Destination in brief
Comoros in brief
The Comoros is an archipelago in the Indian Ocean located between Africa’s east coat and Madagascar. The country’s nearest neighbor is Tanzania, across the sea.
The Comoros used to be a French colony. In 1974 three of the islands making up the Comoros voted for independence, but a fourth island, Mayotte, voted to stay with France.
Size: 1,659 km² (640.5 mi²)
Capital city: Moroni
Population (in 2020): 862,000 – Most of the inhabitants are of mixed African, Malagasy, Malay, and Arab descent.
Languages: French, Arabic and Comorian are the official languages – Comorian is basically a mix of Arabic and Swahili - Less than half of the population speaks French – those who do mostly live in the urban areas.
Religion: Sunni Muslim – Islam is the state religion, but the locals do not usually follow its rules very strictly.
Political system: Presidential republic
The Comoros, despite its natural resources and important geo-strategic position, is still a poor, underdeveloped country. This has been exacerbated by the persistent political turmoil that has kept off potential investors. The Comoros has undergone around 20 coups since it gained independence.
Currency: Comorian franc (KMF)
Income inequality in the Comoros is extremely high. Half of the population lives in appalling conditions, some children are subjected to forced labor, and the trafficking of women and children for sex is widespread both at home and abroad while officials turn a blind eye.
Most common surname: Mohamed
Safety: The crime rate is low but pickpockets, petty thieves or street muggers do sometimes target tourists.
Best timing for a tourist visit: June-August
The Comoros is one of the least visited countries in the world. Although this really is an off-the-beaten-track tourist destination, around 35,000 people still visit annually to discover the archipelago’s beautiful natural attractions. The country is unfortunately full of rubbish everywhere as neither the locals, nor the authorities seem to care much about the environment.
Top tourist attractions:
Diving, beaches, Nzwani Island with its waterfalls and rich vegetation, climbing the Mount Karthala, Mahore (Mayotte), Itsanda (a fishing village), Moroni