Your guide to being an expatriate in Mayotte

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Mayotte is an administrative territory of France located in the Indian Ocean, southeast of the Comoros archipelago. It comprises numerous islands and is one of the collective territories of France. Mayotte gained official overseas country status in 2011 and is set to become a full overseas department and region by 2022, with greater autonomy and representation in the French Parliament. The island's geography is volcanic and mountainous, with dense rainforests, a mangrove swamp, and extensive coral reefs surrounding the islands.


Expat destinations in Mayotte

Demographics of Mayotte:

Ethnic groups

The population is predominantly Swahili and Shikomori, with a minority of French and Comorian descent.


French is the official language, and Swahili (Kiswahili) and Shikomori are also widely spoken.

Religion Overview

Mayotte is mostly Roman Catholic as a result of colonization by Europeans in the 19th century. Nonetheless, there is also a significant Muslim community on the island, particularly in the north. During Ramadan, prayers are carried out in mosques such as the Grand Mosquée de Dzaoudzi, which is modeled on Yemeni architecture.

Major Religions


Mayotte has a tropical climate, with high humidity and heavy rainfall during the summer months. The temperature is generally hot and humid, with an average year-round temperature of around 27 °C.

Economy Overview

Mayotte's economy is dominated by agriculture, tourism, and fishing. The islands have some of the world's most pristine coral reefs which draw significant numbers of visitors. Beef cattle farming and fisheries are key industries, although exports are limited and primary production is largely consumed locally. Fresh produce, such as vanilla extract, coconuts, and cocoa beans, are traded for other essentials.

Key Industries

  • Agriculture
  • Tourism
  • Fisheries

Major Companies

    Culture and Language Overview

    Mayotte's cultural heritage is closely linked to the French colonial history and to its Comorian and African origins. Swahili and Shikomori are commonly spoken, while French is the official language. Musical instruments such as the kabous and kayamb engage in lively dances during annual festivals such as the 'Vaissane'. Traditional music intermingles with French chanson, creating a unique genre.

    Cultural Highlights

    • Djulum Festivities: Celebrated in January, these festivals mark the start of the agricultural season where fish, pawpaws and rice dishes are prepared.
    • Coconut Festival: Usually held in May, this festival honors the coconut tree and its importance to the economy and culture of Mayotte. Various coconut-based delicacies are prepared, and the best coconut harvest is recognized.
    • Meerizan Festival: Held in November as the harvest season is ending, this festival symbolizes the preparation of stores for the dry season.

    Geography and Landmarks Overview

    Mayotte comprises seven main islands, including Grand-Terre, which is the only one inhabited. Fort Bourbon sits in the heart of Mamoudzou, the principal town, and is the oldest standing fortification in the Indian Ocean. Other significant sites include the Mtsapéré Natural Marine Reserve, home to an abundance of marine life and diverse coral structures, and Mtsamboro National Park with its lagoons, warm-water coral gardens, and marine mammals such as manta rays and turtles.

    Notable Landmarks

    • Fort Bourbon: Built by the French in 1838 to defend the harbor, this fortress is a surviving witness to Mayotte's history.
    • Anse Intendant: A stunning white sand beach located on the eastern coast of Petite-Terre, adjoined by a lagoon complete with footpaths immersed in greenery and a shallow lagoon.
    • Mtsamboro National Park: Home to the largest coral reef barrier in the western Indian Ocean, this national park shelters an array of marine life, including different birdlife and sea turtles.
    • Grand Mosquée de Dzaoudzi: Modeled as a Yemeni structure, this mosque is the largest mosque on the island and has a capacity of 500 worshippers.
    • Mfaweni Falls: The highest waterfall in Mayotte, Mfaweni falls stands proudly at 80 meters amongst lush vegetation and wildlife.

    National Holidays

    • 1 January: New Year's Day
    • 21 January: Feast of Saint Joseph
    • 27 April: Liberation Day
    • 1 May: Labour Day
    • 8 May: Victories of 1940 and 1945
    • 13 May: Ascension Day
    • 24 May: Saint John the Baptist's Day
    • 15 August: Assumption of Mary
    • 1 November: All Saints' Day
    • 11 November: Armistice Day
    • 25 December: Christmas Day

    Political Stability

    Mayotte's political system is incredibly stable as an integral constituent of the French Territory. There are seventeen communes that make up Mayotte’s territorial structure, with the general council of Mayotte and the Mayotte Regional Council empowered to govern decrees regarding housing management, environmental protection, agriculture, and education. However, the French Government enacts policies bearing on defense, foreign affairs, and the economy.

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