Electricity

Electrical current is 220 volts, 50Hz. Round two-pin plugs are most common.

Language

French, Arabic and Comorian are the official languages.

Money

The official currency is the Comoros Franc (KMF), which is divided into 100 centimes. Its value is tied to the Euro and many major tourist establishments accept Euros as payment. In towns, foreign currency can be exchanged at banks on Grande Comore (Ngazidja), but banking facilities are limited on the other islands. Banks are open on weekday mornings only, from 7am to 12pm. The acceptance of credit cards is limited to a few upmarket hotels.

Tipping

Tips of 10 percent are appreciated for good service.

Health

There is a risk of malaria throughout the year, and dengue fever outbreaks occur. Travellers should protect themselves against insect bites as far as possible and take a malaria prophylaxis. No vaccinations are required to visit Comoros but vaccinations for hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and typhoid are recommended. If travellers are spending a lot of time outdoors where they may be exposed to wild animals, a rabies vaccination might be worthwhile. Visitors should drink bottled or boiled water as a preventative measure. Medical facilities are limited and medications may not be available. Travellers are advised to bring their own personal medical kit, all required medications, and to take out comprehensive travel insurance.

Safety

The islands are relatively crime-free, but visitors should be aware that muggers and pick-pockets will target those who look like they are carrying valuables. It is not advisable to walk around alone at night, particularly in the town centres. Cyclones occur between January and April, and Le Kartala volcano on Ngazidja is active and erupts periodically. It is advisable to check on the situation before visiting that part of the island. Foreign governments have, in the past, issued warnings relating to the unstable political situation and it is a good idea to check up on current travel alerts before travelling to Comoros. All political demonstrations and street protests should also be avoided.

Local customs

The islands of the Comoros are largely Muslim and visitors should respect local traditions and sensitivities, especially during the month of Ramadan. Women in particular are advised to dress conservatively, covering shoulders and legs when away from the beach and their hotels.

Doing business

The slow pace of island life is a typical aspect of doing business in the Comoros, where nothing happens too quickly or professionally (French Mayotte is more Western in its approach to punctuality and efficiency). Business dress is tidy but fairly casual, although, as it is an Islamic country, women are expected to dress conservatively. Women are traditionally subservient to men and do not generally hold key positions in business in the Comoros, so visiting businesswomen may find that they are not treated with the same respect as their male counterparts. Business is usually conducted in French, and sometimes in Arabic, but few people speak English. Business hours are generally 7:30am to 2:30pm Monday to Thursday (with some businesses staying open to 5:30pm), Fridays until 11am (Islamic holy day), and Saturdays from 7:30am until 12pm. During the holy month of Ramadan very little business is conducted.

Duty free

Passengers of 18 years and older can bring 400 cigarettes or 100 cigars or 500g tobacco, one bottle of alcohol and one bottle of perfume without paying customs duty.

Communications

The international dialling code for the Comoros is +269. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0027 for South Africa). WiFi is limited, but can be accessed at a few hotels, although the internet speed is quite slow. A local SIM card can be purchased to avoid paying high international roaming fees.

Passport & Visa

Return or onward air tickets and all necessary documents for the next destination are required. It is recommended that passports be valid for six months after the intended period of travel.

Entry requirements

US nationals require a passport valid for at least six months from date of arrival, and a visa to enter the Comoros Islands. Visas can be obtained on arrival for a maximum stay of 45 days.

UK nationals require a passport valid for at least six months from date of arrival, and a visa to enter the Comoros Islands. Visas can be obtained on arrival for a maximum stay of 45 days.

Canadians require a passport valid for at least six months from date of arrival, and a visa to enter the Comoros Islands. Visas can be obtained on arrival for a maximum stay of 45 days.

Australians require a passport valid for at least six months from date of arrival, and a visa to enter the Comoros Islands. Visas can be obtained on arrival for a maximum stay of 45 days.

South Africans require a passport valid for at least six months from date of arrival, and a visa to enter the Comoros Islands. Visas can be obtained on arrival for a maxmum stay of 45 days.

Irish nationals require a passport valid for at least six months from date of arrival, and a visa to enter the Comoros Islands. Visas can be obtained on arrival for a maximum stay of 45 days.

New Zealand nationals require a passport valid for at least six months after date of arrival, and a visa to enter the Comoros Islands. Visas can be obtained on arrival for a maximum stay of 45 days.

Useful contacts

17 (Police), 18 (Fire), 772 03 73 (Ambulance)

Embassies / consulates in other countries

Comoros Embassy, New York, United States (also responsible for Canada): +1 212 750 1637.

Comoran Honorary Consulate, London, United Kingdom: +44 7768 821 888

Comoran Honorary Consulate, Toronto, Canada: +1 905 319 1244

Comoran Embassy, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 12 343 8594

Embassies / consulates in Comoros

United States Embassy, Antananarivo, Madagascar (also responsible for Comoros): +261 20 23 480 00.

British High Commission, Port Louis, Mauritius (also responsible for Comoros): +230 202 9400.

Canadian High Commission, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (also responsible for Comoros): +255 22 216 3300.

Australian High Commission, Port Louis, Mauritius (also responsible for Comoros): +230 202 0160.

South African High Commission, Moroni: + 269 7 73 4783.

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