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Introducing Mohéli

Mohéli is the Comoros island you go to when you want to drop off the planet for a while – the one we said even a hunted fugitive could blend into. It’s wild, undeveloped and sparsely populated (except for, strangely, lots and lots of donkeys, far more in fact than on the other islands). A visit to this, the smallest and most interesting of the Comoros islands, is a highlight of any Comorian trip. There is no question about Mohéli’s backwater status: this island hasn’t caught up with the 20th century yet, let alone the 21st. But this is a very good thing. While the other islands offer capitals with trash-strewn streets, Mohéli is relatively clean by Comorian standards. Plus this island is home to the only national park in the Comoros, Parc Marin de Mohéli. Nature lovers looking to explore the dramatic, craggy islets off Mohéli’s golden shores or snorkel amid the colourful coral reefs, splashing about in the clear aquamarine water off the southwest coast, will love it here.

Also known as Mwali or Moili, Mohéli is a favourite with fans of sea turtles and marine mammals such as dolphins and whales. All are protected in the national park. Bird-watchers­ will also find plenty to interest them at Lac Dziani Boundouni on the eastern edge of the island, where there’s also a good chance of spotting the rare mongoose lemur in the remaining stands of rainforest.

Mohéli doesn’t have many modern amenities, but it kicks too much arse in the raw-beauty department to care. For many travellers this lack of organised tourism is what makes the island so special in the first place, and many consider a visit here the most interesting and inviting in the Comoros. An excellent ecotourism project funded by the EU means that simple bungalow accommodation is easy to find in attractive spots all over the island.