Chad - Soul of the Sahara

Chad - Soul of the Sahara

Style: PioneerGroundbreaking tours to unique destinations
Duration: 17 days
Type: GroupTravel with a small group of other travellers


Day 1 – N’Djamena

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

Days 2-3 - N’Djamena – Abeche

From N’Djamena, Chad’s capital city, we follow the road which connects N’Djamena to the important oasis of Faya as far as Massaguet, where we continue east. The path is filled with numerous villages and markets, and we pass through settlements of Ab Toyour, Bitkine, Mongo and Oum Hadjer in the beautiful and lively region of Guera. The landscape is characterized by granite peaks and some of the richest markets in Chad. We continue to Abeche, the ancient capital of Chad, and now the capital of the Ouaddi region and one of the most important centres of the whole country. Overnight wild camping (BLD)

Days 4-8 – Abeche – Kalait – Aloba – Archei Region

We continue northward to the village of Biltine and drive past death dunes covered with low vegetation before reaching Kalait, a true Saharan crossroads for trade. We continue north and are now in a desert region, at the southern borders of the Ennedi, inhabited by Gaeda and Tama populations and by Zagawa, a shepherd group composed of 100,000 people moving throughout the region following the grazing lands towards Sudan and the east. Continuing northward, on the way to Fada, the imposing Ennedi massif starts to become visible. One hundred kilometres after Kalaït, by an isolated peak named Ouaguif; we leave the track and enter into the massif, following the wide Archei oued, bordered by a beautiful succession of rock formations, eroded into weird and wonderful shapes by the sand. Amongst the most beautiful are those of Terkei and Toukou, which we will explore in detail. The oued winds for about thirty kilometres, before ending in a wide rocky and verdant amphitheatre which marks the start of the true gorges leading to the guelta, a permanent water source where we can meet the nomadic Tubu population with their herds of camels. The Archeï gorges, situated in a landscape of unforgettable beauty, are home to many ancient rock paintings, and to the last living specimens of Saharan crocodiles (crocodilus niloticus). Overnight wild camping (BLD)

Days 9-11 – Fada – Mourdi – Derbili – Demi – Teguedei – Ounianga Lakes

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 crossing the massif. 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. 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. Along the track we can usually 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. 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. We make excursions on foot along the sandy banks and the palm-groves with the opportunity of a bath in the lakes. Overnights wild camping. (BLD)

Days 12-17 - Ounianga Serir – Kora – Bichagara – Kalait – Bahr El Ghaal – N’Djamena

After leaving Ounianga Serir we head southward passing through an area of dunes where the going can sometimes be difficult. We travel through regions which have seen historical conflict and it is possible to see old abandoned tanks and other military hardware scattered around the desert. 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, the natural course of the Oued Achim and we find ourselves in an area rich in animals (gazelles, bustards, hyenas and jackals). From here we follow the desert plateaus that lead us to the depression of the Bahr el Ghazal, the gazelles' river, an ancient river from the Paleochad period and travel south into the Kanem region. We should arrive back in N’djamena on the evening of day 17 where day-use rooms will be available until your late evening flight out of N’djamena (BL)

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