Comoros, Africa - Wontra

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Welcome to Comoros

Comoros

Capital: Moroni

Currency: Comoran Franc (KMF)

Dialling Code: +269

Driving Side: Right

Languages: Arabic, French, Comorian (blend of Swahili and Arabic)

Religion: Sunni Islam

Time Zone: UTC +3

Population: 773,000

Sitting off the coast of East Africa, the Union of the Comoros (or simply Comoros or Comoro Islands) is a sovereign island nation‎ located between Northern Madagascar and Northern Mozambique. The island nation, n‎amed after the Arabic word for Moon - 'Qamar', comprises of three major islands - Grande Comore (Ngazidja); Moheli (Mwalli) and Anjouan (Nzwani), as well as several islets. The fourth island - Mayotte is admistered by France.

Natives of Comoros are a mix of Arabs, Malay and Africans. ‎The ‎capital, Moroni on the Grand Comore, is the largest city and the place that host ‎the major landmarks such as Badjanani Mosque and Karthala volcano as well as the hotels, mountain sceneries, shopping centres and International airport.‎

The beaches of Grande Comore and Mohéli are not only attractive; they also make the little known Comoros a viable option for beach holidays. The richness of the landscape also makes it an option for traditional seaside tourism and eco tourism. The salt lake of Bangouakouni, located north of Grande Comore, is also a very popular destination.

Despite an abundant wealth of natural resources for tourism, the Comoros lacks an established tourist industry compared to other island nations in the region - Réunion, Mauritius, Seychelles and Madagascar. Also, tourists are very reluctant to visit, due to the long history of political unrests and coups. The ecnonomy depends on cloves and vanilla for most of its export earnings. It is also the world’s biggest producers of ylang ylang, an essence used in perfumes

Information & Facts

Attraction Overview

 

Karthala Volcano

Moroni is a good base for a climb up the Karthala Volcano (2, 361 metres), which boasts spectacular views of the still active crater. You can gaze inside and see the smoke rising. The volcano erupted quite recently, about three years ago. With the access road and the climb, you should allow several hours for the climb. An early start is advisable. Take plenty of water and perhaps some fruit with you.

Mount Ntingui

The hard and sleep climb from Lac Dzialandzé up to the normally cloud-covered summit of 1595meter high Mount Ntingui is tough but rewarding. As it is the highest point on Anjouan, on a rare clear day, you will have stunning views over all four of the islands of the archipelago that makes up the Comoros.

Arab Quarter

The Arab Quater is made up by the neighbourhood around the port and the Ancienne Mosquée de Vendredi (old Friday mosque). It is a medina with narrow streets lined with buildings dating back to Swahili times. It much looks like the better known Stone Town on the island of Zanzibar although it is much smaller. Still, it is just as good and sees far few travellers. Especially the carved Swahili doors found on many houses are worth the stroll.

Climate

Tropical marine; rainy and hot season (November to May).

Communications

The country's dialling code is: 269

Electricity

220 volts AC, 50Hz. European-style plugs with two round pins are used. Electricity shortages occur.

Getting Around

By Plane

Comores Aviation provides services between the islands. Air Services Comores provides fligts as well.

By Car

Only on the main island (Grande Comore) there are rental cars available, but it is relatively expensive. Although most roads are paved, some interior roads can be slippery after heavy rains and animals on the narrow roads can make things even worse. Traffic drives on the right and you need an international driving permit.

By Bus

The way to get around is by shared taxi, the taxi-brousses. Services are frequent in some places, but less frequent in the more remote places or outer island.

By Boat

There are regular cargo and passenger services between the islands, but services are slow and uncomfortable, but cheap. Moheli and Anjouan are the main links from Grande Comore.

Language

The official languages are Arabic (official), French (official), Comorian (official; a blend of Swahili and Arabic). French is the language of administration and education, and Arabic is the language of religion. French is the language of administration and education, and Arabic is the language of religion.
 

Money

Comoros Franc (Cfr) = 100 centimes. Notes are in denominations of Cfr 10, 000, 5000, 2500, 1000 and 500. Coins are in denominations of Cfr20, 10, 5, 2 and 1, and 20 centimes.

Passport Visa

Everyone requires a visa to visit to the Comoros, which is issued on arrival. A normal visa costs Euro 30. It can be paid in Comorian francs, US dollars, or Euros. A visa lasts 45 days ; it can be extended, but ordinarily the authorities will not do so unless you have a good reason.

Safety

Crime levels are low, but you should take sensible precautions against pick-pocketing and mugging. Avoid walking alone at night on beaches or in town centres. Due to the political unstability associated with the country, it is better to avoid bringing up politican matters and avoid such gatherings.

Time

East African Zone (EAT) - UTC +3

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