Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Posts Tagged ‘perfume’

Anjouan, Comoros

Posted by jonathanfryer on Monday, 3rd September, 2018

BC56FAF2-CE6D-471D-BD09-723AEB789992Though more heavily populated than Moheli, Anjouan is the most attractive of the three main islands that make up the Union of the Comoros. The capital, Mutsamudu, has a number of characterful buildings with screened first floor balconies and there is quite a long seafront road that is interesting to explore (if one can ignore the rubbish-strewn beach; garbage disposal is a huge problem throughout the islands). There are a number of glorious sandy beaches — most golden, but some volcanic black — in other parts of Anjouan, and on Sundays many young local guys head off on their motorcycles, with bouquets of flowers on the front and their girlfriend on the back, to Moya, where there are a number of cheap, basic hotels and lodges, as well as plenty of crayfish, shrimps and octopus — the latter a Comorian speciality, often cooked in coconut milk. One rather weird but popular attraction nearby is the island’s only road tunnel, which is not very long but which is a favourite spot for people to hang out.

874A30F4-1DE4-45AD-8A26-2658D9F6D994I didn’t get to see the nature reserve round Lake Dzialandze, nearly 1600 metres up on Mount Ntrigui, but those who have the time and stamina to make the long trek and climb to get there can see lemurs and other wildlife in abundance. At lower altitudes it’s mainly lizards, birds and bats (some huge) which cross one’s eye-line. A lot of the island is mountainous and although some of the forest cover has been removed as a result of human activity, this is nothing like on the same scale as in nearby Madagascar. The main crops are cloves and ylang ylang, which is the base of many perfumes produced by Chanel among others. In colonial times, owning plantations could be a risky venture, as the British Consul, William Sunley, discovered. His abandoned plantation house is atmospherically extant, but empty, and would make a wonderful boutique hotel with the right degree of investment and improved local infrastructure. As it is, the large, blackened swimming pool sits as an eerie memento of a leisured mid-19th century existence built on the backs of slave labour.


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