and large cities in France. The travellers from the European Union have to take transit flights with a stop on the Reunion Island. Air Madagascar offers the flights to the Comoros from Madagascar. One can get to the islands from Kenya with Kenya Airways. The company also offers connecting flights to London, Dubai, and Paris flights.
The travellers can get to the Comoros by sea from Zanzibar, reunion, Mombasa, Mauritius or Madagascar.
The CIS and EU tourists do not have to obtain a visa beforehand to travel to the Comoros. A visa is issued on arrival at the airport. The tourists will need to fill in the form and also obtain a permit for staying in the country at the Immigration Service in Moroni.
Each tourist undergoes fingerprint scanning, his or her photo is taken, then visa sticker with all the data is printed and it is stuck in the passport.
There are no restrictions concerning the movements between the islands. A visitor visa is valid for 45 days.
On the Comoros, the import of national and foreign currency is not restricted but large sums of money must be declared.
The tour] are allowed to bring in the following things duty-free:
- some alcohol and tobacco;
- one bottle of perfume per person;
- personal clothes, shoes, and accessories.
It is prohibited to import:
- fruits and vegetables;
- non-canned meat products;
- any products violating the moral norms of the Islam.
It is not allowed to export:
- products made of corals, sea shells, and shell of turtles;
- industrial minerals;
- items having artistic, cultural and historical value (without a special permit from the authorities);
- gold nuggets, precious and semi-precious unprocessed gems.
The main ingredients that are used for preparing traditional dishes are rice and meat. The locals always add such spices as cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, vanilla, and nutmeg. The local cuisine is unique because it combines French, Indian, Arab, African, and Indonesian cooking traditions. The foodies will be definitely delighted with the local cuisine.
On the Comoros, you will have a chance to try bread Chapatis, numerous veal and chicken dishes, traditional kebabs and curries, Arabic couscous and, of course, crawfish, lobsters, octopus, prawn, and fish.
Common side dishes are beans, rice, corn, cassava. Potatoes and cabbage are prepared less often.
The vegetarians and the followers of clean eating will surely like the Comoros cuisine as it is rich in seafood and vegetable dishes.
The tourists should try the chicken and tomatoes dish Akoho Sy Voanio, a fish stew with vegetables and greens Riz Des Iles. For the first course, order chicken cream soup with peas.
The common dessert on the Comoros is Oriental sweets. One of the traditional sweet dishes is Ladoo. They make it from rice with jaggery, and spices.
A meal is always served with fresh juices, coffee, and tea.
Alcohol is not widespread here due to religious restrictions, but the tourists can order alcoholic drinks in European restaurants. Some alcoholic drinks can be bought in some shops and mini-bars.
The official currency on the Comoros is the Comorian Franc (KMF) which is divided into 100 centimes. In circulation are the banknotes from 500 to 10.000 KMF, 1 to 20 KMF coins, and 20 centimes coins.
The national currency is pegged to the Euro, so anyone can easily pay with the European currency.
The tourists should exchange the currency at banks on the large islands of the archipelago. The National Bank of Comoros offers the best exchange rate and it works almost with all the world currencies.
On the smaller islands, such as Moheli and Anjouan, there are exchange offices in supermarkets and hotels but they offer higher exchange rates.
You can cash traveller’s checks only at the National bank and the process will be much easier if you have the checks in Euro. Credit cards are accepted only at banks and in international hotels.
There are ATMs only at the airport in Moroni.
Details of interest
Sightseeing on the Comoros
In the capital city of the Comoros, Moroni, the tourists can see the ancient stone quays, island architecture with old banisters and galleries in the Arab Quarter and visit the old mosques.
The Old Friday Mosque built in 1472 in the Moroni Harbor is of a great touristic interest. The mosque is built in the Oriental style and covered with white limestone.
Visit the National Museum of the Comoros and learn more about this island state.
Not far from the city, there is an active Kartal volcano, the main natural sight of the capital city. A very colourful sight of Moroni is the Moroni Market.
The lovers of an out-of-town tourism should visit the Anjouan island and climb the Mount Ntingi, take an excursion to the jungles and mahogany trees groves with the orchids growing there. In the administrative centre of the island, the city of Mutsamudud, the tourists will visit the Sultan’s Palace and the Mosque du Vendredi, see the Dziankoudre Waterfall.
The Shisiwa Unefu island close to Moheli is a sight itself due to its untouched virgin nature. On the beaches, the tourists can watch the green sea turtles.
One of the best places for diving and underwater guided excursions is the Chomoni Beach in the southern part of the Grand Comore. On the northern part of the island, there is a unique natural monument the Salt Lake.
The lovers of extreme tourism should head right to the Mayotte island for scuba diving in the coral reefs and underwater caves the age of which is about 40.000.000 years. The island is recognised as a place with great cultural significance preserving customs and traditions of the Comoros.
Souvenirs on the Comoros
On the Comoros, the travellers can buy:
- handmade jewellery boxes and woven baskets;
- embroidered kofia hats;
- essential oils;
- stone figurines;
- crafts from coconuts;
- oil lamps.