The Union of Comoros is made up of four remote, small islands: Grand Comore, Moheli, Mayotte, and Anjouen. Situated between Madagascar and Mozambique in the lush and exotic Indian Ocean, the Comoros Islands lay to the south of Africa in the Mozambique Channel.
This destination is one of the lesser known Islands off Africa’s coast. The Union of Comoros has known its share of chaos and turmoil but in 1975 won its independence from France. With a new constitution drawn in 2001, now this nation has become more settled. It has also become a luxurious traveller’s holiday spot. The island is 700 square miles in size and houses no more than 700,000 people year-round. The nation’s capital, Moroni, holds the international airport.
Arabic and Swahili blend into the colorful language spoken in Comoros, but travellers will hear the natives speak French and Arabic, too. This comes as no surprise as the national religion is Islam. Seafarers made the Union of Comoros a popular stopover enroute between Africa and Asia.
Things to Do in Comoros
Locals farms produce essence of orange, ylang-ylang, jasmine, orange and cloves, pepper, nutmeg, and vanilla spice. Alcohol is largely prohibited here. Mount Karthala on Grand Comore is worth discovering. Snorkeling the vast reef is a favorite pastime. Diving is spectacular in the archipelago. So, too, are sailing and boating. Local motorized canoes, known as pirogues take visitors to view Green Turtles at the Marine Reserve.
There is much to see In the Union of Comoros. Visit the old fishing villages, waterfalls that plummet into the sea and royal tombs. Enjoy watching the Comoran dancers or take a day-trip to the perfume distilleries, unspoilt beaches, numerous mosques or dhows, the Arab sailboats used long ago.
The local dishes are worth trying are usually served with rice. Spicy sauces will smother them. Expect to see Plantain, Cassava, Barbecued goat meat, seafood and couscous on the list. Guests are generally held to a number of alcoholic drinks per person and your servers will expect a 10% tip.
Accommodation in Comoros
Accommodation is at a minimum here while Comoros is still being developed for tourism. Few budget hotels exist or pensions. The common trend is room sharing or tourists can stay in simple shelters. Moroni and Mutsamudu have the best options.
Each island does have its own airfield to making island hopping possible and there is a ferry service linking them as well. As currency exchanges are not available at the airport, come prepared. It is not difficult as US dollars, French Francs and Euros are accepted forms of currency. The climate is generally hot and humid. The rainy season runs from November to April and tornado season runs from January to April.
It is a good time to visit the Union of Comoros before a mass of tourism begins. The islands promise an exotic experience surrounded with tropical, lush vegetation and lovely turquoise sea. This is an Indian Ocean treat not to miss.
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By Jori Sams-Freelance Journalist-visit more of the creative works written by Jori Sams on her website