Comoros - Islands of the Moon

The delightful Indian Ocean archipelago of the Comoros isn’t the most obvious holiday destination. Almost a low key Zanzibar, but without the tourists, the Comoros combine the heritage of Swahili culture with dramatic scenery. The atmospheric towns and small country charm complete the picture offering a trip that showcases a different side to this part of the world.

This short tour covers the three islands that make up the republic, starting in Grande Comore. Here we wander through the old medina, discover colourful markets, visit old sultans’ palaces and see the impressive volcano of Mount Karthala.

Travelling by boat to Moheli, we visit its spice gardens, and watch turtles lay eggs on the beach. In Anjouan we explore the gorgeous countryside, stopping at waterfalls and lush valleys, before finally returning to Moroni, the capital.

The Comoros may not have the ‘must-see’ sights and experiences of East Africa, but more than makes up for this with its easy-going nature and beautiful landscapes. The sheer sense of adventure in being in one of the least visited countries in the world has great appeal.

Comoros itinerary - boats on beach

Highlights

  • Atmospheric historic quarter of Moroni
  • Spice plantations of Moheli
  • Watch turtles laying eggs
  • Beautiful scenery of Anjouan

Day 1 - Moroni

Arrive into Moroni and transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day is free. Overnight Retaj International Hotel or similar.


Day 2 - Moroni

Spend today exploring the capital of the Comoros, an atmospheric place and steeped in Arabic heritage dating back to the 10th century. We visit the colourful market and the atmospheric medina, and explore the narrow streets of the historic quarter. Overnight Retaj International Hotel or similar. (B)

Moroni

Situated at the foot of Mount Karthala, Moroni was founded in the 10th century by Arab traders and serves as capital of the Comoros – although it’s a fairly modest capital, with under 50,000 inhabitants. Once connected with Zanzibar via the ancient trading routes across the Indian Ocean, Moroni is somewhat reminiscent of its better known ‘neighbour’, with a fascinating old medina to explore – rather run down in places, but very atmospheric, and with the same carved doors that one can find in Stone Town.

There are many mosques, notably the Badjanani Mosque or Ancienne Mosquée de Vendredi (old Friday mosque), which is the oldest mosque in the medina.It was originally built in 1427, and a minaret was added in 1921. It’s worth just wandering around the streets, exploring the markets, and soaking up the atmosphere of this now sleepy backwater of the Indian Ocean – Moroni is filled with white-robed men, women in colourful wraps and narrow streets lined with traditional cafes and shops. Alternatively head to the harbour to watch the fishermen bring in their boats, and savour the stunning sunsets. Although there are few traditional tourist attractions, the city’s beauty and ambience more than makes up for this.

Day 3 - Grande Comore

A full day spent exploring the island of Grande Comore. We visit Mount Karthala, the highest point of the Comoros and an active volcano, and Itsoundzou for marvellous views of the seven volcanic cones of Diboini. We also visit the Lac Sale, a volcanic salt lake, and the ‘dragon rocks’ of Ivoini. Overnight Retaj International Hotel or similar. (BL)

Grande Comore

Grande Comore is the largest and most developed of the three islands that make up the Comoros. Also known as Ngazidja, the island is fringed by beautiful beaches of different colours, from white sands to black volcanic hues. The island is also characterized – or dominated – by Mount Karthala, an active volcano which last erupted in 2005, destroying villages and agricultural land. Where possible, people grow food crops such as banana and breadfruit, as well as spices like vanilla and ylang ylang, for which the Comoros is best known. European sailing ships stopped here as early as 1570, when the island was ruled by twelve sultans.

Day 4 - Grande Comore – Moheli

Explore the south of the island including the ruins of the 18th century sultan’s palace, and the nearby cliffs where local women flung themselves to their deaths rather than be captured by slavers. We also visit the lava flow at the village of Singani, before travelling by boat or flight to the island of Moheli. Overnight Relais de Singani Hotel or similar. (BL)


Day 5 - Moheli

Travel through Moheli, visiting the spice gardens and ylang ylang plantations that the Comoros are best known for. In the late afternoon we head to Itsamia where, after sunset, we can see turtles coming ashore to lay eggs. Overnight Relais de Singani Hotel or similar. (BL)

Moheli

Moheli is much less developed, and far less populated, than the other islands of the Comoros, with a wild and rather charming feel to it. The ethnic background of the people here owes more to African and Polynesian roots than it does to the Arab world, and you’ll find that Moheli has a more laid back feel to it. The island is best known for its beaches, which are quite beautiful, and marine life here is superb – Moheli is home to the only national park in the Comoros, the Moheli Marine Park. Its 35,000 inhabitants make their livings from the land and sea – there are no modern industries here, and travelling in Moheli is like going back in time.

Day 6 - Anjouan

Fly to the island of Anjouan. The rest of the day is free to relax or explore. Overnight Al Amal Hotel or similar. (B)

Anjouan

Anjouan is the prettiest island of the Comoros, with a picturesque capital, Mutsamudu, and an interior dominated by rivers, mountains and lakes. The air is heavy with the scent of ylang ylang and cloves, there are old Arab plantations, and old sultan’s palaces and mosques dating back centuries. Anjouan has always seen itself as rather separate from the rest of the Comoros, seceding from the union on a number of occasions. Many people here are Makoa, the descendants of slaces imported from Mozambique in the 15th century, or Wamatsaha, whose roots go further back to the original Malay-Polynesian settlers.

Day 7 - Anjouan

Spend today exploring Anjouan. We visit the ‘col of patsy’, a beautiful valley, then continue to the picturesque Tatringa falls. This afternoon visit the mausoleum of the late president Abdallah, the father of independence in the Comoros. Overnight Al Amal Hotel or similar. (BL)


Day 8 - Moroni

Fly back to Moroni. Overnight Retaj International Hotel or similar. (B)


Day 9 - Moroni

Transfer to the airport for departure.


Please note: The Comoros is a rarely visited country in terms of international tourism and its infrastructure can at times be challenging. Delayed and cancelled flights are not uncommon, and boat schedules can also change, which may in turn require changes to the itinerary. This requires a certain degree of flexibility and patience on the part of the traveller – if you prefer your holidays to run like clockwork then this probably isn’t the destination for you.

In addition to this, locally based guides have not had the same experience and practice with international tourists as their counterparts in other parts of east and southern Africa, and so despite our best efforts, the experience can at times be a little ‘unpolished’. This is all part and parcel of travelling in destinations such as this, but it’s important to arrive with the right expectations when travelling here.

Pristine beach on the island of Anjouan - Comoros Holidays and Tours
Lemur on the island of Grande Comore - Comoros Holidays and Tours

What's included?

  • Airport transfers

    We include arrival and departure transfers regardless of whether you book flights yourself, or we book them for you. If you’re booking them yourself, then please let us know the details so that we can arrange the transfers.

    Please note though that if you arrive earlier than Day 1 of the tour, and leave after the final day, we may need to make an additional charge for an airport transfer.

  • Accommodation

    Accommodation as listed in the dossier. The nature of the destinations that we operate may sometimes mean that we need to change hotels, but we’ll always endeavour to keep the same standards. Please be aware that as we operate in many countries where tourism is in its infancy, hotel standards may not be the same as you’re used to elsewhere.

  • Guides

    In most cases you will be accompanied by one guide from start to finish. However there may be occasions when this is not practical, for example if your trip covers a number of different countries. In these cases it often makes more sense to include different guides for each place, to take advantage of their specific knowledge of the destination.

  • Meals

    As listed within the itinerary / dossier (B-Breakfast, L-Lunch, D-Dinner). These will vary from trip to trip – in some areas it makes sense to include all meals while in others there is a good choice of restaurants and we feel people might like to ‘do their own thing’ now and again.

  • Entrance fees

    Entrance fees are listed for those sites that we mention within the itinerary. If there are any other sites that you’d like to see, these would be at your own expense.

  • Domestic flight

    From Anjouan to Moroni.

What's not included?

  • Visas

    We don’t arrange visas for our travellers, but if an invitation letter is necessary then we will arrange this for you. If you need any advice with visas then just give us a call, or alternatively a visa agency such as Travcour can assist.

  • International flights

    Many of our travellers arrive from different destinations and so we don’t include international flights in the cost of our tours. If however you would like us to book flights for you, then just give us a call and we’ll be happy to discuss your options.

  • Travel Insurance

    If you need any assistance with this, then let us know – although we can’t arrange it ourselves we can point you in the direction of a reputable provider that can assist.

Visas

All travellers will require a visa to enter the Comoros Islands. This is issued upon arrival for €30, payable in Euros. Visa regulations can change however and so we recommend that you contact your nearest embassy for the most up to date information.

Health and vaccinations

We are not medically qualified and so we recommend that you speak to your doctor or nearest health professional for advice concerning recommended vaccinations. For more advice on vaccinations you can also visit www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk.

Insurance

It is a condition of joining our tours that you have suitable travel insurance in place, and we cannot accept travellers without insurance. All policies differ in terms of what they will cover, but as a minimum you need medical and health cover, which will cover you for the whole time that you are away. Most policies will also include cancellation cover, which will cover you if an unforeseen circumstance obliges you to cancel your trip. We recommend that you obtain your insurance as soon as you book your trip.

Please note that government travel warnings often affect the validity of your travel insurance, and you should check this with your insurance company.

Money

The local currency in the Comoros is the Comorian franc, which you won’t be able to obtain outside of the country. You should bring Euros for exchange purposes – other currencies can be hard to change, and Euros are also accepted as payment in many places.

Local conditions

When travelling to some of the destinations we offer you need to bear in mind that things won’t always work here as we’re used to them working at home. Travelling in underdeveloped and untouristed destinations requires both patience and a sense of humour. There may be problems with infrastructure, attitudes may be different, and maintenance may not be as high a standard as we would always like, but this is very much part and parcel of travelling in such a place. We aim to resolve any issues as quickly as possible, and thank you for your patience.

Please be aware that the Comoros does not receive many tourists, which means that local people are not always particularly used to tourism, and while not unfriendly, can be rather reserved.

Travel advice

We keep a very close eye on the travel advice issued by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office so that we can keep you up to date with any warnings. At the time of writing the FCO does not advise against travel to the Comoros Islands.

This relates to advice from the British government – other nationalities need to check the stance of their own governments.

Please note that the information contained above is highly susceptible to change, and while we endeavour to keep up to date we recommend that you use this as a guide only. Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. 

Updated May 2019

Pristine beach on the island of Anjouan - Comoros Holidays and Tours
Lemur on the island of Grande Comore - Comoros Holidays and Tours
Date(s)
Price (PP) Exc. Flights
Single Supplement
Trip Status
Date -
23 August 2021
Price (PP) -
£1,399
Single Supplement -
£300
Trip Status -
Contact us
Date -
22 August 2022
Price (PP) -
£1,499
Single Supplement -
£300
Trip Status -
Available