Chad

by Peter Baxter  

Chad Villages

A somewhat isolated and landlocked country, Chad is part of the Francophone region of Africa, and is a bit of a regional problem child. Long coveted by Libya, and one of Colonel Gadaffi’s particular obsessions, Chad has suffered a turbulent and bloody post colonial birth. It has tended to emerge with somewhat increased stability of late, although it has been drawn into the Darfurian tragedy, and nowadays suffers extremely poor relations with eastern neighbor Sudan.

As a travel destination Chad is very tricky indeed. It has a great deal to offer the extreme outfield travelers, with a respectable swathe of the Sahara Desert to test the retreads on your Landrover, and one of the largest (although rapidly diminishing) inland wetland areas in Africa. It is still a politically very unpredictable neighborhood, and militarism, insecurity and general unrest is never too far from the surface.

Why Travel To Chad

While not immediately recognizable as an eco-travel destination, Chad does have a handful of national parks, the most notable being the Zakouma National Park situated in the southeast of the country that has in recent years enjoyed the attentions of the support of important individuals and institutions in an effort to preserve it, and in particular its large but endangered elephant population. It is currently a nominee for UNESCO International Heritage Site status.

Culturally Chad is very mixed, with a population divided among a great many ethnic and language divisions, and with a tendency among them to value local alliances above national. The principal religion is Muslim, but Christianity features with an underpinning of traditional practices of animism to enliven the mix.

When To Visit Chad

You will never encounter a tourist busy season in Chad so a rush on the sights and facilities available is unlikely. It is therefore only really a matter of climate. June to December is the wet season so overland travel is virtually impossible then. Between March and May temperatures can soar to an unimaginable 45°C, so this is definitely a time to avoid. From December to Mid-February is the window of dry and relatively cool temperatures, but these vary between the geographic zones of the country, which itself varies from true desert to Sahel savannah woodland.

Travel Warning

The political and security situation in Chad remains volatile, and travel is difficult and at times dangerous.

The terror threat in Chad is moderate, but crime levels are low although periodically incidences of armed robbery or hijacking are reported. The usual precaution practices of avoiding dark and unlit city areas should be observed, as well as after dark travel on the main roads.

Health services in Chad are very basic. HIV/AIDS is limited in scope but caution is advised. Malaria and various waterborne diseases are common.

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