Mayotte is an archipelago that consists of a main island, Grande-Terre, a smaller island called Petite-Terre, and several islets. The population of about 213,000 people is 92% Comorian, and the territory is geographically part of the Comoro Islands. However, the people of Mayotte chose to remain part of France in the 1975 referendum.
The archipelago encompasses an area of 374 square kilometres, and is located in the northern Mozambique Channel of the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Southeast Africa, between northwestern Madagascar and northeastern Mozambique. The territory is also known as Maore, the native name for Grande-Terre, the main island. This is especially the case among those who were advocates of Mayotte’s inclusion in the Union of Comoros. However, the population overwhelmingly approved accession and the status of a department of France in a 2009 referendum. It was actually 95.2% of eligible voters that voted in favour of departmental status. Mayotte became an overseas department on 31 March 2011 and became an Outermost region of the European Union on 1 January 2014.
The largest city and prefecture, or commune as they are referred to locally, is Mamoudzou. It is also the seat of the local administration. Mayotte is an awkward situation for France even though the vast majority of the local population choose to remain part of France. The local administration of Mayotte is largely ruled by customary Muslim law, which is difficult to integrate into the legal structures of France.That awkwardness is surely to increase with Mayotte’s acceptance into the European Union.
Fortunately, even though an odd political situation extends from waters just off the African continent into the halls of the European Union parliament, there is little affect on tourism. Mayotte is part of France, and the laws and visa requirements that apply to France apply there.
Being an island air and sea are the only way to get to Mayotte.
Passenger ships and ferries from the African mainland only serve Madagascar. Travelers wanting to visit Mayotte by sea have to make their way from Madagascar to the archipelago aboard yachts or cargo ships that will dock at one of the two ports on Mayotte, which are Mamoudzou and Dzaoudzi.
Traveling from Madagascar to Mayotte requires a fair bit of patience because there are no scheduled sailings. In fact, it’s possible to have to spend days waiting for transportation. Of course this means an extended stay on Madagascar, which can be enjoyable if your travels are not dictated by a tight schedule. If they are, air is the best way to visit Moyotte.
There are a number of international and regional airlines serving the Mayotte archipelago, flying into and out of Dzaoudzi Pamandzi International Airport on Petite-Terre. A couple of recommendations are…
EWA Air is a regional airline that operates out of 7 airports in 5 countries in the Indian Ocean. The five countries are Moyotte, which is EWA Air’s hub airport, Tanzania, Comoros, Mozambique, and Madagascar.
Air Austral is a French airline with its headquarters at Roland Garros Airport in Sainte-Marie, Réunion, France. The airline’s main base of flight operations is Roland Garros Airport. It operates scheduled services from Réunion to metropolitan France, South Africa, Comoros, Mayotte, Madagascar, Maurice, Seychelles and Thailand.
BP 52, 97640 Dzaoudzi
60 October 52 0269
Tel: 0269 60 90 90
There are no hostels in Mayotte, but their are more than enough hotels to meet the demand made by vacation travelers. It still is advisable to make reservations prior to arriving in the country though.
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