To put it simply, Chad is one of the most exciting countries in all of Africa, an utterly wild and untamed land brimming with opportunities for adventure. The most remote and least visited country in the Sahara, Chad is home to dramatic landscapes and people that rarely see western visitors - an intoxicating combination. This is not an easy trip, and definitely not recommended for first time visitors to Africa, but for those seeking real adventure it is hard to beat.
Day 1 – N’Djamena
Arrive in N’Djamena and transfer to the hotel.
Days 2-3- N’Djamena - Abeche
From N’Djamena, Chad’s capital city, we follow a track running into the alluvial plains of Lake Chad as far as Massaguet, where we continue east passing through villages, markets and settlements of Ab Toyour, Bitkine, Mongo and Oum Hadjer in the region of Guera heading to Abeche, Chad's ancient capital.
Days 4-8 - Abeche - Kalait - Aloba - Archei Region
We continue northward to Biltine, driving past death dunes reaching Kalait. At the southern borders of Ennedi inhabited by Gaeda and Tama people and Zagawa, a shepherd group of 100,000 people moving towards Sudan.
Days 8-9 – Fada – Mourdi - Derbili
We reach the track joining Monou to Fada, and follow it northward as far as Fada, prefecture of the Ennedi and a characteristic saharan village with houses made of banco, clustered around the old French colonial fort and the small but busy market. The main ethnic groups of this region are the Gaeda, Bideyat and Zagawa.
Once we’ve completed the bureaucratic formalities, which can sometimes take a long time, we start the crossing of the massif, and we will drive along a slow sandy and stony track that will lead us to the Mourdi, a wide region of dunes and isolated groups of mountains. We continue in a north/north-east direction, overcoming some difficult dunes, following the ancient caravan route that connected the salt-pits of the Ounianga region (Demi, Teguedei and Ounianga) to the southern Chadian villages and the northern Libyan oases. Overnight camping. (BLD)
Days 10-11- 12 Demi – Teguedei – Ounianga Lakes - Kora - Bichagara
We continue northward until we reach the Eyo Demi, a reddish sandy formation; at its foot rises a village, comprised of a few palms and houses made of sand. This settlement, situated amidst a wild and inhospitable landscape, lives off the trade in “red salt”, obtained by very rudimentary methods and then taken to the southern oases by the caravans, and, then exchanged for millet and sorghum. All along this track it is easy to meet one of these caravans.
From Demi we turn to the west, to the Ounianga Serir, passing through Teguedei, a palm-grove inhabited seasonally for the date harvest, as the small silos made of sand and stones, show. In Teguedei we see the first lake of the Ounianga region, situated in a sandy basin surrounded by palms and multicoloured sandstone formations.
Skirting the Nabar falaise we reach the first lakes of the Ounianga Serir oasis. The landscape is incredible: lakes surrounded by palm-groves that spring up from the sand, rocky formations of multicoloured sandstone from white to red and golden dunes that descend to the water. This is some of the most spectacular scenery in the whole Sahara desert. The water is fresh and comes out from the sand but, because of the salty soil, the lakes are very salty and different colours, from blue to green, respectively more and less salty. We make excursions on foot along the sandy banks and the palm-groves with the opportunity of a bath in the lakes.
After leaving Ounianga Kebir we lead southward passing through an area of dunes where the going can sometimes be difficult. We travel through regions which saw fighting during the conflict with Chad, and it is possible to see old abandoned tanks and other military hardware scattered around the desert. We hope to camp tonight on the edge of the Ennedi, our final night in this majestic region. Overnight camping. (BLD)
Days 13-14 – Kalait – Arada – Abeche – Mongo
Leaving the Ennedi behind, we head first to Kalait where we spend time stocking up on a few essentials for the return journey. From Kalait we follow a different route, leaving the homelands of the Tubu and entering in a more populated area, encountering Arab nomads and settled villagers. On Day 14 we should reach Abeche, Chad’s fourth largest city and the only place of any real size that we encounter since leaving N’Djamena. We have now left the Sahara behind and are in a Sahelian landscape, with acacia trees and large herds of cattle. Overnight camping. (BLD)
Day 15 - Douguia
We continue through the Sahel, travelling through Bitkine and Bokoro to rejoin the main road to N’Djamena. We then head to Douguia, situated on the banks of the Chari River opposite Cameroon. Arriving here in the late afternoon, there should be time to shower and enjoy a cold drink while watching the sunset. Overnight Douguia Camp. (BLD)
Day 16 - Douguia
This morning we take a pirogue ride on the Chari River, past fishermen and small settlements – if we are lucky we may see hippopotamus, and the birdlife here is good. The rest of the day is free to relax. (BLD)
Day 17 – N’Djamena
A morning of relaxation at Douguia before heading back to N’Djamena and then transferring to the airport. (BL)
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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