The Comoros is a volcanic archipelago off Africa’s east coast, in the warm Indian Ocean waters of the Mozambique Channel. It consists of the four main islands: Ngazidja (French: Grande Comore), Mwali (French: Mohéli), Nzwani (French: Anjouan) and Maore (French: Mayotte), the contested island of Mayotte is administered by France. The combined area of the volcanic archipelago (including Mayotte) is 2,235 km², compared, the island nation is slightly smaller than Luxembourg or also slightly smaller than the U.S. state of Rhode Island.
Comoros Women Traditional attire
Women in Comoros

 The islands emerged from the floor of the Indian Ocean as a result of volcanic activity. Coral reefs provide occasional barriers to the rolling seas of the Indian Ocean, and breakers mark some of the world’s best diving areas. Along the seashore, broad expanses of open sandy beaches are interrupted by isolated groups of coconut palms or mangrove trees. A few coastal areas are distinguished by the harsh dark tangle of recent lava flows, while others are covered by smoothly rounded rocks, eroded reminders of ancient volcanic activity.(Britannia)

Anjouan Island, Comoros
Anjouan Island, Comoros(Image: Haryamouji)


Country profile
Official Name:
Union des Comores (French)
Udzima wa Komori (Comorian)
short form: Comores
int’l long form: Union of the Comoros
int’l short form: Comoros
Hist. name: Djazaïr Al Qamar (Islands of the Moon)ISO Country Codekm, comTime:
Local Time = UTC +3h
Actual Time: Mon-Dec-27  12:05Country Calling Code: +269Capital City: Moroni (pop. 60,000)Other Cities: Mutsamudu (pop. 20,000)
Fomboni, Mamoutzou.Government:
Type: Republic.
Independence: 6 July 1975 (from France, Mayotte remains under French administration).
Constitution: Adopted by referendum on 23 December 2001.

Location: Southern east Africa, group of islands at the Mozambique Channel which separates Madagascar from the African continent.
Area: 2,171 km² (838 sq. mi.)
Major islands: Grande Comore, Anjouan, Mayotte (administered by France), and Moheli.
Terrain: Volcanic islands, interiors vary from steep mountains to low hills.
Highest point: Le Kartala (an active volcano; 2360 m)

Climate: Tropical marine.

Sunset at Mohéli island
Sunset near Nioumachoua seen on Mwali (Mohéli) island. (Image: Hannah Jane)

Nationality: Comorian(s).
Population: 770,000 (2015)
Ethnic groups: Antalote, Cafre, Makoa, Oimatsaha, Sakalava.
Religions: Sunni Muslim 98%, Roman Catholic 2%.
Languages: Shikomor (Comorian, a Swahili-Arabic blend), Arabic, French, Swahili.
Literacy: 57%.

Natural resources: Few natural resources.

Agriculture products: Vanilla, ylang-ylang, jasmine, cassis, cloves, perfume essences, copra, coconuts, bananas, cassava (tapioca)

Industries: Tourism, perfume distillation.

Exports partners: India 28.7%, France 17%, Germany 8.7%, Saudi Arabia 7.1%, Singapore 6.6%, Netherlands 6.1%, Mauritius 5.3% (2015)

Imports partners: China 18.9%, Pakistan 16.2%, France 14.7%, UAE 11.3%, India 6.3% (2015)

Currency: Comoran Franc (KMF)

Mitsamiouli, Galawa Beach
Mitsamiouli, Galawa Beach:  This place is known for its crystalline beaches. And it is perfect for scuba diving. The deep water bank situated at Grande Comoros is best visited for the coral reefs, and shark visits along with sea rays. Since the place is mostly secluded and isolated, it is a good spot for relaxing during the summers.
According to Britannia, The volcanic islands of the Comorian archipelago have been called the “perfumed islands” for their fragrant plant life and are known for their great scenic beauty. The four main islands of the archipelago—“four small effervescent stones, wedged between the nearby large red island [Madagascar] and the Mozambican coast,” in the words of the Comorian writer Sitti Saïd Youssouf—combine African, Arabic, Malagasy, and French influences and were once important in the significant Indian Ocean trade between East Africa and Asian ports such as India and Japan.
The islands’ agricultural sector is based on the export of spices, including vanillacinnamon, and cloves, and thus susceptible to price fluctuations in the volatile world commodity market for these goods. The Comoros is the world’s largest producer of ylang-ylang, a plant whose extracted essential oil is used in the perfume industry; some 80% of the world’s supply comes from the Comoros.
Lac Sale grande comore lake comoros
Lac Salé This is a “bottomless” saltwater lake right on the coast. On a first look at the site of Lac Sale, Grande Comoros, one might think it’s as good as a crater. It is. The place is often called a holy place. This site is popular for its natural, hot sulphuric springs. Image:heartmybackpack
Over the centuries, diverse peoples have come together to form the complex cultural mix of Comoros. Contemporary Comorian culture reflects these many influences; the islands’ towns, for example, blend the architectural styles of mainland Africa, France, and the Middle East, and Comorian cuisine draws on many traditions. A culturally liberal form of Islam is the basis for religious observance during the year, and it provides the framework for daily life. Traditional Comorian women wear colourful sari-like dresses called shiromani (French chiromani) and adorn their faces with a paste of ground sandalwood and coral ilkcalled msinzano (French msindanu).
 Social organization  generational, with religious and ritual duties falling mostly to elders, who also enjoy political dominance.
Langouste à la Vanille( Lobster a la vanilla)


Customary celebrations in the Comoros often feature dancing, music and the re-creation of popular and important literary texts, including war epics and tales about the beginning of different villages. Embroidered ceremonial coats, Islamic bonnets, and curtains are donned. Jewelry is also widely produced and sold.


There are two types of marriages in Comoros, the little marriage (known as Mna daho on Ngazidja) and the customary marriage (known as ada on Ngazidja, harusi on the other islands). The little marriage is a simple legal marriage. It is small, intimate, and inexpensive and the bride’s dowry is nominal.

 Men wearing ceremonial scarves and garlands of flowers perform a traditional dance
Men wearing ceremonial scarves and garlands of flowers perform a traditional dance
Men wearing ceremonial scarves and garlands of flowers perform a traditional dance(

A man may undertake a number of Mna daho marriages in his lifetime, often at the same time, a woman fewer; but both men and women will usually only undertake one ada, or grand marriage, and this must generally be within the village. The hallmarks of the grand marriage are dazzling gold jewelry, two weeks of celebration and an enormous bridal dowry. Although the expenses are shared between both families as well as with a wider social circle, an ada wedding on Ngazidja can cost up to €50,000 (74,000 US dollars). Many couples take a lifetime to save for their ada, and it is not uncommon for a marriage to be attended by a couple’s adult children.

Mount Karthala
Mount Karthala
Mount Karthala The largest active volcano in the world is Mount Karthala located on Grande Comore.  It stands at just over 2300 metres and has consistently erupted every 11 years since the beginning of the 19th century.  The last eruption was in 2005 and lasted 14 days! The volcano did quite a bit of damage in 2005, but the country has recovered nicely. Source: flickr

The ada marriage marks a man’s transition in the Ngazidja age system from youth to elder. His status in the social hierarchy greatly increases, and he will henceforth be entitled to speak in public and participate in the political process, both in his village and more widely across the island. He will be entitled to display his status by wearing a mharuma, a type of shawl, across his shoulders, and he can enter the mosque by the door reserved for elders, and sit at the front. A woman’s status also changes, although less formally, as she becomes a “mother” and moves into her own house. The system is less formalised on the other islands, but the marriage is nevertheless a significant and costly event across the archipelago.

Badaant el Mounyrou, wearing full wedding attire, waits in the marital bedroom for the arrival of the groom
Surrounded by friends and family, the bride and groom share their first kiss at the bride’s home in Domoni
The bride and groom wearing full wedding attire Source: flickr

The ada is often criticized because of its great expense, but at the same time it is a source of social cohesion and the main reason why migrants in France and elsewhere continue to send money home. Increasingly, marriages are also being taxed for the purposes of village development.(for details on comoros marriage visit


Sources: Wikipedia, Britannia, theCrazytourist,, flickr

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