Grande Comore

Travel Guide Africa Comoros Grande Comore

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Introduction

Grande Comore is an island in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Africa. It is the largest island in the Comoros nation. Most of its population is of the Comorian ethnic group. The island's capital is Moroni, which is also the national capital.

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Geography

The island is made up of two shield volcanoes, with Mount Karthala being the country's highest point at 2,361 metres above sea level.

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Cities

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Sights and Activities

Karthala Volcano

Moroni is a good base for a climb up the Karthala Volcano (2,361 metres), which boasts spectacular views of the still active crater. You can gaze inside and see the smoke rising. The volcano erupted quite recently, about three years ago. With the access road and the climb, you should allow several hours for the climb. An early start is advisable. Take plenty of water and perhaps some fruit with you.

Arab Quarter

The Arab Quater in Moroni is made up by the neighbourhood around the port and the Ancienne Mosquée de Vendredi (old Friday mosque). It is a medina with narrow streets lined with buildings dating back to Swahili times. It much looks like the better known Stone Town on the island of Zanzibar although it is much smaller. Still, it is just as good and sees far few travellers. Especially the carved Swahili doors found on many houses are worth the stroll.

Other sights and activities

  • Nouvelle Mosquée de Vendredi - Moroni

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Events and Festivals

New Year

Both New Year’s Days (January 1st and the Islamic New Year) are celebrated with much gusto in the Comoros. The Islamic New Year is of particular interest as it is marked by a wide range of activities that embrace the local culture and traditions, including religious rituals.

Independence Day

Comorian independence is celebrated every July 6 to commemorate the nation’s freedom from colonialism. Like other events on the islands, the festivities are marked with good food, cultural presentations and merriment.

Eid al-Adha

Eid al-Adha or the Feast of the Sacrifice is a celebration of Abraham’s willingness to give up his son (Ishmael) in obedience to God. It is an annual Islamic holiday observed by Muslims around the world and Comoros is no exception.

Eid al-Fitr

This feast marks the conclusion of the month-long fast (Ramadan) and is celebrated with all kinds of rituals, prayers, gifts, and lots of ceremonial food.

Christmas Day

Christmas Day is observed by the Roman Catholic minority living in the Comoros with festive gatherings of friends and families.

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Weather

Grand Comore a warm and humid climate, with some relief of the heath by breezes from the Indian Ocean. Temperatures generally are around 30 °C during the day, and still above 20 °C at night. November to April is slightly warmer, May to October a bit cooler. Rain is present during all months, but is more and heavier from November to May. August to October is the driest period and temperatures are fine as well, making this the best time to travel to Grand Comore. Hurricanes are possible from December to February, so it is best to avoid this time.

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Getting There

By Plane

Prince Said Ibrahim International Airport (HAH) near the capital Moroni is where all international flights arrive and depart. International destinations include Comores Aviation flights to and from Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar and Nosy Be in Madagascar. Yemenia flies to Sana'a and Dar es Salaam and Nairobi is served by Kenya Airways and Mombasa with African Express Airways.

Comores Aviation provides services between the islands. Air Services Comores provides flights as well.

By Boat

There are regular cargo and passenger services between the islands, but services are slow and uncomfortable, but cheap. Moheli and Anjouan are the main links from Grande Comore.

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Getting Around

There are rental cars available, but it is relatively expensive. Although most roads are paved, some interior roads can be slippery after heavy rains and animals on the narrow roads can make things even worse. Traffic drives on the right and you need an international driving permit.

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Drink

Alcohol is readily available in Moroni from Indian and Chinese merchants near Volo Volo. Castle beer from South Africa and cheap boxed wine from France are common.

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Sleep

On Grande Comore there are a few hotels of an acceptable standard in or near the capital Moroni.

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Grande Comore Travel Helpers

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This is version 1. Last edited at 7:29 on Aug 9, 17 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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