Is a Trip to the Comoros Worth the Trouble?

    The Comoro Islands or officially, the Union of the Comoros is a small but an independent state in the Indian Ocean. You can find the country on the map fast if you know where Madagascar is located because the Comoros sits close to it in the Mozambique Channel.

    The country consists of three islands: Ngazidja, Mwali, and Ndzwani. These are the traditional names of the islands that were returned after the Comoros gained independence from France. Their corresponding French names are Grande Comore, Mohéli, and Anjouan and we have to openly admit that the French names are used much more often by international travelers than the traditional ones.

    There is a fourth island in the archipelago called Mayotte that France and the Comoros dispute. The French claim that this particular island has had closer ties with France than the other three have and it should remain under French administration. Influential groups in the Comoros, however, claim that Mayotte should be part of the Union of the Comoros because geographically, the island is part of the archipelago and historically, residents of all the four islands have identified themselves as a single nation. The dispute continues.

    The capital of the country is Moroni and it is located on Grande Comore, the largest of the islands. It is also the largest city in the country even though its population does not exceed 40,000 people.

    The Comoros has a democratic Government, a President, and a Parliament. It even has a regular army even though the total number of soldiers and officers is only 1,000 people and that’s including the police. Anyway the number of soldiers per capita is still rather high in the Comoros because the total population of the country is less than 800,000 people. Even if you take the disputed Mayotte into account, the population of the Comoros is going to be below 1 million people anyway.

    Comoros as an offshore zone

    The Comoros is also an offshore zone. It is one of the least prosperous countries on the planet and the local Government does whatever it can to attract some extra capital from abroad. The Comoros offer high-quality offshore services. It is one of the countries where you can obtain a Forex license, for example. The Comoros has become especially popular with Forex brokers after some other offshore jurisdictions (such as St Vincent and the Grenadines, for instance) have toughened their requirements under international pressure. The global regulators seem to have no heart to push the Comoros too hard because they realize how poor the country actually is. Thus, the regulations related to various offshore industry products are laxer in the Comoros than they are in most other places.

    People of the Comoros

    Comorians are descendants of Africans and Arabs who settled the islands in times immemorial. Almost 95% of the population belong to one nation. The remaining 5% are made up of Bantu people, Arabs, Malagasy, Persians, Indians, and French. The official languages are French and Arabic in the country but most people speak Comorian, a mixture of Swahili and Arabic. Most Comorians are Muslims but other religions are freely practiced in the islands too. Moreover, the level of pluralism is amazing in the Comoros.

    Landscapes in the Comoros

    As far as the terrain in the Comoros is concerned, the islands are of volcanic origin and you will find many mountains and mountain ranges in the country. What makes the country attractive for tourists is the coral reefs that surround the islands. They are extremely beautiful and if you go diving or snorkeling there, you will find a large number of underwater creatures that you can find nowhere else in the whole world.

    Climate in the Comoros

    The climate is tropical in the Comoros, which means that it is hot and humid there all around the year. The sun blazes ruthlessly and you need to take serious precautions against sunburn if you are planning to visit the Comoros as a tourist. Besides, catching malaria is easy in the Comoros so you have to get vaccinated before you go there.  

    Flora and fauna

    A nice thing that you can find in the Comoros is the Livingston’s wing, or the Comorian flying fox. It is an endemic animal that looks like a pretty little bat with soft fir. In addition to that, there are multiple exotic plants that feel very well in the hot Comorian climate.

    Even though the Comoros has pristine nature and there you can find some truly exotic plants and animals, the country is not a popular tourist destination. Moreover, getting there can be a challenging task! There are airports on the islands but international flights are infrequent.

    The culture of the Comoros

    The Comoros is a Muslim country but the local Muslims are exceptionally tolerant to all other religions. Moreover, they have borrowed some elements from other faiths and incorporated them in theirs! For instance, the Comorians are terribly afraid of various genies – evil spirits from Indian fairy tales. Mythical creatures of non-Islamic origin? They don’t bother about that.

    You can find the same cross-cultural eclecticism in the architecture on the islands too. This is a distinctive characteristic of the Comorian style of life: it is an amalgamation of Arabic, Persian, African, and Indian traditions.  

    Comorian cuisine

    The traditional Comorian cuisine again consists of dishes typical of all peoples living in the country. The most popular side dish is rice in the Comoros that is cooked in a number of different ways. The main course is usually made of fish or poultry and the Comorians are fond of adding various spices to their dishes. Some of them are quite hot!

    They also add non-sweet bananas to the dishes that they cook and the bananas make the local cuisine truly exotic. They also eat a lot of bread and you can find French bread, Indian bread, Arabic bread, and all other sorts of bread in the Comoros.

    The local cuisine is especially famous for its seafood dishes. Fish and other seafood takes up more than half of the table surface in the country. They like to add vanilla and citrus fruits to the fish dishes, which gives a special flavor and a special taste to them.

    As far as desserts are concerned, the Comorians love traditional Arabic sweets.

    Shopping in the Comoros

    The Comoros is not a world-famous shopping center. Some spices are grown on the islands such as vanilla and clove, for instance. In addition, they make organic makeup in the Comoros using such components as ylang-ylang. Crafts are not very well developed in the country let alone the heavy industry. You should go to the Comoros if you want lots of exotica but you should not count on finding highly comfortable tourist facilities there. The people are very nice and friendly to foreigners in the Comoros but they firmly believe that any white person is a French person. Why? Because people from other countries seldom visit the Comoros.


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