Capital | Mamoutzou
Population | 170,879
Area | 374 sq km
Official language | French (spoken by 35% of the population) and Mahorian (a Swahili dialect)
Holidays | Bastille Day, 14 July
Currency |euro; French franc
Time Zone | UTC +3
Best time to visit | May to October (dry season)
Connecting with the Culture | Fishing, diving and boating in the waters of Mayotte. Hiking past majestic waterfalls and beautiful deserted beaches.
Eat | langouste a la vanille (lobster cooked in vanilla sauce) or rice and meat infused with cardamom, vanilla, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg; or fish with coconut.
In a word | Habari or salama (`Hello’ in Comoran)
Characteristics | Magnificent blue-green clear ocean waters; fields of ylang-ylang, jasmine, cassis and orange flower; blazing sunsets; long white beaches; beautiful rainforests; political turmoil; excellent seafood; mosques; scuba diving; big-game fishing. Swahili-inspired architecture with arcades; balustrades and carved wooden latticework; a face paste of sandalwaood and coral (m’sidzanou).
Surprises | Studding the Indian Ocean between the African mainland and Madagascar, the island of Mayotte offers an amazing diversity of people and cultures. Despite a succession of political coups and civilian riots, the island boasts cobblestone medinas, ports bustling with dhows, tropicla moonrises over white-sand beaches and blazing ocean sunsets that set the sky on fire. All wrapped in the fragant aroma of ylang-ylang oil, African warmth, French chic and Arabic Aesthetics and a colorful history of sultans, eloping princesses and plantation owners.