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Comoro Islands And Mayotte Cruises

Laid out like a quintet of surreal emerald stepping stones in the sparkling blue hue of the Indian ocean, the Comoros Islands have much in common, yet each possesses enough diversity in its own right to make it as individual as a human fingerprint.

Grand Comore is the largest island of this extraordinary group, and is a sovereign state in its own right. Run by an elected president, it boasts a population in excess of 316,000. The capital is Moroni, situated on the western side, and the principal harbour for the island’s main exports of coffee, cocoa and vanilla.

As a stark contrast, there is the hulking, semi submerged reef known as Banc du Geyser, which should have been the fifth island in the chain. First charted in the year 700, this is a navigational hazard some eight kilometres long and five wide, located in the northern end of the Mozambique Channel. The possibility of underground oil reserves has made the reef’s ownership a matter of international contention.

By contrast, the group of islands known collectively as Mayotte remain firmly wedded to its French heritage, though a national plebiscite in 2009 might change this course of affairs. Grande Terre is the largest of these, is thirty nine kilometres long by twenty four wide, and fringed on the west side by numerous coral reefs that offer sanctuary to an abundance of marine wildlife.