- Continent: Africa
- Area: 1,284,000 km²
- Population: 10,329,208
- Capital city: N'Djamena
- ISO code: TD
- National language: French, Arabic
- International dialing code: +235
- Currency: CFA-Franc
- License plate number: TD
- Flight routes from Chad: 278
- Flight routes to Chad: 258
- Popular airports: N'Djamena (NDJ), Moundou (MQQ), Abeche (AEH), Faya (FYT), Sarh (SRH)
- Large cities: N'Djamena, Moundou, Sarh, Abéché, Kélo, Koumra, Pala, Am Timan, Bongor, Mongo, Doba, Ati, Laï, Oum Hadjer, Bitkine
Chad travel guide (Africa)
The Republic of Chad is a landlocked country in central Africa and borders on Libya, Sudan, the Central African Republic, Cameroon and Niger.
Geography: in the east of the country the Chad basin, also the location of Lake Chad, takes up a large part of the country’s area. Only here does the country have a wealth of animal life in a relatively untouched natural environment, the highlands of Ennendi and Wadai border on this basin. In the north of the country in the Sahara is the Tibesti mountain range which is of volcanic origin and consists to a large part of bare rocks, deep ravines and wide valleys. Characteristic of the north is in particular the part of the desert that is interspersed by fertile oases. This is where the highest point in Chad is situated, the 3,415 m high volcano Emi Koussi.
Mountains and rivers: the highest mountain in Chad is in the north in a craggy volcanic landscape on the outer edge of the Sahara desert. The Tibesti mountain range is also the highest mountain range in the Sahara and consists of layers of sand that have been formed by the Passat winds. The highest volcano is Emi Koussi in the south west of the massif with an altitude of 3,415 m (11,204 ft). Other high volcanoes in the most probably most isolated region of the world are the 3,100 m (10,170 ft) high Tarso Woon and the 2,625 m (8,612 ft) high Tarso Toon.
The longest river in the country is the Chari with a length of 1,400 km (almost 870 miles). It is Lake Chad’s main feeder river and has its source in the Central African Republic where it flows in a northerly direction over the border to Chad. Its total length in Chad is about 1200 km (745 miles). Lake Chad is in the south west of the country and is the biggest lake on the North African land mass. Chad’s border with Niger, Nigeria and Cameroon runs through the lake.
Climate and best time to visit: in the south of Chad the climate is humid, hot and tropical throughout the year, with high temperatures that vary from region to region. The north of the country on the other hand is in a dry continental zone and is dominated by a desert climate with extreme daily temperature fluctuations. There are two rainy seasons in Chad: in the south the rainy period is from the beginning of May to the middle of October, in the central regions from June to September. The best time to visit and travel in Chad is during the „winter” meaning between December and mid February. At this time it is slightly windy during the day and cooler with average temperatures of 30°C as a result of the dry “Harmattan” coming from the desert. In some parts of the country many roads are not accessible during the rainy season.
Language and communication: the official and national languages are Chad Arabic and French. Chad Arabic is a dialect, which is also spoken in many parts of Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Niger and Nigeria. This dialect is spoken by the majority of the population in the north of Chad, in the south however Chad Sara is more common. This language belongs to the Chad family of languages. More than 50 regional languages and dialects are spoken in Chad, which can be grouped into differing linguistic families, some are related to the Sudanese language, others to the Chad family of languages or the Saharan languages. Knowledge of French is absolutely essential for those travelling to the interior as there are virtually no interpreters to be found in the country and almost everyone has at least a basic knowledge of French, which is used as a means of communication between speakers of the many different languages.
Health and vaccinations: vaccination against hepatitis A, typhoid, diphtheria, polio and tetanus is recommended. Long clothing should be worn to provide protection against mosquitoes and other insects, and a locally purchased insect repellent should also be used. There is an occurrence of malaria in the whole of the country all year round. Please seek advice from your GP on effective anti malaria medication. Medical care is only of a sufficient standard in the capital city, N’Djamena; in the interior of the country, medical care is more or less non-existent, particularly in the north of Chad. Visitors are advised to take out a comprehensive medical and travel insurance that covers repatriation costs. A first aid kit should be packed and fruit and vegetables peeled or boiled before being eaten
Entry requirements: British nationals need a visa to enter Chad. These can be applied for at the Chadian Embassy in Belgium. All persons entering the country will be required to show a yellow fever vaccination certificate on arrival. Some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country. For further information on exact requirements at immigration please contact the Embassy of Chad. Travellers are advised to keep well informed of current security issues. For regular security updates and more information on entry requirements and vaccinations please refer to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Website.
Arrival and onward journey: there are currently no non-stop connections from the UK to Chad. Air France has regular flights from London Heathrow (LHR) to Ndjamena (NDJ) via Paris (CDJ). Chad’s national airline Toumaï Air Chad (9D) also flies direct from Paris. Inland flights are also provided by the national Toumaï Air Chad with 3 flights to Moundou (MQQ), Sarh (SRH) and Abéché (AEH).
Capital city: N’Djamena has more than 1.5 million inhabitants in the greater city area and is the biggest city in the country. The capital has two different districts: a European district, the location of the administrative offices and security forces of the country, and a lively African district. Most attractions are to be found in the African district and include the old town and the daily market as well as the national museum with its large selection of exhibits from the Sar culture dating from the 9th century.
Places of interest and beaches: permits are required by those wishing to explore Chad and its many attractions. As a rule these may be applied for on arrival at the airport. When travelling across country please also note that due to the lacking infrastructure emergencies may in many cases only be dealt with by the nearest Chadian or French military base, as only here do sufficient means of communication exist.
In Chad, the Zakouma National Park in the south is particularly worth seeing. The national park is near the city of Sarh and has been in existence as a national park since 1963. The park has a size of about 3.000 km² and is home to 44 different mammals and 25 different species of birds. The population of the endangered African elephant has recovered since the civil war and is now estimated at 4000. The Chad government is currently appealing for the national park to be included on the UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites. The best time to visit the park is between March and April as many animals collect at the water holes during this period and it is possible to watch giraffes, monkeys, antelopes, and lions. Please note that the national park is closed during the rainy season from June to October.
The most important attraction in Chad is the Ennedi desert in the Tibesti mountain range where the unique Saharan desert of Chad may be seen in all its different forms. The visitor is confronted with a breathtaking and partly bizarre landscape. The variety of sandstone rocks glowing in the sunlight is especially impressive. There are many rock and cave paintings – mute witnesses to past settlements and the former fertile vegetation. The 12 Ounianga lakes are especially worth visiting in the Ennendi, 7 of these are filled with fresh water, and dunes, palm trees and white limestone rocks are reflected in the dark blue water. The Gueltas are also interesting in the Ennendi: these are drinking water holes fed by underwater sources in the desert. An impressive Guelta can be seen in Wadi Archai: it is surrounded by 120 m high impressive cliffs and is home to the last remaining Saharan crocodiles, which largely feed on small fish. A good view of the crocodiles and the breathtaking landscape may be had from the large cliffs.
Religion: about 50% of Chad’s entire population are Sunni Muslims. About 25% are Christians and a further 25% Animists.
Major Cities and accommodation: N´Djamena, Moundou, Bongor, Sarh, Abéché and Doba.