Comoros travel guide
Not your typical tropical island getaway, Comoros may lay claim to sandy shores, limpid oceans and colourful coral reefs, but the archipelago’s greatest asset is its fascinating culture, which fuses together the most colourful elements of Africa and Arabia.
Floating between Mozambique and Madagascar, the archipelago has long been a crossroads between civilisations and most Comorians are of mixed Afro-Arab descent. A blend of Swahili and traditional Islamic influences pervade the islands giving them a calm and phlegmatic atmosphere that guarantees a hospitable welcome.
The four main islands that comprise sleepy Comoros do not share the tourist infrastructure of the Seychelles or Mauritius (with the exception of Mayotte), but they do share the warm seas, deserted beaches and stunning hiking that these destinations are renowned for.
Most travellers enter the country via the capital, Moroni, which nestles on the island of Grande Comore and hums with the atmosphere and traditional customs of a long-forgotten outpost. Men drink tea beneath whitewashed buildings in the Arab Quarter, as they have done for decades, while women in brightly coloured East African fabrics smile shyly from ornate doorways.
Also known as the Perfume Islands, the smell of vanilla, cloves and other spices is ever-present in Comoros, and locals are proud to produce more Ylang-Ylang essence for the perfume industry than anywhere else.
Leave fragrant Moroni behind and trek to the summit of Mount Karthala, also on Grande Comore. The archipelago’s highest peak, at just under 2,400m (7,800ft), this lofty vantage point happens to be one of the region’s most active volcanoes. The views are exquisite.
For a taste of France pay a visit to Mayotte, which, due to a quirk in colonial history is now governed from Paris. Arguably the most developed of the islands, it has a distinctly Gallic air, adding more depth to these already characterful islands.
2,235 sq km (863 sq miles).
807,118 (UN estimate 2016).
349.4 per sq km.
Federal Islamic Republic.
President Azali Assoumani since 2019.
President Azali Assoumani since 2019.
The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides advice about risks of travel to help British nationals make informed decisions. Find out more about FCDO travel advice.
Before you travel
No travel can be guaranteed safe. Read all the advice in this guide and any specific travel advice that applies to you:
If you choose to travel, research your destinations and get appropriate travel insurance. Insurance should cover your itinerary, planned activities and expenses in an emergency.
This advice reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British citizen’ passport from the UK, for the most common types of travel.
The authorities in Comoros set and enforce entry rules. If you’re not sure how these requirements apply to you, contact the Comoros Embassy in Paris (in French).
There are no COVID-19 testing or vaccination requirements for travellers entering Comoros.
Passport validity requirements
To enter Comoros, your passport must have an ‘expiry date’ at least 6 months after the date you arrive.
Check with your travel provider that your passport and other travel documents meet requirements. Renew your passport if you need to.
You will be denied entry if you do not have a valid travel document or try to use a passport that has been reported lost or stolen.
You must have a visa to enter or travel through Comoros. You can buy a visa for 30 euros when you arrive at Hahaya airport or other points of entry.
At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the vaccinations and certificates you need in TravelHealthPro’s Comoros guide.
There are strict rules about goods you can take into or out of Comoros. You must declare anything that may be prohibited or subject to tax or duty.
There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets. Stay aware of your surroundings at all times.
UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out how to reduce your risk from terrorism while abroad.
Terrorism in Comoros
Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Comoros, attacks cannot be ruled out.
Presidential and governor elections took place on 14 January 2024 and provisional results were announced on 16 January.
There were post-election protests in Moroni and other parts of Grande Comore, Anjouan and Mohéli. Some roads were blocked and travel in Moroni and between the international airport and the city was difficult. At least one protestor was killed and several injured in clashes with security forces. Since 20 January protests have ended. An overnight nationwide curfew has been lifted and flights between the islands have resumed.
There is still a risk of further election-related unrest. Avoid crowds and demonstrations, and follow the advice and instructions of local authorities.
Due to a longstanding dispute between Comoros and France about the island of Mayotte, there is some anti-French sentiment in Comoros and occasional demonstrations on the issue. Monitor local media to keep up to date with developments.
Crime levels are low, but take precautions against pickpocketing. Street crime such as robbery is rare, but avoid walking alone at night, including on beaches or in town centres.
Protecting your belongings
Keep your valuables, cash and important documents in hotel safes where possible.
Laws and cultural differences
Always travel with your ID. Keep printed copies of your passport’s photo page and visa stamp.
Comoros is an Islamic country. The official religion is Sunni Islam. People are not allowed to practise Shia Islam in Comoros.
Respect local traditions, customs, laws and religious practices. Make sure you do not offend cultural or religious beliefs.
Dress and behaviour codes
Clothing for men and women needs to cover the body loosely, from the shoulders to the knees.
Islanders mostly consider outward displays of intimacy to be contrary to public decency.
All matters of religious practice and custom are given particular importance by the people and authorities throughout the year. This importance is especially heightened during the month of Ramadan.
Ramadan is a holy month for Muslims. The dates vary by year and country. Check the year’s Ramadan dates before you travel. During this time of Ramadan do not:
- eat, drink, smoke or chew gum in public in the daytime, including in your car or in public view
- play loud music or dance
- swear in public
Get more advice when you arrive from your tour guide, hotel or business contacts.
You should also:
- check opening hours of shops and restaurants
- be aware that if hotels and restaurants are providing food or drink in fasting hours, they may separate you from Islamic guests, for example with screens
- follow local dress codes – clothing that does not meet local dress codes may cause more offence at this time
- be aware that fasting can cause tiredness, particularly during the later afternoon and early evening
- be patient and show tolerance
Alcohol laws and bans
It is possible to buy alcohol in Comoros, for example at hotels, but drinking alcohol or being drunk on public highways is illegal. Offences are punishable by fines or even imprisonment.
Pay particular attention to these rules during the Ramadan period.
Illegal drugs and prison sentences
Drug trafficking and possession are serious offences. If you are found guilty, you could get a long prison sentence and a fine.
Using cameras in secure areas
It is advisable to ask people for permission before photographing them. Avoid taking photos of public buildings, particularly military and police buildings.
Same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Comoros. If convicted you could get a prison sentence of up to 5 years and heavy fines.
Read more advice for LGBT+ travellers.
There are very few banks or ATMs in Grande Comore or on the other islands. People in Comoros mainly use cash. Credit cards are not always accepted – check in advance if your hotel accepts your card.
Technical or connection issues with equipment may also make it difficult to pay by card so always have cash available. Some hotels and restaurants accept foreign currencies such as euros. However, they will give you change in Comorian francs.
If you are planning to drive in Comoros, see information on driving abroad.
You can use a UK photocard driving licence to drive in Comoros for up to 3 months. If you still have a paper driving licence, you may need to update it to a photocard licence or get the correct version of the international driving permit (IDP) as well.
If you need an extension after 3 months, go to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at Rue du place de l’indépendance des Comores à Moroni or visit their Facebook page: Ministère des Affaires Etrangères de l’Union des Comores.
On Grande Comore, the main ring-road is of a reasonable standard, but many other roads are in poor condition.
The UK Air Safety List (ASL) lists all known airlines in Comoros that do not meet international safety standards and are banned from operating commercial air services to, from, and within the UK. Check the UK Air Safety List when considering which airlines to fly with. The list is maintained by the Department for Transport, based on advice from the UK Civil Aviation Authority.
Boats and ferries take passengers between the 3 islands. They can be overloaded, in poor condition and without life jackets. Overloaded vessels have capsized in Comorian waters with significant loss of life.
Recent attacks off the coast of Somalia and the Gulf of Aden highlight the significant risk of piracy and armed robbery. International naval counter-piracy forces strongly advise all sailing yachts to remain outside the designated high-risk area to avoid hijacking. See piracy and armed robbery.
Extreme weather and natural disasters
Find out what you can do to prepare for and respond to extreme weather and natural hazards.
Tropical cyclones can affect Comoros between January and May. Monitor local news and check World Meteorological Organization weather reports for Comoros.
Karthala, near Moroni on Grande Comore, is an active volcano which last erupted in 2007. Check Karthala’s most recent reports and monitoring before you make plans to visit.
Before you travel check that:
- your destination can provide the healthcare you may need
- you have appropriate travel insurance for local treatment or unexpected medical evacuation
This is particularly important if you have a health condition or are pregnant.
Emergency medical number
Call hospitals and ask for an ambulance.
- Grande Comore, hopital El Maarouf: +269 773 26 04
- Mohéli, hopital de Fomboni: +269 772 03 73
- Anjouan, hopital de Hombo: +269 771 00 34
Contact your insurance company promptly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment.
Vaccinations and health risks
At least 8 weeks before your trip check:
- the latest information on vaccination recommendations and health risks in TravelHealthPro’s Comoros guide
- where to get vaccines and whether you have to pay on the NHS travel vaccinations page
The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries.
The NHS has information on whether you can take your medicine abroad.
Healthcare facilities in Comoros
Medical facilities on all 3 islands of Comoros are basic and most are private. Disruptions to electricity and water supplies can affect hospitals and other public services.
Makes sure you have adequate travel insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment and repatriation.
FCDO has a list of English-speaking doctors in Comoros.
There is also guidance on healthcare if you’re living in Comoros.
Travel and mental health
The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) cannot provide tailored advice for individual trips. Read this travel advice and carry out your own research before deciding whether to travel.
Emergency services in Comoros
Fire: 113 or 114
Contact your travel provider and insurer
Contact your travel provider and your insurer if you are involved in a serious incident or emergency abroad. They will tell you if they can help and what you need to do.
Refunds and changes to travel
For refunds or changes to travel, contact your travel provider. You may also be able to make a claim through insurance. However, insurers usually require you to talk to your travel provider first.
Find out more about changing or cancelling travel plans, including:
- where to get advice if you are in a dispute with a provider
- how to access previous versions of travel advice to support a claim
Support from FCDO
FCDO has guidance on staying safe and what to do if you need help or support abroad, including:
- dealing with a death abroad
- being arrested or imprisoned abroad
- getting help if you’re a victim of crime
- what to do if you’re in hospital
- if you’re affected by a crisis, such as a terrorist attack
You can also contact FCDO online.
Help abroad in an emergency
If you are in Comoros and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the British Embassy in Antananarivo, Madagascar who provide consular assistance for Comoros.
FCDO in London
You can call FCDO in London if you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad.
Telephone: 020 7008 5000 (24 hours)