Chad - Peaks of the Tibesti

Chad - Peaks of the Tibesti

Style: PioneerGroundbreaking tours to unique destinations
Duration: 22 days
Type: GroupTravel with a small group of other travellers


Day 1 – N’Djamena

Arrive in N’Djamena and transfer to the hotel. Overnight Mercure Hotel or similar.

Days 2 and 3 – N’Djamena - Abeche

We set off on our expedition firstly on an asphalt road via Bahr el Ghazal. Upon reaching the large village of Massaguet, we take an easterly route through an area of authentic Sahelian Africa with numerous villages and markets. We will pass the settlements of Ab Toyour, Bitkine, Mongo and Oum Hadjer through the beautiful and lively region of Guera, punctuated by its granite peaks. The village of Ab Toyouris dominated by the granite peak known as Vultures Mountain. We will spend some time admiring the beautiful landscapes. We arrive in Abeche, the ancient capital of Chad and nowadays the capital of the Ouaddai region and one of the most important centres of the whole country. Overnights camping (BLD)

Days 4, 5 and 6 – Kalait – Bichagara – Borkou

From Abeche we swap the asphalt road surface for a northbound track towards the village of Biltine. After the small village of Arada, the Sahelian environment transforms more towards the desert with death dunes and low vegetation prominent. We may see nomadic herders along the way. We reach Kalait, a true Saharan crossroads for trade. We are now in a true desert region on the southern borders of the Ennedi, inhabited by populations of Gaeda, Tama and Zagawa nomadic tribes. We continue northwards along the western (and most jagged) edge of Ennedi Massif. In the gorgeous tassilli region of Bichigara we witness the sandstone cathedrals of the Ennedi, separated by sandy plains and scattered dunes, an area of unrivalled beauty. Here we will see some beautiful rock art from the Bovidian period. We continue north to reach the oasis of Ouei, an important place for the Toubou clans to obtain water for their herds. Overnights are spent camping. (BLD)

Days 7 and 8 – Borkou – Yarda - Kouroudi

We are now in the Borkou region, where dunes and palm groves alternate seamlessly. A sandy track will take us on to the plateau of Yarda surrounded by its characteristic sandstone tassilli where we reach a small oasis and a settlement of Toubou with their huts mad of banco. We continue through a landscape of sedimentary rock formations being constantly shaped by the Saharan winds and surrounded by canyons and dunes. We arrive at the oasis of Orori where we will discover the lifestyle of the Toubou nomads who have inhabited this area for centuries. We should also be able to view some ancient rock art in this area. We reach the small village of Kouroudi nestled in a stunning tassilli environment. Overnights are spent camping.  (BLD)

Days 9, 10 and 11 – Emi Koussi – Enneri Miski – Bini Erde – Tarso Tieroko – Yebbi Bou

We continue to the Emi Koussi plateau, driving around the western edge of the volcano – the highest mountain in the Sahara at 3415m. We spend time exploring the area around Emi Koussi. We follow the course of the Enneri Miski, surrounded by tassilli rock formations, where paintings and rock engravings show evidence of prehistoric civilisation. To our west we see the peaks of the majestic Tarso Tieroko. Excursions on foot allow us to learn a little more about the region. We continue to the well of Birni Erde, very important for the Teda people, who have built a small village nearby. Heading through the mountains our track takes us sometimes through natural gorges and at other times across stony hills. We drive towards Yebbi Bou, a typical Toubou village. Nearby a deep canyon is home to one of the prettiest palm groves in the region. Overnights are spent camping. (BLD)

Days 12 and 13 – Zumri - Bardai

Skirting across the gorges of Yebbigué, the track alternates between hard and rocky stretches to long routes into the green ‘enneri’ (wadis) of acacias and tamarisks; we head around the Tarso Voon and Tarso Toon, two imposing volcanic structures. In the Enneri Zoumri valley we shall find some green oases. Bardai, situated at 1000m altitude on a ledge of striking mountains, is the main town of the region. This oasis is just emerging from many years of terrible war and starting to take its place once more as an important trading post – although small, it is the only one for hundreds of kilometres.  Overnights are spent camping. (BLD)

Days 14 and 15 – Bardai - Trou au Natron

We ascend in altitude, travelling past the Oudinger Gorges until we reach a height of 2200m. At the top, the crater of Trou au Natron appears. A white surface of sodium covers the bottom of the crater and it is used as a salt pasture for the animals, accompanied there by Tubu, after a precarious descent amongst the crags. We descend on foot to the bottom, then return to meet our vehicles. Overnights are spent camping. (BLD) 

Day 16 – Region of Zouar

The track that takes us to the plateau of Enneri Tao at 650m of height is difficult, but the sight on the horizon of the first dunes of the Erg of Bilma and, to the north, the view of the spires of Sissé, more than makes up for it. We head towards Zouar, home of the Dardai, the spiritual and traditional leader of Tubu families of Tibesti. Overnight camping. (BLD)

Days 17, 18 and 19 – Zouar – Marmar - Faya

We arrive at the oasis of Zouar, residence of the Derde, spiritual and traditional leader of the Toubou families of the Tibesti. The Derde represents the highest political and religious authority among the Teda of Tibesti. We should be able to explore the village and the picturesque market. We leave Zouar and traverse rocky buttresses and enter the beautiful region of Marmar, in which isolated high rocky peaks dot the sandy soil. We are now in true desert environment characterised by beautiful dunes. After exploring this area we return to the Borkou region and reach the oasis of Faya, whose palm groves are the most lush and important in the entire region. Overnights are spent camping. (BLD)

Days 20, 21 and 22 – The Journey South to N’Djamena  

Our journey south starts with a crossing of around 80km’s of difficult dunes. After crossing the dunes, we arrive at the beginning of Bahr el Ghazal where clusters of diatom fossils are present, evidence of climatic periods when Lake Chad stretched up to the southern reaches of the Tibesti. Along the Bahr we cross the village of Kouba Oulanga, also known as the ‘depression of the acacias’. We visit the village of Salal, made up of a few houses constructed from banco arranged around an abandoned colonial fort. The track then follows the Bahr el Ghazal depression also known as the river of gazelles. Groundwater reserves here are close to the surface and as a result there is lush vegetation comprising of different acacia and dum palms. We take the road for Massakory crossing the savannah where herds of zebu and sheep graze. At this point we take the last part of our journey back to N’Djamena on asphalt road. We arrive back in the afternoon where day use rooms will be available before your transfer to the airport for your evening departure. Overnights camping until arrival in N’Djamena (BLD)

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