Most people on the planet have no idea that Chad is even a country, much less where it is on a map. It is such a remote and unknown destination that only about 80,000 people dare to visit it each year. If you really look for information about the country, you will find that it is far from being a holiday destination. In fact, it is better known for its high poverty levels, conflict, and corruption. But the truth is that despite all this, Chad is an incredible place, and those who dare to discover it will be pleasantly surprised. Beautiful landscapes, ancient culture, and adventure are just a tiny part of what this incredible destination has to offer. That’s why we’ve put together this Chad travel guide, based on the experiences of dozens of travelers who have given us their top tips, so that future tourists can enjoy this incredible destination. So keep reading and discover the best Chad offers with the ultimate Chad travel guide.
Most governments advise against traveling to Chad. We understand why they advise us not to go. In the recent past, banditry, jihadists, and rebels have plagued many parts of the north, where most of the country’s best destinations are located. But I want to be clear that getting into trouble is significantly reduced if you travel with a good guide. In addition, the recent Qatar-brokered peace deal between the government and the rebels seems to have calmed the situation. The majority of travelers to Chad will never feel a sense of threat or have to worry about their personal safety. However, taking small precautions such as checking your bags and being careful with theft is good.
If you are a visitor to Chad, you will most likely be in need of a visa, as only a few African countries are exempt from the visa requirement. It will take time and money, so be prepared. Chadian tourist visas are issued for short stays of up to 90 days and require a passport valid for at least six months after entry, with at least two blank pages for stamps.
First, you need to check where you should apply for your visa, depending on your citizenship. They are pretty strict about this. Chadian embassies have slightly different requirements. It is, therefore a good idea to have a look at their websites. Most Chadian embassies have very informative websites. The exception is the embassy in Paris, as it is very difficult to reach them by e-mail, website, or telephone.
A Letter of Invitation in French is required for a Chadian visa application. Your operator will provide this.
And as for prices, just to give you an idea:
- In Washington $150 and takes 4 days.
- Berlin: $100 euros and takes 4 days
- In Brussels, $70 euros and it takes 4 days
Definitely the most incredible place in Chad and probably one of the most amazing landscapes on the planet. It may not be the most accessible destination, but it is definitely worth a visit if you have the time and money! It is located in the northeastern part of the country, in the middle of the Sahel region. It is home to spectacular geological formations that will make you feel as if you are on a different planet. There is also an abundance of exotic wildlife, such as Barbary macaques, desert elephants, baboons, the wild dog, gazelles, and various species of birds and reptiles.
The Gerewol Festival is a traditional festival of the Wodaabe culture of Chad in Africa. Known for its extravagant display of beauty and dance, it is held annually in the Sahel region between September and October. During the festival, Wodaabe men compete for the title ‘most beautiful.’ They are painted and adorned with elaborate make-up and traditional dress to emphasize their attributes.
These mountains have a surreal landscape, like something out of a Star Wars film. Although it is supposed to be an “off-limits” area, some travelers venture into the area. Despite being a very remote and harsh environment, the area is home to several indigenous peoples. One of these is the Toubou. These communities have adapted to the region’s harsh conditions and have a rich cultural heritage, including a tradition of storytelling and music. Furthermore, the area is known for its unique rock formations and mineral deposits, including gold, silver, and uranium.
Although I love to travel independently, if you want to see Chad beyond the capital N’Djamena, I think it’s essential to do so with a guide. This reduces the possibility of security problems, as the region is also politically and socially unstable, and travelers are advised to exercise caution when visiting.
Some of the recommended agencies and/or guides consulted by travelers include
- Eyte Travel (eytevoyages. com; contact Adolfo , WhatsApp +235 62 77 44 96).
- Spazi d’Avventura
- SVS Chad
- Last Places (non-Canadian operators so that they can charge a considerable premium).
I always prefer to travel with local operators, but if you feel more comfortable traveling with a reputable agency, Last Places is an excellent choice.
One of our biggest concerns about going to these remote destinations is connectivity. In Chad, you can buy a 10GB SIM card from Airtel for CFA 8,500 ($13). It should be noted that many travelers have reported that coverage is not universal. You will have weak and patchy connectivity in some towns and cities and no connectivity at all in between.
Best Time To Visit
Chad has a relatively constant climate due to its proximity to the equator. So the most important thing to consider when choosing a time to visit is rainfall. The dry months of October through to March are the best time to visit Chad; the rain, while certainly a boost to the arid landscape, is a disaster on the mostly unpaved roads and makes traveling north almost impossible. The rains are shorter in the northern Sahel, lasting from about June to September.
Try to avoid traveling from July to September, as rain can ruin your trip.
Language may be a problem for those speaking English. French will help in bigger cities, but it is not a common language everywhere, especially in remote areas. There may be a slight advantage for Arabic speakers. Chadians understand the dominant dialects of Egyptian and Khaleeji Arabic, but Chadian Arabic is somewhat incomprehensible to non-Chadians. Another good reason to travel with a guide, so he can be an interpreter.
Dress codes vary according to location. In small towns, men can wear short-sleeved shirts and knee-length shorts. On the other hand, women should be more modest in what they wear, e.g., long trousers or leggings paired with a long t-shirt. Head covering is not expected. On the Ennedi itself, where you may not see another human being for hours, you can dress as you like. If you’re a woman, it’s best to keep a wrap in case you – rarely – bump into a local. If you’re just visiting the capital, you can dress as you like.
Photographing people must be done with their permission. No means no, especially in places like the army town of Fada. In the north, however, you will be pleasantly surprised that despite the dreaded reputation of Chadians not wanting to be photographed, many will insist. They are happy to pose just to see how they look on the screen.
The money used in Chad is the Central African CFA franc; Euros and Dollars can easily be changed in the capital.
1 € = 655 CFA
1 USD = 610 CFA
Rates of March 2023
Chad is an extremely expensive destination. The high prices are due to Chad’s landlocked location, oil-dependent economy, and lack of infrastructure. If you are going on a tour, expect to pay at least $300 USD/day. If you are only visiting the capital, here are some typical prices:
A hotel room (single, AC, hot water, free wifi, breakfast included) is about $120 USD.
A meal in a cheap restaurant is about $3.5 USD.
A meal in a good restaurant is about $35 USD.
A local beer (0.3 l) is $1.5 USD
A soft drink (0.5 l) is $1 USD
Fast food (cheeseburger) is $4 USD.
Bottle of Water $0.65 USD.
Visiting Chad, especially Ennedi and Ounianga, is not an easy journey. In fact, it has many challenges. If you just like to travel comfortably, this is not for you. However, if you have an adventurous soul, the trip can be extremely rewarding – not just for the incredible scenery but for the journey itself. Chad is definitely a bucket list destination.
I’m a total Africa enthusiast! I’ve been exploring this amazing continent for years and I can’t get enough of its diverse cultures, stunning landscapes, and incredible wildlife. From hiking through the savannahs to sampling local cuisine, I’m all about immersing myself in everything Africa has to offer. I’m constantly on the lookout for new and exciting experiences, and I love sharing my passion and knowledge with fellow travel lovers. If you’re looking for an adventure like no other, Africa is the place to be, and I’m here to help you make the most of it!