Day 1: Flight to Moroni, transfer to hotel in Moroni
Today's flight brings you to Grande Comore, the largest and loftiest island of the Comoros group. It rises near its southern end in an active volcano, Mount Karthala, which, at 2,361 meters, is the country’s highest point. Karthala has erupted more than a dozen times in the past two centuries. The capital, Moroni, lies in the shadow of the volcano along the island’s west coast.
Your time of arrival depends on where you are flying from (Dar es Salaam, Nairobi, Addis Abeba or Antananarivo). This itinerary is based on a late arrival. You will continue straight to your hotel. Tomorrow morning you will fly to Mohéli. On the last day you have half a day to explore Grande Comore. If you arrive early we will adjust your program and organize a Grande Comore tour for you on this day.
Golden Tulip Grande Comore Moroni Resort & Spa (4-star) is located on the island’s prime location of the Indian Ocean, only 15 minutes from Prince Said Ibrahim International Airport. The Hotel has elegantly appointed rooms and its own little beach. It's not the type of hotel you would expect from Matoke Tours (as its rather big), but at Grande Comore it's the only comfortable option. Your real African beach holiday starts tomorrow!
||15 minute transfer
||Golden Tulip Hotel
||No meals included today
Day 2: Flight to Mohéli - Transfer to Laka Lodge - Optional activities
In the morning you will board a small plane to Mohéli. On arrival to the small island airstrip you will be transfered to Laka Lodge.
Laka Lodge is located next to the village of Nioumachoua and it's the only lodge on the island of Mohéli. With a sea view and the magnificent national park of Mohéli spreading out from behind the lodge, your stay here will be in the tranquil embrace of beach and forest. The lodge faces six uninhabited islands that are surrounded by exceptional marine life and endless coral reefs.
Optional (for the adventurous):
On arrival at the airport a representative from Laka Lodge will collect your luggage; then you will depart with a guide for a 5-hours trek. The hike will take you over the central mountain range (700 meters elevation), through the primary forest, and directly to the Lodge. Discover the native plants and trees of the island and enjoy the views of all 3 Comorian islands from the top of the range.
*This activity is not included. Additional cost is 45 Euro pp, to be paid to Laka Lodge.
Mohéli Laka Lodge is located on a peninsula with a large private beach with pearly white sand and equipped with coconut leaf covered umbrellas. From here you can explore and discover Mohéli with a variety of marine and terrestrial activities.
The rooms are rather basic, but the location and service is outstanding. All rooms are self-contained and have a stunning view over the beach, the ocean, and the islands beyond.
This afternoon you still have plenty of time for an optional activity (see below).
||25 minute flight, 2 hour transfer
||Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 3-5: Optional activities in paradise
During your stay you can choose from many eco-tourism activities: whale watching by boat, *snorkeling with whales, snorkeling or diving on the sublime coral reefs, beach volley, ping-pong, badminton, visit a lagoon by canoe, kayak or the traditional "laka", fishing, hiking in the coastal and primary rainforest, mountain biking, village walks, visit the Giant Sea Turtle Reserve in Itsamia or go to the Livingstone Bats Reserve. The possibilities are endless! Should you want a more quiet time, you can simply enjoy some down-time on one of the secluded beaches and go swimming in the pleasant temperatures of the Indian Ocean.
At the end of the day you can have a relaxing walk around the area, visit the mangroves, climb a nearby hill and enjoy the stunning sunset.
We always say that the best starry nights are to be had in Africa, and this is certainly true for the Comoros.
||Breakfast, lunch & dinner
Every year around 1000 Humpback Whales migrate from the Antarctic to visit the waters of the Comoros archipelago. These giant marine mammals may weigh up to 40 tons and measure 17 meters in length. Their presence in the National Park of Mohéli is unique and you may sometimes see them from the lodge as they roam around the islands in the distance. Amazing!
In the beginning of the Antarctic winter, in April, they start their 6000-kilometre-long journey through the Mozambique Channel, reaching Mohéli mid-July where they stay until the end of October.
Calves are born in July and August, and the young families rest in the warm, tropical waters for several months as the young whales gain strength.
Mohéli is one of the few places in the world where one can safely observe and even swim alongside these gentle giants.
*At Laka Lodge the best chance to observe and swim with the whales is from early-August until mid-October.
To experience the underwater flight of the Manta ray first-hand is an amazing experience!
The Manta Alfredi gracefully cruise between the islands in search of plankton. With a wingspan of up to 3 meters, the first sign of these gentle giants is a shadow under the water or the glimpse of a wingtip breaking the surface.
Sliding quietly into the water with mask and snorkel, you can relax in place as one, two, or three manta rays cruise past with mouth agape; then watch them loop and wheel around to make another pass.
To see this on video is amazing. To be in the water with them, so close that they sometimes brush you with their wingtips, is unforgettable!
Manta ray observations follow strict guidelines to ensure the safety of divers and the manta rays. You will have a snorkeling guide with you to carry out a detailed briefing and support you under water. Only a maximum of 8 guests are allowed in the water at any one time.
Manta rays are best seen when they are feeding in the bays of the islands, between the months of April to November.
In this natural paradise, dolphins may surprise you while you cruise around the pristine isles in search of a good diving spot or on a look-out for the humpback whales. A sudden leap high above the water by the spinner dolphins is often the start of a beautiful experience. Having 30 sleek acrobats crisscrossing underneath your boat or leaping in your wake makes for a magical day. With our exclusive, small-boat adventures, you are an integral part of this ocean ballet.
Now it is time to drop into the crystal-clear water and join in the dance. As you swim with the pod you will listen to their calls and add the sound of their underwater chorus to this sensational experience.
Mohéli is home to numerous dolphin species. From small pods of pan-tropical spotted dolphins, to groups of 200 Peponocephala electra, you will never forget your dolphin safari.
Mohéli is home to two species of marine turtles, the Green Sea Turtle (Cheolonia mydas) and the Hawksbill Sea Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), although even a lonesome leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) has been spotted here!
Laka Lodge organises visits to the best nesting beaches so that you can be a part of this extraordinary event. You will be just a few feet away as you watch these 300 kg giants pull themselves arduously up the beach, dig a hole, and deposit their eggs in the sand.
Almost every night, year-round, the turtles emerge from the waters of the Indian Ocean to lay their eggs deep in the sand. Sixty days later up to 200 baby turtles will climb out of their sandy nests and race down to the water. With a little luck you will also see this joyful event.
Scuba divers and snorkelers are almost sure to come across one or more sea turtles quietly roaming the reef or having a rest on the seabed.
The northern Mozambique Channel is recognized as one of the world's most biologically diverse marine areas. Located in the heart of this vast coral reef, Mohéli’ s reefs are home to hundreds of species of corals and fish. Visitors to Laka Lodge can snorkel on the beautiful “house reef” which begins just in front of the lodge's private beach.
You can also go on a boat trip to snorkel or scuba dive on the pristine reefs surrounding the uninhabited islands, just 15 minutes away.
Marine biologists all agree that the coral reefs in the Mohéli Marine Park are some of the healthiest, thriving reefs found worldwide. Come witness the beauty of abundant coral species and the ecosystems they support.
For divers there are only a few places left in the world waiting to be discovered. The Marine Park of Mohéli spans over 400km² of coral reefs and sand banks which are still largely unexplored.
Laka Lodge Diving invites you to be one of the first to experience a unique dive. The waters around Mohéli contain some of the richest biodiversity in the world and offer an enormous potential of diving sites still to be discovered.
Laka Lodge Diving is the first to systematically explore the diving sites and identify different species that are present. They have already identified a large number of excellent diving sites and are able to offer day and night dives at varying levels of technical skill.
PADI certification courses up to Divemaster level are offered during high season (between July and November). We organize two dives per day of which one may be an evening/night dive. Night dives are of an exceptional beauty.
To guarantee availability, dives and the rental of equipment need to be booked in advance.
The entire area south of Mohéli is a natural reserve, recognized since 1994 by the United Nations Environmental Program. Plans are now underway to have the entire island of Mohéli designated as a Biosphere Reserve.
Mohéli Laka Lodge can organize all your excursions to explore this tropical paradise. Have a quiet walk in the village of Nioumachoua. The villagers and children will kindly greet you and reply on “Djédjé with a friendly “Djéma”. Discover the old village of Chouani and the mangrove forests next door. Ask around and buy fragrant ylang-ylang oil (the essense of Chanel n°5), vanilla, cloves, pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg.
For the adventurous, you can try our new exploratory hike. On arrival at the airport we will collect your luggage; then you will depart with a guide for the 5-hours trek. The hike will take you over the central mountain range (700 meters elevation), through the primary forest, and directly to the Lodge. Discover the native plants and trees of the island and enjoy the views of all 3 Comorian islands from the top of the range.
The numerous streams which descend from the mountains to the sea create hidden waterfalls just waiting to be discovered.
The waterfall of Miringoni is just a 15-minute walk from the road. Swim in the large pool of clear water or relax on the rocks and watch the never-ending stream of water emerge from the forest and drop into the basin.
The Merimani waterfall is best accessed from the sea and only accessible during high tide. After running the boat ashore in a hidden cove, a 3-minute walk behind a patch of mangroves and over jumbled boulders you will seethe cascade plunging into a small pool and running through the rocks and into the ocean.
The Livingstone’s Flying Fox (Pteropus livingstonii) is a fruit-eating bat with a wingspan of up to 1.4 meters. They are a critically endangered species found only on Mohéli and neighboring island Anjouan, with less than 1,200 individuals remaining. Efforts are ongoing to preserve their habitat and understand their lifecycle.
Begin your visit to the Livingstone Bat Reserve by hiking through the subtropical rainforest. You will follow a beautiful stream towards the mountains as your guide points out local medicinal trees and edible plants. You will climb to an altitude of 200 meters to discover the giant bats sunning themselves in the trees and circling their roost on the morning thermals.
Your visit to the reserve will support the local community association of the village of Ouallah and aid in their mission to educate, protect and conserve this fascinating species.
Activity rates (Euro):
- Isle of Ouenefou or Mea (snorkelling) €25
- Two Islands snorkelling + Merimani waterfall €35
- Fishing + snorkelling €40
- Whale or dolphin Discovery €40
- Forest hike and Livingstone bats €20
- Turtles at Itsamia or Boundouni Lake €35
- Village Walk or Ylang-ylang farm €5
- Rental of kayak or canoe €5
- Rental of snorkelling gear + wet suit €5
- 5-hour Cross-Island hike (Fomboni - Lodge) €45
- Access to Marine Park – €5
Day 6: Grande Comore tour, departure
Today is unfortunately your last day with Matoke Tours in Mohéli. The driver/guide of the lodge will take you to the airfield for your flight back to Moroni from where you will have a Grande Comore tour, before the guide drops you at the airport.
* If - for any unforseen reason - the domestic flight gets cancelled, Laka Lodge can drop you at Grande Comore by speedboat (emergency plan). This takes about 2,5 hours and you will be charged about €250 (at your own cost). In a situation like this the costs for your domestic flight will be refunded. This situation will be unlikely to happen, but we do wish to inform you about this option beforehand.
* If your international flight leaves early we can change the program accordingly by planning your Grande Comore tour on day 1 (or skipping this program, or adding an extra day).
||2 hours transfer, 30 minute flight
A bit more of the Comoros Islands?
We have focused our Comoros trip on Mohéli island and Laka Lodge. When you look on the map you might wonder why we are not visiting the other islands (except for a day tour on Grande Comore). This is due to 2 reasons:
1. Comoros is not developed for tourism at all and Laka Lodge is pretty much the only nice lodge available and the only place from where you can have a sublime beach holiday. Grande Comore and Anjouan is not set up to offer comfortable and nice accommodation and fascilities.
2. Matoke Tours does not offer Mayotte as part of a Comoros trip. Mayotte is very nice in its own way and might be added to our website later, but it's a completely different type of island experience. The island is an overseas region of France, many French people live there and it is developed and organized in a very European way. We like to keep this Comoros trip more "African".
Should you wish to you can ask us to make the 3rd island, Anjouan, part of your beach holiday. The island itself is worth visiting. However, accommodation options on this island are quite basic with little atmosphere. If you like exploring and getting to know more of the Comoros it's worthwhile, but if you want a bit of comfort we would advise you to stay longer at Laka Lodge.
Add more nights at Lake Lodge.