Comoros Travel Guide
Flying under the radar in Eastern Africa, the islands that comprise the nation of Comoros have a great deal to offer the adventurous traveler.
From an Arabic culture dating back to the times when trading ships plied the East African coast in search of riches, to one of the world’s most active and largest volcanoes, there are plenty of discoveries that one can make during their time here.
Currency: Comoran Francs
Languages: Arabic, French, Shikomoro
What To Do
When you are in the town of Moroni, be sure to check out the Grand Mosque du Vendredi. An impressive mosque that stands out no matter where you are in town, its two levels of arches and minaret command attention.
Around since the early 15th century, this structure speaks to the long-standing influence that Arabic traders have had in this island archipelago.
Next, head over to the Sultan’s Palace, which can be found in the city of Mutsamudu on the island of Anjouan. Serving as the seat of power in the region during the days of the monarchy, it is now a crumbling shell of its former self.
Access to this building is restricted due to the fact that one of the floors has partially collapsed, threatening the integrity of the entire structure. However, a funding drive is well underway to begin the refurbishment of this essential piece of Comoroan history.
Begin exploring the natural assets of the Comoros by paying a visit to the island of Moheli. This island is home to two different species that are impossible or hard to find elsewhere in the world.
The first of these is the Livingstone Fruit Bat. Also known as the Livingstone Flying Fox, these gigantic flying rodents come out to feed at dusk, riding heat thermals to stay afloat as they search for fruit, seeds, nectar, and leaves to feast on.
Giant sea turtles are another magnificent creature to keep your eyes out for, as they use the beaches on this island as a nesting ground for their eggs. Partner with a conservation organization and you can help perform charity work to help keep the numbers of these graceful animals healthy for years to come.
Did you know that Comoros is home to one of the world’s largest active volcanoes? Having erupted 20 times in the past 200 years, it has a history of geological violence, but with its last bout of activity having occurred roughly ten years ago, visitors may be able to climb Mount Karthala without incident.
In addition to the ongoing activity that can be observed in its crater, the mountain is also well known for its cloud forest ecology, as well as the several species of bird that are endemic to its slopes.
Due to the intensity of the agrarian economy on Comoros, the edges of this forest are under threat, despite the intention of the government to establish a nature reserve around the mountain.
As such, the sooner you visit, the better the chance that you will be able to enjoy Mount Karthala in its natural state.
Despite its low profile on the international tourist scene, Comoros’ location in the midst of the Indian Ocean means that it has its fair share of gorgeous beaches. Make Bouni Beach your first destination, as it is one of the most popular spots among locals.
Many of them choose to celebrate their holidays here, and with a number of bungalow resorts being built, it seems that the word is getting out among intrepid travelers as well. With opportunities to play beach football and volleyball with residents, staying here will present you with multiple opportunities to integrate with the local culture.
If you are looking for a beach with photographic appeal, Chomoni Beach will prove to be an excellent choice. With coral white sand contrasting with pitch-black volcanic rock, lukewarm water, and plenty of Baobab trees lining the shore, it will be an outing that you will think back to when you recall the details of your trip to Comoros.
Finally, be sure to make time in your schedule to check out Nioumachoua Beach. With plenty of coral formations located just offshore, the snorkeling here may just prove to be one of the highlights of your trip.
What to Eat
While the cuisine in Comoros bears a great deal of resemblance to what can be found elsewhere in Eastern Africa, its location in the middle of the Indian Ocean ensures that local menus are filled with various types of seafood.
This can easily be seen in its national dish, as Lobster a la Vanille is made by cooking this crustacean in a rich broth filled with vanilla beans.
The Indian influence on this island chain is apparent with the existence of dishes such as Ambrevades au Curry. Consisting of pigeon peas that have in cooked in a curry sauce with cardamom, the hearty aroma that arises from this meal will remind you of previous travels you may have taken to the subcontinent, all while retaining its unique Comoran identity.
Roti ya ya Houma Pampa is another seafood dish that you should try while in the Comoros. Consisting of codfish that has been cooked slowly in tomato and onions, it is a fine meal to have at dinner during your time here.