Serving as the capital of Comoros, Moroni lies on the west coast of Grande Comore, with its name translating from Shingazidja as “at the river”. Ceramic findings indicate that the area was inhabited from the 7th century by the Swahili culture and had become an important Indian Ocean trade hub by the time its 15th-century mosque was built.
Things to do in Moroni
Forming part of the National Center for Documentation and Scientific Research is the National Museum of Comoros, which showcases the country’s natural and cultural heritage. Learn about the impact of volcanoes on the archipelago’s geography and the abundance of marine species that inhabit the surrounding waters. The museum also features exhibits dedicated to traditional clothing and the msinzano paste that local women apply to their faces.
Overlooking Moroni’s bustling harbour and boat-building yard is the Old Friday Mosque, a centuries-old, whitewashed building with carved doors and a colonnaded facade. Originally built in 1427, its green-topped minaret was added in 1921 and it remains one of the most impressive architectural landmarks in the city. At sunset, head to the Pali de Port to photograph the mosque backed by the setting sun.
Moroni is an ideal base for exploring Mount Karthala, an active volcano and the highest point of Comoros. The evergreen forest that blankets its slopes provides a habitat for several endemic bird species, including Comoro drongos, Humblot’s flycatchers and Karthala white-eyes. Join a guided trek to see the stunted trees near Mount Karthala’s peak and peer into its volcanic crater.
Getting around Moroni
Prince Said Ibrahim International Airport is around 40 minutes’ drive from Moroni and has flights to destinations across Africa. Regular ferries connect from Moroni to the African mainland and Madagascar while buses travel to towns and villages across Grande Comore.