Comoros small group holiday
Description of Comoros small group holiday
This idyllic archipelago is a mystery to most tourists but a totally magical place to visit, with an extraordinary melange of Swahili culture, ancient Arabic heritage, voluptuous volcanic landscapes and perfect beaches.
The holiday takes you on a tour of three of the four islands. Starting on the main island, Grande Comore, the capital city Moroni translates as "in the heart of the fire", because of its location at the foot of volcanic Mount Karthala, an active volcano. It is a city packed with history, where the medina and markets are the perfect place to stroll, the former sultans’ palaces evoke stories and images of glamorous times gone by and the volcanic terrain is made for hiking.
Moving on to Moheli Island, the natural heritage is what strikes us most here, the Mohéli Marine Park a highly protected area created in agreement with the ten villages surrounding the park. Here we can go in search of the highly endangered, enormous and endemic Livingstone’s fruit bats, as well as equally endangered green turtles that come here every year to lay eggs.
Our final stop is Anjouan Island, where the luscious mountain terrain invites hikes to waterfalls, lakes and valleys that are overshadowed by the magnificent summit of Mount Ntingui which, if you manage to climb to its peak at 1595m gives the most amazing views of all four islands in the archipelago. A wonderful place to take in this collection of tranquil, unique landscapes which are still totally undiscovered in the world of tourism.
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1 Reviews of Comoros small group holiday
Reviewed on 05 Sep 2021 by Toni Jeffries
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
Scenery and the people
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
Be prepared for untouristed challenges
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
Poor communication of ground operators caused frustration
Read the operator's response here:
Comoros is probably our most challenging destination - not so much in terms of the destination itself, but in the fact that the lack of tourism here means that the infrastructure and level of services on the islands is much below what one can expect in other parts of Africa. Few local people have had the constant practice with tourists that helps them both to understand expectations and refine the services that they provide. We are constantly working with our partner here to improve services, but this is not always an easy task and so we try to highlight the issues involved in travelling here in all of the information that we send our travellers.
Despite our best efforts, it’s often the case that things in Comoros don’t always run as smoothly as we would like, and perhaps we should have made this clearer in the pre-departure information we sent you. That is not to abdicate responsibility - we do of course try our best to continually improve the quality of services here - but it can be a difficult issue to resolve in a country like Comoros. We will be discussing all of the issues that you mentioned in your email to us at length with our local team to see how best we can avoid similar problems in the future.
Thanks again for taking the time to provide us with feedback - this is always really important to us as it helps us to highlight any areas that may need improvement.
PlanetWe spend a lot of this trip exploring some of the landscapes of the Comoros on foot, and we take care to stick to the trails and not to damage any of the flora, as some parts of the region are quite a fragile environment. We operate a strict no litter policy on our tours, which includes the drivers. The Comoros Islands are home to rare and endemic wildlife, and it is particularly important these are protected.
At Itsamia, we watch turtles coming ashore to lay eggs. We ensure that our presence here does not disturb these animals, and only approach once they have started laying, rather than being on the beach when they land, potentially discouraging them from laying eggs. We limit our time with the turtles so as not to cause unnecessary distress.
Similarly, at Wallah we are careful not to disturb the Livingstone's fruit bats - this is a vulnerable species found nowhere else.
The Comoros Islands are one of the least visited countries in the world and western European norms regarding the environment are not so well entrenched, therefore it is quite common for local people to dispose of rubbish simply by throwing it out of the window. We work to educate our drivers and other service providers so as to avoid contributing to this problem.
Similarly, in conjunction with our local team we work with hotels and guesthouses to implement best practices when it comes to environmental matters – again in some places this is far behind what we might be used to in other parts of the world. This includes basic things like not replacing towels each day, as well as saving electricity and turning lights off – small things but as the country is still really in the early stages of dealing with tourism we hope that they can become ingrained into the culture.
PeopleOn all of our tours we strive to include a strong focus on local communities and we are firm believers of tourism having the capacity to make a positive impact on the places visited. We stay at locally-owned guesthouses and hotels and where appropriate employ the services of local people in order not only to gain a greater insight into the complex traditions here but to ensure that they gain financial benefit from our visit, rather than just being ‘exhibits’.
We try to employ the services of local guides, from the areas that we visit; not only are they able to offer greater insights and a more intimate connection with the place, but this helps to ensure that some of the income generated by our visit filters back to local communities rather than just being funnelled to centralised institutions. This also helps to show local communities that there is a financial benefit for them in preserving the natural environment.
Some of the areas that we visit are quite traditional with certain codes of behaviour, and the people here are not that accustomed to outsiders. We ensure that our travellers are appropriately briefed in order so as not to offend local sensibilities.
We visit a number of sites and monuments on this tour that do not necessarily receive much funding from other sources; the entrance fees that we include help to maintain the heritage of this country for future generations – not just western travellers but more importantly to local people to whom they have far more cultural and historical significance. We use locally owned suppliers and our partners here are deeply involved with the preservation of the culture and heritage of the country. Through carefully supervised tourism, greater worth is placed upon the rich heritage of the Comoros and it is hoped that local authorities will not only have the funds but also recognise the value in restoring and preserving such places.
Where possible we encourage our travellers to spend their money with local businesses; for this reason we do not include meals where it is feasible to eat outside of the hotels, in order that local restaurants are able to benefit from the presence of tourism, rather than the income being channelled just to the hotel.