As the capital city in the Grande Comore Island, the largest in the group of Comoros Islands, expect to feel a bit of Arabian flair coupled with a relaxing vibe in Moroni. Located on the western coast of Grande Comore Island, expect to find ultimate refuge and comfort in this city with its proximity to the Indian Ocean, wherein you can help yourself to a glorious, orange-glowing sunset, its light casting shadows to the Moroni harbor and the Ancienne Mosquée du Vendredi, or the Old Friday Mosque. You can also awe in magnificence upon seeing the Mt. Karthala, the largest active volcano in the world. Moroni is a treasure trove of rich Swahili culture and devoutly Muslim practices; you won’t be able to find a place such as Moroni anywhere else in the world.
To get a glimpse of Arab culture, you have to witness the locals’ Friday worship. You have to get into the Ancienne Mosquée du Vendredi or Old Friday Mosque located just next to the port. Just standing on the steps outside the mosque will make you imbibe the local’s way of living, with majority of them dressed in traditional kanzu, or long white robe, and kofia. The Ancienne Mosquée du Vendredi is notable for its distinctive and intricate Comoran style that dates back to 1427. To complete the look, the minaret was added to the top in the 19th century.
You can also try to explore the old Arab Quarter, a convoluted medina that has narrow streets lined with buildings. The old Arab Quarter is reminiscent of the Zanzibar Stone Town. History has it that Moroni had its humble beginnings as the seat of an ancient sultanate that primarily trades with Zanzibar in Tanzania. Here in the Arab Quarter, you can see women doing about their business, chatting excitedly with their neighbors sporting their colorful wraps, while men can be seen flocking the area with their long white robes, also doing their own thing. While in here, you should take a closer look at the doors, which are elaborately carved with Swahili touch found on most houses.
Moroni is also home to a number of excellent beaches. Best to stay in the Itsandra Beach Hotel, with the clean and spacious bungalows facing the beach, inviting you further to relax and take a dip in the beach. By African standards, the hotel is good and the food is excellent. Just bring insecticides, for you might be infested with insects that may swarm at night time.
How to get around within Moroni
There are three taxi stations in Moroni, one is located in the northern station near the new market in Volo Volo, which serves the north and east of the island and goes to Itsandra, the airport, and Mitsamiouli. For destinations in the Grand Comore, taxis leave from the Chalima terminal and goes to Chomoni. Meanwhile, to reach southern destinations such as Foumboni, taxis leave at Place Cobadjou, near the New Friday Mosque.
How to get there
To get into Moroni City, you have to fly to the Prince Said Ibrahim International Airport. The airport is being served by AB Aviation, Air Australia, Air France, Kenya Airways, and KLM. The said airlines fly from destinations such as Anjouan, Moheli, Saint Denis de la Reunion, and Dzaoudzi.
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