The pyramid peak at Mayotte

Mayotte, The Island of Death - in a Nutshell

Author: Sue
Date: 30th September 2018

Who Colonised Mayotte?

Mayotte was incorporated into various sultanates and invaded by the Portuguese, before finally being sold to the French, by a Malagasy sultan in 1841. Together with Comoros, the islands were known as Mayotte and Dependencies.

Is Mayotte Part of the EU?

  • Mayotte (also known as or Maore) became independent from The Comoros Islands in 1978, (Comoros continues to lay claim to Mayotte, supported by many UN states), but elected to remain a French overseas territory and subsequently a département of France.
  • Mayotte is the newest of the five French overseas départements, having changed from an overseas collectivity with OCT status on 31 March 2011. It became an outermost region, and thus part of the EU, on 1 January 2014
  • The currency is the euro and the official language (of course) is French. Fluent French is almost a necessity for travellers. Most of the locals do not have French as their first language, though nearly all of them speak French. Those locals who do speak English are not very interested in using this knowledge.

Facts and Factoids

  • Mayotte is an archipelago in the Indian Ocean, so it is geographically part of Africa.
  • Of the five islands in the archipelago, only three are inhabited. The two main islands are Pamandzi (or Petite Terre), and Grand Terre. They're connected by a mile long causeway. Grand Terre is formed by a series of volcanoes.
  • The total land area of Mayotte is 144 square miles and Mayotte’s population was 223,762 in 2015.
  • Mayotte is a département of France, so its official flag is the tricolore of France. This is its unofficial flag, the coat of arms of the island.
  • Mayotte's nickname isn't the most enticing. It's called the Island of Death, because it is surrounded by coral reefs and the ancient Arab sailors often lost their ships on its shores.

Is Mayotte a Poor Country?

The département status of Mayotte is recent, and the region remains, by a significant margin, the poorest in France. Mayotte is nevertheless much more prosperous than the other countries of the Mozambique Channel, making it a major destination for illegal immigration.

What to See in Mayotte?

As mentioned above, Mayotte is surrounded by a typical tropical coral reef. It consists of a large outer barrier reef, enclosing one of the world's largest and deepest lagoons, followed by a fringing reef, interrupted by many mangroves. All Mayotte waters are included in the National Marine Park, and many places are natural reserves. So water sports are the order of the day. Diving, snorkelling, or looking out for marine life: whales, dolphins and turtles.

There are beautiful beaches and some great French cooking - at a price. It's an increasingly niche destination.

Here's my trip.

Join the discussion, leave a comment

Been there? Something to add? Want some advice? Just want to say Hello? Get in touch…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

hello world!

Newsletter Subscription

Stay in touch. Get travel tips, updates on my latest adventures and posts on out of the way places, straight to your Inbox.

I keep your data private and only share your data with third parties that make this service possible. Privacy Policy. No spam I promise. Unsubscribe any time.