Prone to coups, despite being one of the world’s poorest countries with a rocketing unemployment rate and a low level of economic activity, Comoros in Southern Africa offers many natural attractions spread across its four major islands. Attracting mostly nature lovers who come to hunt for the numerous bird and insect species found only in Comoros, others too can enjoy the slow pace of life on these tropical islands. Active volcanoes and cyclones are a threat, but if you time your trip right, you should remain grounded.

When to Go

Comoros has a tropical marine climate.

Best visited from June to October.

Best avoided from January to April as it is frequented by cyclones on those months.

The islands are stormy from November to May.

Getting There & Away

Comoros has four paved-runway airports, one on each island. The major terminals and ports are found in Moutsamoudou and Mayotte. Inter-island travel is possible by air or by sea with numerous air and sea carriers available. There are no railways and all cross-island travel is done by car or boat. Watch out for overcrowded boats when traveling by sea, and unless you are a strong swimmer, wait for the next one. Safety equipment like life jackets and rafts are often overlooked.

Health & Safety

There are frequent malaria and cholera outbreaks on all four islands. Contracting these diseases can be prevented however. Tourists should also take care to wear sun cream unless they want to look like a lobster in their holiday photos. Relatively crime-free with only a low level threat of terrorism, visitors here can relax.

Food & Hospitality

As one of the poorest countries in the world, Comoros offers few comforts and even fewer luxuries for tourists. While Moroni in Ngazidja provides the most acceptable tourist hotels, the other islands have only a few tourist facilities with basic amenities to offer. As long as you don’t turn up expecting Italian cuisine on demand and a bottle of the best Chardonnay, the basic offerings shouldn’t put too much of a damper on your holiday.

Itineraries

Three days in Ngazidja

Two days in Mayotte

Additional time

A day or two exploring the Comoran waters and wildlife

Highlights

Ngazidja: the largest and youngest island in Comoros is home to a large volcano with fresh, flowing lava. Known to the French as the Grande Comore, it houses the republic’s capital city of Moroni.

La Grille and Karthala: found north of Ngazidja, La Grille is a vast rocky plain occupying two-thirds of the island. South of Ngazidja is the world’s largest active crater, Karthala. It stands over 2,361 meters (7,700 feet) high with a diameter spanning over a mile.

Mayotte: a territorial collectivity, Mayotte is considered part-Comoros and part-France. It encompasses two other islands, Petite Terre and Grand Terre, with the island’s capital, Dzaoudzi, located on Petite Terre. Mayotte is home to one of the largest lagoons in the world which is over 1,000 square kilometers long. This lagoon is flanked by a 160-kilometer long barrier reef.

Comoran waters: are home to the coelacanth; an evolutionary wonder, this ancient fish was once thought to be extinct.

Activities

Food-tripping: is a must in Comoros, especially if you are into exotic food like barbecued goat meat. The country is also big on rice dishes and cassava. Predominantly Muslim, don’t to drink alcoholic beverages in public especially during Ramadan.

Shopping: for pots, shell and pearl jewelry, baskets and carved chests is mostly done in Ngazidja.

Island-hopping: between the four major islands of Nzwani, Ngazidja, Mayotte and Mwali.

Diving: explore the diving sites in Niuwashuma Bay (Mwali) and Trou du Prophete (Ngazidja).