Traveling Luck for Comoros

Comoros is located in Southern Africa, group of islands at the northern mouth of the Mozambique Channel, about two-thirds of the way between northern Madagascar and northern Mozambique.

Land in Comoros is volcanic islands, interiors vary from steep mountains to low hills.

Comoran land covers an area of 2170 square kilometers which is slightly more than 12 times the size of Washington, DC

As for the Comoran climate; tropical marine; rainy season (November to May).

Comoran(s) speak Arabic (official), French (official), Shikomoro (a blend of Swahili and Arabic).

Comoran National Map

Comoran Map

Regions of Comoros

Comoros has endured 19 coups or attempted coups since gaining independence from France in 1975. In 1997, the islands of Anjouan and Moheli declared independence from Comoros. In 1999, military chief Col. AZALI seized power. He pledged to resolve the secessionist crisis through a confederal arrangement named the 2000 Fomboni Accord. In December 2001, voters approved a new constitution and presidential elections took place in the spring of 2002. Each island in the archipelago elected its own president and a new union president took office in May 2002.


Comoros Country Profile

One of the world's poorest countries, Comoros is made up of three islands that have inadequate transportation links, a young and rapidly increasing population, and few natural resources. The low educational level of the labor force contributes to a subsistence level of economic activity, high unemployment, and a heavy dependence on foreign grants and technical assistance. Agriculture, including fishing, hunting, and forestry, contributes 40% to GDP, employs 80% of the labor force, and provides most of the exports. The country is not self-sufficient in food production; rice, the main staple, accounts for the bulk of imports. The government - which is hampered by internal political disputes - is struggling to upgrade education and technical training, privatize commercial and industrial enterprises, improve health services, diversify exports, promote tourism, and reduce the high population growth rate. Increased foreign support is essential if the goal of 4% annual GDP growth is to be met. Remittances from 150,000 Comorans abroad help supplement GDP.

Comoran natural resources include NEGL

important location at northern end of Mozambique Channel

Comoran religion is Sunni Muslim 98%, Roman Catholic 2%.

Natural hazards in Comoros include cyclones possible during rainy season (December to April); Le Kartala on Grand Comore is an active volcano.

Travel Advice on Comoros

Comoros

This advice has been reviewed and reissued with an amendment to the Natural Disasters section (earthquakes).  The overall level of the advice has not changed.

SUMMARY

  • There is no British Embassy in Comoros, nor an Honorary Consul.  Comoros is covered from the British High Commission in Port Louis, Mauritius.  Please see the Contact details of this travel advice for their address details.

  • We are not aware of any British nationals who have required consular assistance in Comoros in the past year.  However, you should take sensible precautions against pickpockets and muggers and not walk unaccompanied in town centres at night.

  • The threat from terrorism is low.  But you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.

  • We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.  Please see: Travel Insurance


SAFETY AND SECURITY

Crime

The three islands which make up the Union of the Comoros, are generally crime-free, but you should take sensible precautions against pickpocketing and mugging.  You should not walk around town centres unaccompanied at night.  Safeguard valuables and cash.  Deposit them in hotel safes, where practicable.  Keep copies of important documents, including passports, in a separate place to the documents themselves.

Political Situation

Comoros Country Profile.

You should be aware of the possibility of political or other unrest and should avoid demonstrations, rallies and other large public gatherings.

Local Travel

Facilities on Anjouan are basic.  Moheli has few facilities for tourists.   On Grande Comore (also known as Ngadijza) there are a few hotels of an acceptable standard in or near the capital Moroni.

Road Safety

On Grande Comore, the main round-island road is of a reasonable standard, but some other roads are in a poor condition.

You may use either a UK or International driving licence for up to 3 months.  You should consult the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Tel: 00 269 744 100 or E-mail: mirexcab@yahoo.fr) if an extension is required.

Air Safety

You can travel between the three islands by air.  The EU has published a list of air carriers that are subject to an operating ban or restrictions within the community.  You should check the following link to see whether this will affect your travel: www.dh.gov.uk

Sea Safety

You can travel between the three islands by boat.  You should exercise care at all times when travelling by boat and avoid travel on vessels that are clearly overloaded, in poor condition or do not have lifejackets available, as overloaded ferries have capsized in Comoran waters, sometimes with significant loss of life.  The most recent incident happened on 10 September 2006.


LOCAL LAWS AND CUSTOMS

Comoros is a Muslim country.  You should respect local customs and sensitivities, such as non-consumption of alcohol in public places and modest dress in public at all times, especially during the holy month of Ramadan.  During Ramadan, eating, drinking and smoking between sunrise and sunset is forbidden for Muslims (though younger children are not required to fast).
Homosexuality is not illegal in Comoros. 
Drug smuggling and the possession of drugs are serious offences, which may result in long prison sentences, fines and deportation.


ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

Visas are required but can be obtained on arrival at Hahaya airport, or at other points of entry.  Passports need to have 3 months’ remaining validity.
Single parents or other adults travelling alone with children should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country.  For further information on exactly what will be required at immigration, please contact the Comoran Embassy in Paris, Rue Marbeau 20, 75116 Paris, telephone: (33) (1) 40679054.


HEALTH

We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling and include cover for medical repatriation.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.  Please see: Travel Insurance.
Medical facilities are basic and limited on all three islands, and most are private.
Electricity and water supplies are subject to frequent interruptions, which can affect hospitals and other public services. Medicines and food may not have been safely stored.
You should drink bottled or boiled then filtered water and eat only food which has been thoroughly cooked and for which basic hygiene precautions have been taken.
Outbreaks of cholera are occasionally reported in all three islands.   You should avoid drinking tap water, and use only sealed bottled water.  Strict hygiene precautions are essential.
Malaria is prevalent on all three islands.  More than three-quarters of British travellers who contracted malaria in 2005 did not take preventive measures, such as malaria prevention tablets. However, malaria can occur despite appropriate prevention, and therefore you should promptly seek medical care in the event of a fever or flu-like illness in the first year following your return from travelling to a malaria risk country.  Before travelling you should seek medical advice about the malaria risk in Comoros.
You should seek medical advice before travelling and ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up to date. For further information on health check the Department of Health’s website at www.dh.gov.uk
NATURAL DISASTERS
Comoros is in the cyclone belt and can be affected by cyclones between January and April.
The Karthala volcano near Moroni on Grande Comore erupts periodically, most recently in November 2005.  Earthquakes associated with increased volcanic activity occurred in mid-January 2007.  Although initial fears of an eruption have subsided, you should check the situation locally before making plans to visit the island.


GENERAL

If things go wrong when overseas, please see:  What We Can Do To Help.
There is no British Embassy in Comoros, nor an Honorary Consul.  Comoros is covered from the British High Commission in Port Louis, Mauritius.
The nearest Comoran Embassy to the UK is in Paris, Rue Marbeau 20, 75116 Paris, telephone: (33) (1) 40679054.  The Comoran Honorary Consul in the UK, Mr Khaled Chehabi, can be contact at Flat 6, 24-26 Avenue Road, NW8 6BU; Tel: 0207 491 0531.
Money
The Banque International du Comore (affiliated to BNP) is the only established bank on Grande Comore, and banking facilities are minimal on the other islands.  BFI, one of the local banks, does not exchange sterling cash.  Only one or two hotels accept credit cards for payment of bills, but will not provide local currency against credit cards.  Some hotels and restaurants will accept some foreign currencies (Euros and US Dollars preferred).  Change may be given in local currency.