The Comores is a group of three main islands of volcanic origin, namely Ngazidja (formerly Grande Comore), Nzwani (formerly Anjouan) and Mwali (formely Moheli) and several islets.
The island of Mayotte is a French territory, that is claimed by the Comores. An underdeveloped tourist industry and intermittent political coups and crises have made the Comores one of the least visited Indian Ocean destinations.
However, the Comores offer a particular charm that mixes French style, Swahili and Arabic architecture, spectacular sunsets and a colourful history with a lingering aroma of vanilla and ylang-ylang. Beaches host natural palm trees said to be the highest in the world and are mostly white, although some can be found created of black lava.
Coral reefs and a rich, marine life can be found in the surrounding seas. In fact, it is here where the prehistoric coelacanth, which was thought to be extinct, was found in 1938. All the islands can be visited, except Nzwani, which has issued a travel embargo due to its political instability.
Top Ten Attractions:
Mosques All over; in Moroni, the Mosquée du Vendredi provides an attractive view from the top.
Mount Karthala Near Moroni, the largest, live volcano in the southern hemisphere; you can hike up it and descend into the crater; beaches are a mixture of black lava and white sand.
Moroni marketplace In Moroni, where you can buy perfumes, spices, handicrafts and jewellery.
Itsandra & Iconi villages Itsandra: fishing village 6km from Moroni with fine beach; watch local men dance; once the ancient capital of the island; Iconi: 14th century village.
Lac Sale Near Moroni; hot, sulphur springs.
Arab Quarter or Medina In Moroni, elaborate 2-storey buildings with arcades, balustrades and meticulously carved wooden latticework doors and shutters; easy to get around.
Chissioua Ouénéfou Small island, off the coast of Mwali; part of a marine reserve where you can watch green sea turtles, which were almost extinct a couple of years ago.
Mayotte 3 French islands, ringed with coral reefs; popular for diving, boating, big-game fishing and other water sports; the lagoon is claimed to be the biggest in the world; old fortifications at Dzaoudzi.
Mitsoudjé 11km south of Moroni, known for its wood carving industry, specialising in producing decorative doors, shutters, boxes and furnishings; many tombstones can be found.
Ndzuani Currently out of bounds, but offers 17th century houses, mosques and a citadel in Mutsamudu; the Sultan's Palace, the Dziancoundré Waterfall, Chiroroni beaches and coral reefs, Bamboa ylang-ylang distillery and Domoni's Hari ya Moudji, which is full of decaying sultan's palaces from 16th-18th centuries.
Gerald Crawford was born in South Africa, studied electronics, telecommunication, eco-travel and african travel concepts. He taught responsible tourism in South Africa. If you have any questions or comments please e-mail me on. E-mail Address: firstname.lastname@example.org Website Address: www.12234455.co.za