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.
Coronavirus travel health
Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Comoros on the TravelHealthPro website
See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
International air travel is possible to and from Comoros.
A PCR test undertaken less than 72 hours before departure is required for departure from Comoros, regardless of the destination.
Entry and borders
See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in Comoros.
You should contact local authorities for information on testing facilities (only available in French).
Be prepared for your plans to change
No travel is risk-free during COVID-19. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.
If you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to stay where you are until you test negative. You may also need to seek treatment there.
Plan ahead and make sure you:
- can access money
- understand what your insurance will cover
- can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned
Travel in Comoros
The authorities in Comoros have introduced measures, including enhanced screening procedures, to prevent the spread of Coronavirus within Comoros, including between the islands of Grande Comore, Moheli and Anjouan.
The number of passengers on public transport is limited (10 on buses, 4 in taxis). You must wear a face mask on public transport, and proof of vaccination for all persons aged 18 and over is required for use of public transport.
Some hotel and guesthouse accommodation are open, although many remain closed. We advise that you contact your accommodation provider before travelling.
Public places and services
Proof of vaccination is required for anyone aged 18 and over wishing to enter public offices (with the exception of medical facilities), supermarkets, restaurants, banks and shops as well as for access to public transport and the airport. A vaccination certificate is also required for access to cultural and sporting gatherings and weddings.
Masks are mandatory for gatherings in enclosed spaces, in health facilities, pharmacies and medical labs, and in the check-in/waiting areas at ports and airports.
Healthcare in Comoros
For contact details for English speaking doctors visit our list of healthcare providers.
If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms, you should contact your healthcare provider and your medical insurance company for advice.
Local COVID-19 information is available in French on the local authority website, or dial the free helpline on 1717
See Health for further details on healthcare in Comoros.
For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.
Crime levels are low, but you should take sensible precautions against pick-pocketing and mugging. Avoid walking alone at night on beaches or in town centres. Safeguard valuables and cash. Use hotel safes, where possible. Keep copies of important documents, including your passport, in a separate place. Although uncommon, sexual assaults have occurred.
Facilities on Anjouan are basic. Visitors to the island usually stay in Mutsamudu. Mohéli has few facilities for tourists. On Grande Comore (also known as Ngadijza) there are a few hotels of an acceptable standard in or near the capital Moroni.
On Grande Comore, the main round-island road is of a reasonable standard, but some other roads are in a poor condition.
You may use either a UK Driving Licence or an International Driving Permit for up to three months. Consult the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (telephone: + 269 744 100 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org) if an extension is needed.
The European Commission has banned all Air Service Comores flights, except one aircraft (type LET 410 UVP, with the registration D6-CAM), from operating within the EU due to safety concerns. FCDO staff and their dependants have been advised to avoid flying on all Air Service Comores aircraft subject to the EU ban.
A list of recent incidents and accidents can be found on the Aviation Safety network website.
You can travel between the three islands by boat. Take care at all times when travelling by boat and avoid travelling on vessels that are clearly overloaded, in poor condition or without life jackets. Overloaded ferries have capsized in Comorian waters, sometimes with significant loss of life.
Recent piracy attacks off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden highlight that the threat of piracy related activity and armed robbery in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean remains significant. Reports of attacks on local fishing dhows in the area around the Gulf of Aden and Horn of Africa continue. The combined threat assessment of the international Naval Counter Piracy Forces remains that all sailing yachts under their own passage should remain out of the designated High Risk Area or face the risk of being hijacked and held hostage for ransom. For more information and advice, see our Piracy and armed robbery at sea page.
President Azali was reinaugurated on 26 May 2019.
Some violent incidents occurred during the election period in March 2019. Political demonstrations and other protests may still occur. You should avoid crowds and demonstrations throughout Comoros and obey local security instructions.
As a result of its colonial history and the ongoing political debate regarding the separate status of Mayotte, there are regular reports of demonstrations and there is anti-French sentiment throughout Comoros. Remain vigilant, maintain a low profile while moving around and avoid any crowds or political gatherings. Monitor local media to keep up to date with local developments. Avoid taking pictures of official buildings.
Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Comoros, attacks can’t be ruled out.
There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.
Find out more about the global threat from terrorism, how to minimise your risk and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack.
Comoros is an Islamic country. You should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions and be aware of your actions to ensure that they do not offend other cultures or religious beliefs, especially during the holy month of Ramadan.
In January 2013, President Ikililou Dhoinine promulgated a law declaring that Sunni Islam and the Chafeite rite as the country’s official religion. Shia Islam is not allowed in the Comoros.
Homosexuality is illegal in Comoros and the Penal Code provides a punishment of up to five years imprisonment and heavy fines for acts that are found to be “indecent or against nature with an individual of the same sex”. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.
Drug smuggling and the possession of drugs are serious offences. Those caught face long prison sentences, fines and deportation.
This page has information on travelling to Comoros.
This page 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 unsure how Comoros’ entry requirements apply to you, contact its UK embassy, high commission or consulate.
All travellers need a visa to enter or travel through Comoros as a visitor. See Visas.
If you’re fully vaccinated
For passengers with proof of full vaccination against COVID-19, pre-departure PCR tests are no longer required for entry to Comoros, or for departure from Comoros (unless required for the next destination).
Proof of vaccination status
You need to provide proof of vaccination in order to enter Comoros, otherwise a negative PCR test result is required.
If you’re not fully vaccinated
For passengers without proof of full vaccination, a negative PCR test result from within 72 hours before travel is required for entry to Comoros, and a PCR test is required for departure from Comoros (regardless of next destination). The price of PCR tests in Comoros is 15,000 Comorian Francs. See information on getting a test before entry.
If you’ve had COVID-19 in the past year
Entry requirements for Comoros are the same for all travellers, regardless of your COVID-19 recovery status.
Children and young people
There are no specific entry requirements for children and young people. A PCR test, undertaken less than 72 hours before departure is required for entry into Comoros, regardless of age.
If you’re transiting through Comoros
Transiting is when you pass through one country on the way to your final destination.
Transiting through Comoros is permitted for travellers who have undertaken a PCR test less than 72 hours before departure.
There are no exemptions to the requirement that a PCR test must be undertaken less than 72 hours before departure for entry into Comoros.
Check your passport and travel documents before you travel
You should check with your travel provider to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.
If you are visiting Comoros, your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date you arrive.
You will need a visa to enter or travel through Comoros as a visitor. You can get a visa on arrival at Hahaya airport or at other points of entry for €30. Details are available on the Hahaya airport website (in French).
UK Emergency Travel Documents
UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Comoros.
If you have a health condition, or you are pregnant, you may need specialist healthcare abroad. Check whether your destination country can provide the healthcare you may need and ensure you have appropriate travel insurance for unexpected medical evacuation or local treatment.
See the Coronavirus travel health and Healthcare sections in the Coronavirus page for COVID-19 health information.
At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.
General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist are available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.
The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).
Medical facilities are basic and limited on all three islands, and most are private. Electricity and water supplies are subject to frequent interruptions, which can affect hospitals and other public services. Medicines and food may not have been safely stored. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation
Malaria and cholera are common to Comoros, with malaria affecting all three islands. You should monitor the NaTHNaC website for the latest updates and advice.
Comoros can be affected by tropical cyclones between January and May. Monitor regional and international weather updates from the World Meteorological Organisation. See our Tropical cyclones page for advice about how to prepare effectively and what to do if you’re likely to be affected by a tropical cyclone.
The Karthala volcano near Moroni on Grande Comore erupts periodically, most recently in January 2007. Although there are no predictions of an imminent eruption, you should check the situation locally before making plans to visit the island.
Cash is the main means of paying for goods and services in Comoros. The Banque International du Comore (BIC - affiliated to BNP) is the only established bank on Grande Comore, and banking facilities are minimal to non-existent on the other islands. The two cash machines found at the BIC and the Itsandra Hotel work occasionally.
You can withdraw cash (local currency only) against a credit card from a small Bureau de Change office attached to the main BIC branch (on left hand side of main entrance).
Only one or two hotels accept credit cards for payment of bills (this can sometimes be problematic due to technical / connection problems with the equipment), but will not provide local currency against credit cards. Some hotels and restaurants will accept some foreign currencies (Euros and US Dollars preferred). Change may be given in local currency.
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).
Foreign travel checklist
Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.
The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.
When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.
Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.
Refunds and cancellations
If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.
For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Registering your travel details with us
We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.
Previous versions of FCDO travel advice
If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice team a request.
If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry, or contact us on Twitter or Facebook. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.