It was an important trading post for Arab, Persian, African and European traders from the 15th century onwards. Annexed by the French over the course of the 19th century, three of the islands – Grande Comore, Mohéli and Anjouan – obtained independence in 1975; Mayotte, the fourth island, has remained a French territory.
Named after the Arabic word for ‘moon’, Qamar, this poetically named but little-known archipelago is located between Madagascar and Mozambique.
The islands of Comoros
Like their better-known Indian Ocean sisters Mauritius and the Seychelles, the Comoros have tropical charm: the temperature is a blissful 20 to 30°C year-round, palms swing in the breeze, and the water is turquoise. But the similarities stop there. Whereas Mauritius and the Seychelles have fine-tuned their high-end tourism offering over the past three decades, the Comoros have remained seemingly impervious to mass tourism. There are just 3,000 tourists a year, many of them curiosity-seekers on a quest to visit every country in the world, and that is precisely the appeal.