Comoros is an island country. Comoros is maybe most chilled out Islamic countries. They are surrounded by Ocean with little outside transportation. Women are wearing colourful hijabs when outside. They are so chilled out that no one minds that local stationery are selling postcards with topless African women
Religion advises good values and prohibits poor ones when government, researchers or media cannot. For example the country has low number of people infected by HIV compared to other African states
After my trip I’ve received questions about visiting Comoros so here’re the most frequently asked ones
How do I exchange my money to Comoros francs?
As of 2018 November, it is best to bring Euro notes to the island. They can be exchanged at most shops for slightly better than the official rate (€1 = 500 francs). Note that a barely noticeable torn banknotes won’t be exchanged. There are four ATM located in Moroni at roughly same bank area. Most were declining debit card Mastercard issued in the UK for no apparent reason even logo on the machine stated that it accepts Mastercards. One bank was charging about 10% of total withdrawing amount as transaction fees. Therefore it’s the most cost efficient to bring cash in Euro. Other hard currency might be exchanged at Bureau de change.
How to get a visa for Comoros?
As of November 2018, Comoros visa is issued on arrival at Moroni airport. Price is €30 or 50 USD paid in cash. Have an exact amount in cash because change might not be given. Also, there are no ATMs or currency exchange offices in or around the airport so have the cash for a visa before arrival. You will have to write down a place of residence in Comoros during your stay in the immigration form however this is not checked. After immigration, your luggage might be searched however it looked that interrogation by security officers was genuine and not seeking for brides.
How to get to Comoros?
Ethiopian Airlines flies daily direct from Addis Ababa via Dar es Salaam connecting with 100+ destinations around the world. Ethiopian Airlines have a promotion to give free stopover in Addis Ababa
Does anyone speak English?
Finding a fluent English speaker is a very rare occurrence. However, an educated soul will know a few words in English. Your best bet would be to learn French which has a strong influence on media, education and business.
What to do in Comoros?
Mitsamiouli beach. Lovely white sand beach as from honeymoon postcard picture. However both male and female are expected to wear long trousers and t-shirts even when swimming but this is not enforced
- Moroni old mosque. The iconic photo of Comoros.
- Moroni medina. Oldtown next to Moroni old mosque. Famous for its narrow streets and maze-like architecture.
- Iconi crater and mosque. One can climb the top of the crater for a view of Iconi village. There is a stone wall on top.
Lac de Sal. There is a track around and down to the lake.
- National Museum of Comoros
- Observe locals bringing catches back from the ocean, follow the fish journey to being sold at the market and try it out at a local restaurant
What to do?
- Celebrate football with Comorians who are crazy for it. If a match is won, all islanders will start running around in groups holding flags, riding on car roofs, play drums and sign.
- Trekking to Karthala volcano crater - an active volcano and the highest peak in Comoros. Famous for its crater. Guides available €60-100.
What does it takes to see Kartala volcano crater?
The entry to the region is free. There is nobody guarding the entrance and charging for it.
Guides available. It is possible to do as a one long day hike for €60 or overnight for €100 at a small settlement around 800 meters above sea level. There’s no such thing as tourist agencies around the city advertising the hike, so to find a guide you need to go to Mvouni village next to Moroni and ask around. It’s a small village so you should have no problems getting a number of a guide.
The day starts early at 6 am at Mvouni where you meet the guide. There you start hiking up-a-hill for next 6-7 hours walking 13 km and climbing 1950 meters ascent. Scenery change is dramatic, you start at tropical, green and humid jungles, while you walk trees get thinner, smaller and less dense. Some parts are burned down to plant more profitable fauna. At the highest point of the hike, you’re surrounded just by bushes around. Thereafter you climb down to a crater, walk on grey sand. As you get closer to the crater, cracks in a rock releases stream, it gets pretty warm. The crater itself is huge and culminates the hike. From there it’s another 2 hours down to the basecamp which you reach at 2-3 pm. It’s a small settlement about 800 meters above sea level constituted of 5-8 tinplated sheds. Your guide might prepare dinner for both of you. Next day awaits other 2-3 hours hike down to the starting point. You might be back to Moroni city centre by 11 am. One day hike would start at 6 am and finish 5-7 pm depending on speed.
WARNING: Volcano is considered very active. It erupted 20 times since the 19th century, last time being 2005.
What to eat in Comoros?
As for a small island country surrounded by the Ocean, fish and seafood is the main quality food source for Comorians. Men sail away from the island early morning in boats to come back before dusk with a fish to sell.
Interesting food itinerary would be to observe men coming back from the sea with their catches. This is next to a harbour. Many locals are already hanging around there to buy fish, meet friends and just pass time. Sometimes fisherman returns with a bigger fishes for example swordfish. Later go to Volo Volo market to see the same fish being sold and butchered. As a conclusion to the trip, visit local restaurants throughout the city to taste sea goods. Daily menu will vary depending on the catch of the day.
Do you have any cool video mate?
What about street pics?