Grand Comore is the largest island in the East African island nation of Comoros, and location of the capital.
Shared taxis are nearly always available (except late at night and during a taxi strike) around Moroni for 300 KmF to anywhere in town and to nearby towns like Iconi and Itsandra. Taxis between Hahaya (the airport) and Moroni cost no more than 500 KmF (1 euro). Tourists have been asked for 20 euros. Taxis to the airport are caught in front of the post office at Volo Volo. Taxis also run to nearly everywhere on the island, with varying frequency. Taxis to the east coast can be caught near Gobadjou, in Moroni. Taxis going to Chindini or anywhere along the southern coast can be caught at Hotel Karthala, near the university on the southern side of Moroni. 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 taxi. 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.
If you wish to rent a car, you will pay exorbitantly. It may cost 5,000 KmF (10 euros) for a ride that would cost 300 KmF in a taxi.
Hitchhiking 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. Be sure you specify that you are seeking an "auto-stop".
- 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. edit
- 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. edit
- Mbachile. A small village a 1/2-hour walk along the coast south of Iconi. Quiet beaches, pretty village edit
- Itsandra. White sand beach and medina neighborhood. Restaurant on beach. A short taxi ride north of Moroni edit
- 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. edit
- 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 edit
- 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) edit
- 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. edit
- 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. edit
- 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. edit
- 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. edit
- Club des Amis. A night club in Iconi, more relaxed and larger than Le Rose Noir. edit
- Le dos du dragon (The back of the dragon). - a natural sight with beautiful rocks on top of the sea edit
- Le trou du prophète (The Prophet's whole). - stunning natural bay where rumours say where the Prophet hid himself from attackers edit
- Chomoni Beach. - small white sanded beach with crystal clear turquoise waters. Town is full of nice people (should ask for Zé Pequeno - young very nice fellow) edit
Go to Mitsamiouli, up north of the island. It's a very quite small town, with few tourists. The surroundings are beautiful and there are numerous interesting walks around the beach or up the hill where you will find more villages and a stunning view.
- Meet Marco (+269 3218369) and his family & friends. If he doesn't answer your phone call, don't hesitate to drop him a message. You can also try calling his cousin Hamidou, an amazing guy! (+269 3350910). If you are willing to share and interact with locals, looking for the real experience, go to Marco's (known as the rasta) place. He and his family will take good care of you. Sleeping at his wonderful bamboo bungalow that he built on his own (incredible!), literally right in front of the Ocean. It's a magical place. You will be able to go fishing with his fisherman brother Abdou and sell what you fish on the market, as well as eat fresh fish. Meet Juma, an outstanding musician and good person! (+269 3518468) However be aware this is only for the most adventurous travellers that know how to adapt to local conditions and are willing to share or give. This is not a hotel! I had one of the best times of my life! will always be grateful to all of them. To get there: hop on a mini-van (taxi) to get to Mitsamiouli. Once there, walk (10 min) towards Maloudja Beach Bungalows. You'll find a crossroad with a sign for "Maloudja" saying to turn left. Walk down that road and on the next crossroad, instead of walking right towards Maloudja, just continue straight. In any case you can always ask for Marco (the rasta), everybody at the point will know.
Go to Chomoni, on the east coast, a village with a small white sanded beach with crystal clear turquoise waters. Town is full of nice people (should ask for Zé Pequeno - young very nice fellow)
- Meet Zé Pequeno (+269 3656254), he's family and friends. Anyone in the village will know if you ask for Zé Pequeno. Otherwise you can also call his cousin, great person (+269 3639592). Zé Pequeno is a young smart man, plenty of ideas and dreams. I'm sure he will be able to contribute greatly to his village. He hangs out with his friends and sometimes rents out the bungalows down at the beach to people. He can also provide the meals. However, if you want a closer interaction, he will be happy to welcome you to his home and introduce you to his friends, while showing you around. Very kind!
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.
Informal (for travellers only, not tourists)
- Stay at Marco's bungalow in Mitsamiouli (Grande Comore / Ngazidja). Not a formal hotel/hostel. Only for travellers (not tourists!). See above in *DO* section for more details.
- Stay at Trou du Prophète (close to Mitsamiouli) at Mickey's (rasta) or at Mr. Koffi (frère Omar - +269 3312377). Both are amazing places well immersed in trees and sea!
- Stay at Zé Pequeno's bungalow in Chomoni (Grande Comore / Ngazidja), or at his humble room next to his family's). See above in *DO* section for more details.
- Del Toro Hotel - great hotel
- Hotel Moroni (Moroni)
- Galawa Hotel (near Mitsamiouli on Grand Comore) - doesn't exist anymore, it's been destroyed by Government
- CNAC (Itsandra)
- Hotel des Iles de Paradis (near Volo Volo)
- Pension Fatima (Moroni)