Beautiful Sea, Beautiful Land, Beautiful People
At Adore Comores, we are committed to providing you with an authentic and sustainable traveling experience in terms of the environment, culture, and society. Our desire is to preserve and protect the natural and cultural heritage of Comoros so that the Comorian people, and the world, can continue to enjoy it. Would you join us in this initiative by traveling responsibly when you visit the Comoros?
Be a responsible traveler
Here are some practical ways you can be a responsible traveler on the islands. We believe that the following recommendations will enhance and enrich your visit in many ways, while also preserving and improving the Comoros for its people and future travelers.
Respect the Culture
Learn about and respect the local culture
Encountering new and unique cultures is one of the cornerstones of responsible ecotourism. Showing respect for the local customs and traditions serves to expand your understanding of the world and helps to validate and preserve these unique ways of life. Before leaving for your trip, learn about the rich and vibrant culture of the Comoros islands. This will give you great insights into the unique characteristics and traditions in the country and will help you be culturally sensitive.
Learn a few phrases in the local language
Comorians are excited when they hear foreigners speak their local language, even if it’s just a few phrases! They will be keen to help you learn more words, and this can be a great way to interact with the local people and deepen your experience of the culture. Click here to learn some common words and phrases in Shingazidja (the dialect of Grande Comore). These will be understood throughout the country, but keep in mind that each island of the archipelago has its own dialect of Shikomori (Comorian), so don’t be surprised if people tell you that on their island things are said a bit differently.
Adapting your habits of dress to fit into the local culture will make a huge difference in how you are perceived and respected by the people. And this can make the difference between just looking at the culture from the outside, or stepping into the culture and experiencing it as an insider. Choosing to dress in a manner that shows respect for local norms will ensure that you are, in turn, respected by the communities you visit, and you will be welcomed as a local into more homes, ceremonies, and friendships.
Respect the Nature
Respect natural habitats and wildlife
Walk on predefined paths whenever possible so that natural habitats can be preserved. Don’t pick up plants from the forest or shells from the beach. Don’t pick up artifacts from historical sites. Avoid making unnecessary noise in order to admire the sights and the natural peace and tranquility that can be found in these areas. Whether scuba diving, snorkeling, whale watching, observing sea turtles on the beaches or lemurs in the forest, do not touch or feed the wildlife.
Minimize your waste
Waste management is a developing field in the Comoro islands and garbage bins are not usually available in cities and public areas. While we continue to partner with the government and communities to improve waste treatment, we ask you to help us lead by example in the following areas:
- Always carry your litter away with you to dispose of properly.
- Say no to plastic bags from vendors and shops; instead put your items in a backpack or in reusable bags.
- Carry a reusable water bottle which you can fill up at the hotel or restaurants instead of buying drinking water in plastic bottles.
Adore Comores offers filtered water at our office and is working to install water purifiers in many of the hotels and restaurants that we partner with. However, not all hotels are equipped with water purifiers and bringing a personal water filter can reduce your environmental impact.
Follow the local environmental guidelines so that you can play your part in preserving resources. Water is considered precious so try not to waste it, for example by taking shorter showers and supporting the re-usage of towels and sheets in the hotel you are staying. Whenever you are not in your room, remember to turn off the lights, air conditioner, and any other equipment.
Respect the People
Go local and don’t over-bargain
Do your best to support the local economy and the local people. Comoros has a rich local and traditional cuisine, so you will have plenty of choices of local dishes to try. Locally made souvenirs are hard to find in the Comoros but try to buy products from local artisans whenever possible to encourage this sector.
In general, the prices of local products and taxi rides are affordable and not over-inflated, as in some other over-touristed destinations. You may enjoy negotiating and bargaining a little bit with locals just to build a friendship, but don’t expect to get a big reduction and remember that that small difference in price could be a big blessing to the seller’s family. Keep in mind that prices tend to be higher than in some other developing countries, due to the high cost of living resulting from most products being imported.
Ask for permission before taking photos of people
Always ask for permission before taking photos of individuals. Don’t take pictures of or with children unless you have permission from a parent or guardian.
Avoid creating dependency
Begging is not very common in the Comoros, which results in a much more enjoyable experience for travelers as they visit local communities. In the Muslim religion, giving to the poor is mandated and so most of those in need have a regular series of businesses and mosques which they visit to receive help. However, you may still occasionally be approached by people in need. Please do not give money to people on the street. Doing so can disrupt the established cultural ways of caring for the poor, it can induce others to take up begging, and can create a state of dependency where local people feel obligated to plead forcefully with foreigners for money rather than depending on their traditional support systems.
As an integral part of the local community, Adore Comores directly supports individuals and families in need, as well as helping them look for ways to earn an income. We also have a special fund set aside to meet emergency situations and to partner with local organizations which are supporting the needy. If you would like to contribute to this fund to show generosity in a sustainable way, please speak with your guide.
Share your experiences
Share your experiences with others and promote responsible practices to your networks. Your family and friends will benefit from learning about your travel choices and seeing how rewarding and exciting sustainable ecotourism can be!