Σάββατο, 24 Σεπτεμβρίου 2011

COMOROS ISLANDS

COMOROS

THE EXOTIC ISLANDS


THE COUNTRY IS LOCATED OFF THE EASTERN COAST OF AFRICA, IN THE WESTERN INDIAN OCEAN. IT CONSISTS OF FOUR MAIN ISLANDS AND SEVERAL SMALL ONES IN THE VOLCANIC COMOROS ARCHIPELAGO. THE FOUR ISLANDS ARE GRANDE COMORE (NGAZIDJA), MOHELI (MWALI), ANJOUAN (NZWANI) AND MAYOTTE (MAORE). MAYOTTE IS THE OLDEST OF THE ISLANDS, AN ANCIENT VOLCANIC ISLAND WITH MOUNTAINS AND STREAMS. THE CAPITAL IS MORONI ON GRANDE COMORE, WHICH IS THE YOUNGEST OF THE ISLANDS AND IT HAS A MASSIVE, ACTIVE VOLCANO. THE OTHER TWO ISLANDS ARE MOUNTAINOUS BUT HAVE HAD NO RECENT VOLCANIC ACTIVITY. IN THE WATERS AROUND THE ISLANDS LIVES THE “COELACANTH”, A SPECIES OF FISH THAT WAS ONCE THOUGHT TO HAVE BEEN EXTINCT FOR 60 MILLION YEARS! IN 1938 IT WAS DISCOVERED THAT IT STILL EXIST AND IN THE 1950s IT HAS BEEN CAUGHT BY FISHERMEN IN THE COMOROS ISLANDS. SEVERAL HAVE BEEN SINCE CAUGHT! THERE IS A BIG ONE PRESERVED IN THE MUSEUM OF MORONI.

AS THE CROSSROAD OF MANY CIVILIZATIONS THE COUNTRY HAS A DIVERSE CULTURE AND A RICH HISTORY. RICH IN SWAHILI CULTURE THE CHARMING INHABITANTS COME FROM ARAB TRADERS, PERSIAN SULTANS, AFRICAN SLAVES AND PORTUGUESE PIRATES. THE NAME “COMOROS” COMES FROM THE ARABIC WORD “MOON”. THE FIRST INHABITANTS OF THE ISLANDS WERE AFRICAN SETTLERS WHO TRAVELED TO THE ISLANDS BY BOAT IN THE 6TH CENTURY AD.
THE ISLANDS BECAME A FRENCH COLONY AFTER WORLD WAR II AND GAINED THEIR INDEPENDENCE IN 1978, ALTHOUGH MAYOTTE CONTINUES TO BE A FRENCH COLONY UNTIL TODAY.

GRANDE COMORE IS THE LARGEST OF THE ISLANDS, WITH MORONI AS THE CAPITAL. IT FEELS LIKE ANOTHER WORLD! LAVA AND SANDY BEACHES WHERE BRILLIANT WHITE MEETS DARK VOLCANIC BLACK SAND! BANANAS, BREADFRUITS, VANILLA, YLANG-YLANG AND COCONUT PLANTATIONS FILL THE ISLAND. YLANG-YLANG IS A TREE THAT GROWS IN THE COMOROS AND ITS NAME MEANS “RARE”. IT HAS A VERY STRONG SCENT AND ITS OIL IS USED IN AROMATHERAPY. IT IS SAID THAT IT RELIEVES HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE AND SOME SKIN PROBLEMS!
MORONI IS THE CAPITAL. IN THE COMORIAN LANGUAGE IT MEANS “IN THE HEART OF THE FIRE”, A NAME COMING FROM THE LARGEST ACTIVE VOLCANO IN THE WORLD, MT KARTHALA. ITS LAST BLOW WAS IN 2005, RESULTING MANY FLAT VILLAGES AND A DESERT MOUNTAINOUS LANDSCAPE! THE MORONI HARBOR IS ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL SIGHTS IN THE INDIAN OCEAN, ESPECIALLY AT SUNSET! VISIT
THE NARROW STREETS OF THE OLD ARAB QUARTER, THE OLD FRIDAY MOSQUE (ANCIENNE MOSQUEE DU VENDREDI), THE WHITE BUILDINGS OF THE SEAFRONT AND THE WOODEN BOATS MOORED BETWEEN VOLCANIC ROCK JETTIES!

MAYOTTE IS STILL A PART OF FRANCE. IT HAS THE WHITEST OF WHITE BEACHES AND TURQUOISE SEA!! IT PROVIDES EXCELLENT DIVING AND SNORKELING, AS WELL AS SAILING.

MOHELI IS THE SMALLEST ISLAND AND THE MOST UNDEVELOPED. IT IS WILD, WITH SEA TURTLES, DOLPHINS AND WHALES. ALL ARE PROTECTED IN THE “PARC MARIN DE MOHELI”. GENERALLY THE ISLAND HAS NOT STEPPED YET TO THE 21ST CENTURY, MAKING IT A PERFECT HIDEAWAY VACATION!

ANJOUAN, CALLED “THE PEARL OF COMOROS”, IS THE MOST SCENIC, KIND OF ROBINSON CRUSOE, DESERT, TROPICAL ISLAND! IT FEATURES FORESTED HILLS, RIVERS AND THE VOLCANO MT NTINGI. IT IS COVERED WITH VEGETATION LIKE LARGE FERNS, TROPICAL MAHOGANIES AND WILD ORCHIDS!

THE ISLANDS HAVE A TROPICAL CLIMATE WITH WET AND DRY SEASONS. THE WET SEASON IS FROM OCTOBER TO APRIL, WITH MARCH THE HOTTEST MONTH. THE DRY SEASON IS FROM MAY TO SEPTEMBER, WHICH ARE THE COOLER AND THE DRIER MONTHS, MAKING THIS PERIOD THE BEST FOR A VISIT TO THE COMOROS ISLANDS IN ORDER TO AVOID THE HIGH HUMIDITY OF THE TROPICS.

COMOROS ISLANDS ARE THE KIND OF PLACE YOU GO JUST TO DROP OFF OF EVERYTHING…THEY ARE SO REMOTE THAT YOU WILL FEEL LIKE A FUGITIVE! BUT REMEMBER…ISLAM AND ALL ITS TRADITIONS IS EVIDENT EVERYWHERE. THEREFORE, WOMEN ARE EXPECTED TO SHOW MODESTY AND COVER UP, AND ALCOHOL IS A NO-NO FOR BOTH SEXES! SO ENJOY YOUR HOLIDAYS IN THIS TROPICAL PARADISE WITHOUT ALCOHOL…


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