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Mayotte

Mayotte
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Mayotte is a group of islands in the Indian Ocean as part of the Comoros Archipelago. It is an insular department of France. It is situated between Madagascar and Mozambique. It consists of the Mayotte Island, the Pamanzi Island, and several smaller islands. The capital city is Mamoudzou.

Mayotte has a maritime tropical climate. The hot and humid season lasts from November to April. We recommend travelling to Mayotte from May to October.

The official language is French but the majority of the population use the dialects of the Comorian language for communication. People who live in the touristic zones can speak English. The dominant religion Islam.

The tourists choose Mayotte because of its beautiful beaches covered with pink coral sand. Mayotte will satisfy the tourists who like a well-developed infrastructure and those who prefer calm and noise free out-of-town holidays.

The reefs surrounding the island are of ancient origin and have an unusual structure. In some places, they form canyons with caves and attract the divers. Snorkelling is very popular in Mayotte, because in the waters, there are many rare species of fish and shellfish.

For active tourists, many entertainments are arranged such as sea fishing, hiking across the lava fields, golf and beach volleyball.

Anyone can visit the Boutique Aquarium Mamoudzou, the Pont de Gau Ornithological Park, the Botanical Garden, and the ruins of the local fort.

Enjoy the nature on the beach close to Kani-Keli where you can swim with the turtles. In this village, the tourists can learn more about traditions of the indigenous population.

The middle of summer is the season of sales in Mayotte so anyone can buy good things for an attractive price.

Get in

By Plane

Corsair offers direct flights from Paris to Mamoudzou. The CIS tourists and EU citizens will have to take a transit flight with a transfer in Istanbul and Nairobi, Tunis and Paris, Dubai and Amsterdam.

Kenya Airways, Turkish Airlines, Tunisair, Corsair, Air France, Alitalia, Air Austral, Qatar Airways, Transaero, and Aeroflot offer direct flights to Mayotte.

By Sea

One can get to Mayotte by ship from Reunion, Mombasa, Madagascar or Zanzibar. Some cruise ships also arrive at the ports of Mayotte.

Visa

The EU residents do not need a visa to travel to Mayotte and stay there for three months.

A visa-free regime is applied to the CIS citizens if they have a valid one year Schengen visa. In all other cases, the tourists must obtain a visa at the Embassy of France or with the help of a travel agency.

Normally, the time for processing the documents for a visa is ten days.

A visa allows staying in Mayotte for 30 days.

Customs

The legislation of Mayotte does not limit the import of currency. The sum exceeding 7.000 Euros must be declared. The export of foreign currency is limited to 500 Euros.

The tourists can bring in the following goods duty-free:

  • some tobacco, alcohol, tea, coffee, and perfume;
  • some food;
  • gifts and souvenirs (the total cost must not exceed 15 Euros);
  • personal clothes and shoes.

It is strictly prohibited to import:

  • meat and dairy products except those imported from EU;
  • pets without a special certificate;
  • some medications.

It is illegal to export:

  • things made of turtle shell;
  • corals;
  • items having cultural and historical value;
  • rare plants and endangered animals;
  • ivory and reptile skin.

Cuisine

The cuisine of Mayotte is similar to the Comoros cuisine. The staple food here is meat, fish, and rice as well as many spices. The locals often add cinnamon, vanilla, cardamom, nutmeg, and cloves to the dishes. The national Mayotte cuisine was also influenced by the Indian, French, African, and Indonesian cooking traditions, which makes the traditional cuisine unique and very popular among the foodies.

The tourists can try national lamb delicacies, chicken with tomatoes Akoho Sy Voanio and various types of kebabs. A meal is served with local bread Chapatis.

The Mayotte cuisine is rich in seafood, fresh fruits and vegetables. Anyone can order lobsters, prawns, crawfish, and octopus. One of the most popular seafood dishes is Riz Des Iles and a vegetable and fish stew. For the first course, the locals commonly serve savoury chicken-based pea cream soup.

Those who have a sweet tooth can treat themselves to a traditional creamy rice dessert Ladoo with spices, Oriental sweets or exotic fruits.

A meal is served with fresh juices, water, refreshing beverages, tea or coffee.

Due to religious restrictions, alcohol is not widespread here but the tourists can but alcoholic drinks in restaurants and hotels.

Money

The official currency in Mayotte is Euro (EUR) which is divided into 100 cents. There are 5 to 500 Euro bank notes and 1 to 50 cent coins.

The tourists can exchange the currency at banks and in special exchange offices. There are exchange offices where you will not be charged a commission. Look for the sign No commission. Do not exchange the currency on the street to avoid extra charges and a fraud.

ATMs are commonly found in banks. In tour areas, Visa International, American Express, Euro card, and MasterCard are accepted. If you plan to spend most of your time abroad, make sure you have enough cash.

Most of the banks in Mayotte accept traveller’s checks. The checks in US dollars and Euro are preferable.

On the islands, there are some tax-free shops. The VAT is refunded if you make a purchase with the total value of 185 Euros.

Details of interest

Sightseeing in Mayotte

In Mayotte, there are no UNESCO sites, but it doesn’t mean there is nothing to see here for the tourists. They can go to the extinct volcano Dzaoudzi and see a crater lake Dziani. The total area of the water basin is about 10 Ha and its deepest point is over 5 meters. Because of the sulphur, the water in the lake is of a very rich emerald-green colour.

The most popular sight among the tourists is the Barrier Reef which surrounds a group of islands and forms one of the largest lagoons in the world. Water tours and diving tours are arranged for the tourists.

We recommend visiting the Historical Center of Dzaoudzi in the old capital city. In this region, there still preserved old narrow streets with eucalyptus trees and traditional Comoros districts.

Those who want to learn more about the islands should visit the Cultural Heritage Center, the old mosque, go shopping on the local market and see the sultan graves of the 19th century.

To enjoy nature, go to the Soulou Waterfall on the main island. Cold fresh water falls from 30 feet and forms a small lake right on the beach.

The tourists will surely like a trip to the reserve on the Mbouzi island. They will see a mountainous landscape covered with forests. This place is a habitat for 25 endemic animals.

Visit the M’Zambaurou fishing village and learn more about the everyday life and traditions of the local people.

Souvenirs in Mayotte

In Mayotte, the tourists usually but the following souvenirs and gifts:

  • authentic wooden, sea shell, and silver jewellery;
  • textile or wooden handmade toys;
  • pottery and decorative things;
  • crafts from coconut;
  • spices.