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Africa > East African Islands > Comoros > Grand Comore

Grand Comore

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Grand Comore is the largest island in the East African island nation of Comoros, and location of the capital.

Fishing at Grande Comore
Old volcanic crater

Cities[edit]

  • 1 Moroni - the capital

Understand[edit]

Get in[edit]

You can reach the island by plane at Prince Said Ibrahim International Airport near Moroni, from both international destinations and the other Comorian islands.

Freighters accepting passengers from Zanzibar or Dar es Salaam (in Tanzania), Mahajanga (in Madagascar) and the other Comorian islands also arrive to Moroni.

Speedboats to Moheli leave from Chindini on the southern coast.

Get around[edit]

Map of Grand Comore

By shared taxi[edit]

Shared taxis are nearly always available (except late at night and during a taxi strike) around Moroni. Rates start at CF200 per person for a ride within a town, and CF250 for nearby towns like Moroni to Iconi. Taxis between Hahaya (the airport) and Moroni cost no more than CF500 (€1). Tourists have been asked for 20 euros.

Taxis also run to nearly everywhere on the island, with varying frequency. Be careful when going to southern, northern, and eastern destinations (especially eastern) as taxis may stop running as early as 15:00 hours. Everything slows down on Sundays and holidays, so taxis are less frequent.

By bus[edit]

Buses between Moroni and different villages in the island run only during the morning. There is no schedule as buses depart "when full", although there seem to be enough passengers to not make you wait long. For better luck, head to the station early in the morning when there is more activity.

Vehicles fit about 20 people, four per row, so expect an uncomfortable, squashed, and hot ride, though interesting. You may need to be assertive and dive in at your first chance if there are a lot of people waiting for the bus.

By car[edit]

If you wish to rent a car (self-driving), expect to pay around €40 for a small car and €50 for a 4WD per day, fuel not included. The big tour around the island can be done in one day, and the road is not too bad. The section between the airport and Mitsamiouli was being paved in October 2018.

Hitch-hiking is very easy and very safe on Grand Comore. Wave your hand rather than putting out a thumb. Locals do it frequently and you always meet friendly people. Of course, some people may try to charge you for the ride, so be sure you specify that you are seeking an "auto-stop".

See[edit]

  • Karthala volcano. One of the largest and most dangerous volcanoes in the world because of the possibility that water inside the volcano could be heated and explode resulting in the volcano exploding and rock raining down. Most recent activity occurred in January (magma moved 7 km underground, towards a fissure in the southern side of the island, causing small earthquakes). When the volcano is calm it is a hiking destination, though supposedly a difficult two-day climb to the top.
  • Iconi. One of the oldest settlements on Grand Comore. A short taxi ride south of Moroni. Medina-style town center. Sea cliffs from which women leapt to their deaths in the early 19th century rather than being kidnapped by Malagasy pirates and sold into slavery. Parasitic volcanic crater.
  • Mbachile. A small village a 1/2-hour walk along the coast south of Iconi. Quiet beaches, pretty village
  • Itsandra. White sand beach and medina neighborhood. Restaurant on beach. A short taxi ride north of Moroni
  • Coelocanth Marine Park. The second marine park in the Comoros located on the southern coast adjacent to coelocanth habitat (steep underwater cliffs). In the process of being established as of February 2007 with an education/conservation center being built.
  • East Coast. Difficult access (must be aware of when taxis stop running) with beautiful coastline close to Karthala volcano. Chomoni is a local tourism site with white sand beach and huts on the beach for picnics
  • Volo Volo market. The largest market on the island; you can buy food, clothing, electronics, and other goods there; it is located in the center of town near many other shops, a few pharmacies, restaurants, and the hospital where you can get malaria testing done for 1000 KmF (roughly 2 euros)
  • Nassib Bakery. 1/2 a block from Volo Volo and has delicious pain au chocolat, sandwiches, pizza, decent coffee, and porch seating where one can people-watch.
  • Medina section. Near the port and the Friday Mosque. It is composed of winding alleys between ancient buildings and provides a fascinating glimpse into local life. The closeness of the buildings also provides shade during the hot day.
  • Badjanani Mosque. One of the oldest mosques in the Comoros and is religiously important to Comorians for its age and largeness (the more people pray together in one place, the more powerful the prayer). It sits on the harbor adjacent to a boat-building yard, the medina, and freighters.
  • Le Rose Noir. A night club in Moroni. Very European, the club-goers are not inhibited by Muslim values--one can see scantily clad women, men and women dancing together, and locals drinking.
  • Club des Amis. A night club in Iconi, more relaxed and larger than Le Rose Noir.

Do[edit]

Eat[edit]

Chez Babou restaurant, Oasis district, north of Volo Volo. Quality Indian food and ice cream.

Cafe de la Paix, Ambassadeur district, south of the hospital in Moroni. A large menu of Indian ocean cuisine. It is better to ask what is available than to order from the menu.

For local food in the day time, try any of the small restaurants around Volo Volo market or near the Friday mosque in Gobadjou district. The best time to eat in Moroni is after the sun goes down. small bungalows along the coast make meat kebabs (mshakiki) for 50 KMF. Local custom is to order 10 at a time along with grilled bananas, cassava, or bread fruit.

Drink[edit]

Sleep[edit]

A great hotel is Comoros Del Toro

Other hotels:

Pricey -Hotel Moroni (Moroni) -Galwa Hotel (near Mitsamiouli on Grand Comore)

Budget -CNAC (Itsandra) -Hotel des Iles de Paradis (near Volo Volo) -Pension Fatima (Moroni)

Stay safe[edit]

Go next[edit]

Anjouan

Mayotte

Moheli

This region travel guide to Grand Comore is an outline and may need more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. If there are Cities and Other destinations listed, they may not all be at usable status or there may not be a valid regional structure and a "Get in" section describing all of the typical ways to get here. Please plunge forward and help it grow!