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The Comoros are an island nation off the coast of East Africa, in the Indian Ocean between northern Mozambique and northern Madagascar.
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The islands of Comoros have been settled by a succession of diverse groups from the coast of Africa, Persian Gulf, Malay Archipelago and Madagascar. Swahili settlers first reached the islands as part of the great Bantu expansion that took place throughout the first millennium.
In 933CE, Al-Masudi refers to Omani sailors, who call the Comoros "The Perfume Islands" and sing of waves that break rhythmically along broad, pearl-sand beaches, the light breezes scented with ylang-ylang, a component to many perfumes.
From the 11th to 15th centuries, trade with the island of Madagascar and merchants from the Middle East flourished, smaller villages emerged, and existing towns expanded.
Portuguese explorers visited the islands of the archipelago in 1505. By 1506, the Portuguese landed on the islands and began to challenge the Bajas (Bantu Muslim chiefs) and Fanis (lesser chiefs).
Tropical marine; rainy and hot season (November to May).
- Deep sea diving, snorkelling
Visitors are advised not to eat any of the local food unless it has been cooked through. One speciality available on the island is the jackfruit, a large, green fruit (about 50 cm in length) with a taste resembling lychee.
Alcohol is readily available in Moroni from Indian and Chinese merchants near Volo Volo. Castle beer from South Africa and cheap boxed wine from France are common. Most merchants will supply black plastic bags so that no one will notice you bought alcohol ... except that they only give black bags to customers buying alcohol.
European restaurants will serve alcohol, too.
Handicrafts are not usually of good quality, though women of Mayotte as well as a few women in Grand Comore make quality baskets. One can buy CDs, colourful cloths that women wear (KMF500 for a numbawani and KMF750 for a finer shawl), beautiful scarves (KMF2,000) and other imports.
Most handicrafts and tourist curios for sale at Volo Volo market in Moroni are made in Madagascar, and sold by Malagasy expatriates in the market. Local crafts are hard to find, but some are available at CNAC in Itsandra. Unique Comorian gifts can be found in other parts of Volo Volo market. Consider locally grown spices and essential oils, home made lamps and vegetable peelers, or products made from coconuts.
Do not buy shells from vendors on the beach.
Because the Comoros are isolated islands, prices tend to be more expensive than the rest of East Africa. The cheapest hotels or bungalows in Moroni (the most expensive lodging region of the Comoros) may cost €20 or as little as €10 if you bargain hard. On the other hand, Hotel Moroni may cost hundreds. Imported goods are cheaper on Grand Comore than Moheli, but fruits and vegetables are cheaper, if less available, on Moheli. Meals in a brochetterie (cheap restaurant that serves fried meat and bananas, manioc, taro, or breadfruit) may cost up to KMF1500 (€3) on Grand Comore and as little as KMF250 (€0.50) on Moheli. Cakes (sweet bread) sold by women on the street generally cost around KMF50-100 each. One could get by on around KMF6,000-10,000 (€12-20) per day for food and lodging.
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Comoros on Wikivoyage.
Cities in Comoros
Points of Interest in Comoros
- Trek to the Karthala volcano crater (8 hours walk one way) guides available for €100.
- Lac Sale - lake adjacent to the beach beyond Mytsamiouli in Grand Comore
- Dolphins off the coast beyond Hahaya
- Livingstone Bats at Moheli
- Giant Sea Turtles laying eggs at Moheli
Old Friday Mosque - Moroni
Galawa Beach - Mitsamiouli
Bouni Beach - Bambadjani
Chomoni Beach - Chomoni
Chindini Beach - Chindini
Mount Karthala - Moroni
Mitsamiouli Beach - Mitsamiouli