Comoros Franc - KMF
You may not be familiar with Comoros or where it is located in the world, but we can start by revealing that its currency is the Comorian franc. You’ll see there is far more to discover about the country below, too.
What coins and notes are available for this currency?
As you might expect to be the case, the Comorian franc is divided into 100 centimes, just like every other franc currency in existence. However this is really an irrelevant point, since the subunit is not in use now. In fact it goes further than this, since no centime coins have ever been made available in the country.
As such all the coins and notes you will see in Comoros are in francs. There are eight coins that are legal tender but only four of them are regularly used now. These are the 25, 50, 100 and 250 franc coins. The lower-denominated coins (the 1, 2, 5 and 10 franc coins) are not often used since the old spectre of inflation has rendered them practically useless and worthless.
As for banknotes you will find five of these you can use while you are there. They are denominated as follows – the 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000 and 10,000 franc notes.
From past to present – the history of the Comorian franc
Comoros is actually a series of islands and the franc was brought into play when it became associated with France. This occurred in 1886 when France took control of the islands as a so-called protectorate. They brought the French franc with them, but in fact this version of the currency didn’t last that long.
Just three years later the Sultan of the islands decided to bring in their own version of the franc, the Comorian franc. This became legal tender at that point but the people of the islands still used the French franc alongside it.
A few years later the islands became a part of Madagascar. This meant the French currency still circulated there although Madagascar ended up with its own version of the franc in use as banknotes, but it had no coins, instead using the proper French coins. Are you confused yet? The islands have certainly been through a few changes over the years!
Then in 1945 a new currency was issued – the Madagascar-Comores CFA franc. This stayed in use until 1960 when Madagascar finally gained its independence from the French people. At this point it created its own currency and left the CFA franc behind. Finally the Comorian franc came into being at the end of the Seventies, as part of a monetary currency agreement. It has been in circulation ever since, although there has been a change in recent years. Previously it was pegged according to the value of the French franc. When this was swallowed by the euro, the value was pegged to the new currency instead.
How to get hold of the Comorian franc
Since the franc is tied to the value of the euro, this is the best currency to take onto the islands with you. In some cases you won’t even have to exchange it – the euro is acceptable in some areas and outlets, but it is best to check before you try to pay with it. In any event you should always carry some of the local francs around with you, especially since smaller transactions and outlets tend to require payment in Comorian francs.
You’ll need to look for the BIC if you want to exchange your money though, since this is the only option available for doing so. This stands for the Banque pour l’Industrie et le Commerce. They will also change other currencies but the euro is the best one to have, for the reasons mentioned above. The BIC will also be quite happy to exchange traveller’s cheques for the Comorian franc, so it is worth thinking about taking some of these with you instead.
As for credit and debit cards, you may only be able to use them in certain establishments. The best rule of thumb is to make sure you don’t rely on them too much, since you will find they cannot be used everywhere you go.
Incidentally it is worth noting that one of the islands, Mayotte, is contested as part of the Comoros Islands. It is best not to assume it is part of the islands as they do not accept the Comoros franc there; instead they use the euro. If you go to visit the islands and you end up travelling to Mayotte as well, make sure you are fully prepared cash-wise. Conversely you can use your credit cards on Mayotte, so it is really a case of swings and roundabouts in terms of the pros and cons involved here.
How to find out the latest exchange rate between your home currency and the Comorian franc
It is quite easy to determine the latest exchange rate here. It is of course pegged to the value of the euro but it is not an easy exchange rate to remember. This means you will probably need to use a currency converter here anyway, even if you are planning on converting the euro to the Comorian franc. You can use the KMF code in order to locate the franc quickly on a currency converter, but be warned – the more basic ones may not include it. If this is the case find a converter that has over 100 currencies included and you should be fine.
There doesn’t seem to be an official site for an embassy for the islands in the UK. However there is a lot of updated information available at the official website for the UK government. You can visit the link at https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/comoros.
Travelling safely with the Comorian franc
The islands are popular among many tourists and it’s good to know that crime isn’t a real issue here. However with that said you should consider taking the usual precautions, such as not leaving any bags unattended and so on. It also makes sense to make good use of your room safe if you are staying in a hotel that offers them. This would be an ideal place to keep your passport during your stay, although the government does advise you to keep a copy of this and other pertinent documents elsewhere too, just in case.
The most common crimes that occur are muggings and pickpocketing. However they are not that common – it’s just a question of being aware and minimising the risks they could happen to you.
Where to spend your francs in Comoros – and what to spend them on
The Comoros Islands are located in the Indian Ocean. Madagascar lies to the south-east of the islands’ location, while the mainland of Africa is to the west. Mozambique and Tanzania are the closest countries to the islands from that perspective.
There are three main islands, of which the largest is Comoros itself. To the south-east of this you will find the small island of Moheli, which is not too well set up as far as tourists are concerned. To the east of this small island you will find Anjouan. There are a few other smaller islands too, including Mahore and Mwali. Mahore is ideal if you happen to like exploring the natural world, since there is plenty of that here both on the island and beneath the waves that lap around it.
The capital of the islands is a place called Moroni, which can be found on the biggest of the islands. It sits at the base of a volcano called Mount Karthala. The volcano is the highest point on all the islands, and to say it is rather large is an understatement. According to some reports the crater measures about a mile across!
Perhaps the best thing you can do here is to explore the older central part of the city. There are many buildings here that could tell a tale or two from many times gone by, but sadly they are perhaps not as well-maintained as they could be.
Elsewhere on the islands you can explore the delights of the natural world. Some of the biggest exports the islands have are jasmine and orange, which give you an idea as to what the surroundings are like. You could say the main attraction the Comoros Islands have to offer is the islands themselves. The heady mix of flora and fauna are unquestionable here, giving you the opportunity to enjoy some amazing sights and experiences.
The Comoros Islands may not be well-known to everyone, but as you can see they are wonderful locations to visit for those who love the natural world and everything it has to offer. With the opportunity to go scuba diving beneath the waves to see the coral and creatures who live there, and to go exploring near volcanoes and through vegetation, you could never be bored of the latest sights and sounds you come across. Which island would you visit first upon arrival here?