The Comoros, officially the Union of the Comoros, is a sovereign archipelago island nation off the coast of East Africa, in the Indian Ocean. It is located at the northern end of the Mozambique Channel off the eastern coast of Africa, between north-eastern Mozambique and north-western Madagascar. In addition to several smaller islands, the Comoros is comprised of the four major islands in the volcanic Comoros archipelago: north-westernmost Grande Comore (Ngazidja), Mohéli (Mwali), Anjouan (Nzwani), and south-easternmost Mayotte (Maore). It is the only state to be a member of the African Union, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Francophonie, Indian Ocean Commission, and the Arab League. Its capital is Moroni.
The Comoros is one of the least populous countries (but also one of the most densely populated) in the world, having a population of less than a million. The islands share mostly African-Arab origins, Sunni Islam being the dominant religion, representing 98% of the population. The minority of the population in Mayotte are mostly immigrants from Metropolitan France.
The Comoros’ four developed islands are home to interesting and exciting tourist spots and activities. Grande Comore, the largest of the four, is home to Mt Karthala, the world’s largest active volcano. The aftermath of its eruption in 2005 resulted in a stunning desert landscape on the mountain, perfect for hiking and trekking. Mayotte, the only island of the Comoros that is still a part of France, is distinctly French and boasts white, lovely beaches. Visit Arab Quarter in Place de Badjanani, a neighbourhood located around the port and home to the Ancienne Mosquée de Vendredi. See its narrow streets lined with buildings dating back from the Swahili period, which can still be distinguished due to the carved Swahili doors found on many houses. If you’re up for a hiking adventure, climb Mt Ntingui, the highest point on Anjouan. See all four islands of the archipelago from the top.
How to get around within Comoros
There are three ways of getting around the islands. Since it’s an archipelago, there are inter-island flights offered by Comores Aviation and Air Services Comores – all flights depart from Hahaya Airport, which is located approximately 40 minutes away from Moroni. Small, fiberglass fishing boats also serve as a form of transport between the islands. Boats run from Chindini (located on the southern coast of Grand Comore) to Hoani (northern coast of Moheli). A more convenient way is to board large ferries from Moroni to Foumboni on Moheli, or the larger and safer ferry boat that plies from the east coast of Grand Comore to Anjouan. There’s no official public transportation system in the Comoros. However, hitchhiking is common.
How to get there
The Comoros is served by four airports: Ouani Airport, Mohéli Bandar Es Eslam Airport, Iconi Airport, and Prince Said Ibrahim International Airport; two of which are located in the capital, Moroni. Kenya Airways offers flights from Nairobi, connecting with Dubai, London, Mumbai, and Paris. Air Austral flies from Paris and Marseille in France; Comores Aviation flies from Tanzania and Madagascar; Yemenia Airways fly to Sana’a, Yemen; African Express flies to Mombasa, Dubai; Precision Air flies from Tanzania; and Air Madagascar offers flights from Madagascar almost daily. Aside from air transit, it’s also possible to enter the Comoros via boat. There are freighters that leave from Madagascar and Zanzibar.
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