Chad is not a very popular tourist destination, and the number of foreign tourists arriving here is quite small. The main landmarks in the country are the National Parks of Zakouma, Aouk, Goz Beida and Manda. Another attraction is the conservation area of Bahr Salamat Faunal Reserve that completely surrounds Zakouma National Park. One of the greatest beauties in Chad are the lakes of Ounianga. Since 2012, they are declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located in the northeast of the country, the lakes are most beautiful when the setting sun begins to change minute by minute the color of the surrounding rocks from golden to fiery red.
The majority of visitors come in Chad to admire the wildlife or to practice hunting.
Though Chad is mostly desert country, fish is one of the traditional food products here. Nile perch is probably the most popular kind of fish in the country.
It is prepared in various ways, and it is definitely the first thing to try if you visit Chad. If you want to have a glass of traditional local drink, you can try the huge variety of freshly squeezed tropical juices or to enjoy a glass of karkanji (a kind of local drink whose main ingredients are hibiscus flowers, cinnamon and sugar).
Chad is one of the most geographically detached and isolated countries in Africa. It is located in the central parts of the continent, approximately 800 km from the Atlantic coast.
It is bordered by six other African countries – Libya to the north, Sudan to the east, the Central African Republic to the south and Cameroon, Nigeria and Niger to the west. Chad has an area of 1,284,000 sq km and is the 21st largest country in the world.
Three different natural zones can be traced in a north-south direction in Chad. The northern one-third of the country is occupied by the hot, dry and inhospitable Sahara Desert.
The surrounding landscape is monotonous and almost completely devoid of any vegetation.
South of Sahara Desert extends the semi-arid belt of Sahel. It crosses the entire African continent from east to west.
It is home to some species of plants that are resistant to prolonged droughts and high temperatures.
Characterised by two prolonged seasons, dry and rainy, the southernmost one third of Chad is covered by extensive savanna.
Depending on the season, the landscape in the south of Chad changes its colors beyond recognition from yellow to bright green.
Chad has a very hot climate. Temperatures between 45 and 49°C are not uncommon. The larger northern part of the country falls within the tropical climate zone.
It suffers from prolonged and relentless droughts that last for months or even for years. To the south there are two seasons, dry and rainy.
During the dry season the sun shines steadily and burns everything. During the rainy season, even if more favorable for plants, the combination of high humidity and high temperatures is very difficult to bear.
The central, western and southern regions of Chad are mostly flat, and the east of the country is to a large extent covered by high-altitude plateaus, reaching to about 1500 meters.
Ennedi and Erdi are the best known plateaus of Chad. They are located not far from the border with Sudan. In the north of Chad are located Tibesti Mountains, a small part of which passes within the borders of neighboring Libya.
The highest in Tibesti and across the country is Mount Koussi or Emi Koussi, 3415 meters high.
In much of Chad, the lack of clean drinking water is a serious problem. Rivers and lakes are almost completely absent, and the very few that exist are seasonal and dry up completely during the dry months.
The number of water bodies is more significant in the south of the country. Lake Chad, for example, is one of the largest in Africa. It is located in the southwest of Chad.
Part of the lake also falls within the neighboring Cameroon, Nigeria and Niger. It occupies an area of about 25,000 sq km, but during the dry season the area is reduced by half.
Lake Fitri, the second largest lake in the country, also increases two or three times its surface area during the rainy season.
The Chari River, the largest one in Chad, flows southeast to northwest through the south of the country.
Approximately 100 km after passing through the country’s capital N’Djamena, the river with an enormous catchment area empties its waters into Lake Chad.
Nearly 950 km long, the river is vital for humans, animals and plants, and it is also the main source of fresh water which feeds the lake.
Chad has a population of about 10.6 million people, and most of them live in the humid south of the country.
With a population of over 1 million people, the capital N’Djamena and its surroundings are the most populated part of the country.
Chad’s population mainly speaks two languages, French and Arabic, although many other less familiar local languages are also widely spoken.
More than half of the population consists of Muslims. The number of Christians, however, is also significant – over 30%. Chad is an ethnically and culturally diverse country.
Here live people from a few hundred different ethnic groups. The majority of the inhabitants of northern Chad are Arab Muslims, and the south is populated mainly by dark-skinned people who were heavily influenced by French culture and profess Christianity.
The vast majority of the inhabitants of Chad are employed in agriculture, and cotton is the main export.
Thanks to Chad’s significant oil reserves, if the government maintains an appropriate policy, the country can significantly enhances the quality of life and standard of living in the future.
The majority of the population of Chad lives in extreme poverty. The lack of access to quality health care and education is a serious problem.
The average life expectancy does not even reach 50 years. Hepatitis A, malaria, encephalitis, diarrhea, various types of fever and many other dangerous diseases are widely spread throughout the country.
West African or Gambian sleeping sickness is considered to be one of the most dangerous diseases in the region. It is transmitted by the tsetse fly, and the disease is usually fatal.
In the 20th century, millions of people in Africa were affected by several major epidemics of the disease.
Before you travel, you should visit your GP and ask him how to prevent contagious diseases while in Chad.
When you are already in the country, it is advisable to be very careful with the sources of food and drinking water!
Like many other very poor and underdeveloped countries, Chad is not a very safe place for tourists to visit.
If you are planning to travel to the country, however, it is advisable to avoid lonely country roads where the risk of being attacked and robbed is bigger.
For the most part, the border areas of Chad are also very dangerous. It is believed that the situation in the country as a whole is very unstable.
Protecting their citizens, many countries around the world advise people to avoid traveling to Chad, unless it is very urgent.