It’s been a while that I want to visit these islands, but flights flying there were so hard to synchronize with my travels that I had to wait. The Comoros are 3 tiny islands between Mozambique and Madagascar which have a very interesting culture. It was inhabited by the Persians, Arabs, Pirates from Portugal and the Swahilis. Then the French came to colonize the islands and leave a big trace of French culture all over the islands, resulting in a similar vibe to other ex-french colonies of the Indian ocean like La Reunion and Mauritius.
The Summit of the Kartala Volcano
I first arrived in Mayotte, the 4th island and which is still part of France. I quickly jumped to Moroni the Capital of the Comoros and met with friends who invited me to Hike the Karthala the next morning, Comoros’s famous Volcano, one of the most active in the world and also the one with the biggest crater in the world. The Kartala has last erupted in 2005 and left a lot of damage on the island, and I was very curious to go up. We left 4 am in the morning to start our ascent from 300m above sea level all the way up to 2300 meters, going through different layers of vegetation, from Deep jungles in the bottom part tundra-like landscapes towards the top. Overall, it was a difficult hike since I had no training before and specially because we did it very quick, coming back the same day. I still feel the pain in my legs as I write this… A hard hike, but well rewarding as the scenery up there is majestic! You can walk for at least a kilometer on dark volcanic hash to arrive to the crater itself which is the biggest I’ve ever seen.
On a Dry Lava River of the Kartala Volcano
Moroni is an interesting city, having a feel of Arabic culture mixed with French and Swahili. The “Grande Mosque du Vendredi” is definitely the highlight in terms of cultural touristic attraction, dating back from the 15th century. In the center of town, the old-market is interesting to see, with people wearing traditional Muslim cloth and the women having sandalwood masks in public, to protect them against the strong sun.
Kids in the old town
After a few days in Moroni, together with Comorian and French friends, we left to the northern beaches of “Trou du Profete” (literally, the hole of the prophet, in French). We stopped by one of the highlights of the island, the “lac salé” a beautiful rock formation which separates a salted lake from the ocean by a thin layer of rock. Some mysteries surround this lake as of what is on the bottom, as it is said that some professional divers tried to explore the lac and never came back to the surface…
The Lac Salé
The time spent in Trou du Profete was amazing. This calm and secluded hideout is a little paradise, with a calm bay of light blue shallow waters, surrounded by a nice valley of baobabs and palm trees. We camped at a local camping ground and enjoyed Coconut milk alcohol, with fresh local Baracuda for dinner, and a mix of Jackfruit, coconut, octopus, palm heart and baobab fruit for breakfast! Overall an amazing stay rich in stories and experience, the perfect way to recover from the hard hike up the Kartala Volcano! I highly recommend to anybody looking for a paradise beach to visit this little hideout.
Grande Mosque du Vendredi
Grand Comore Islands, from the Sky
I really enjoyed The Comoros, especially because I was lucky enough to have local friends take me under their wing and show me around. The Comoros are small islands but pack up a strong portfolio of things to do, making it a great holiday place that is still undiscovered. The government is apparently not caring much to develop the industry which consists mostly of expatriate Comorians from around the world coming back home to visit family and doing touristic things while there.
At the Beaches of the North
I could definitely see the Comoros become a holiday destination in the future if Comorians can stand up and work hard, hand in hand. But instead, it is joked around by locals that people prefer to relax and sleep instead of working hard, tasks that are undertaken by expatriates like the Indian community. Hopefully, the Comoros can take advantage of their natural beauties make the Comoros a great touristic nation!
Old Muslim Quarter
Our Hiking Group
Sunset at Trou du Prophete