With its harsh climate, geographic remoteness, and weak economy Chad is not a place where many tourists seek out. Chad is considered to be one of the poorest nations on earth, but it’s cities and other ancient attractions still make it an interesting place to go for the adventurous traveler.
Traveling in Chad
There are usually twice-a-week Paris-to-Chad direct flights, as well as more frequent flights from the Congo, Ethiopia, and the Central African Republic. Flights from many West African capitals operate on a weekly basis, and flights from Thailand via Bombay are also possible. If you’re driving into Chad from one of the neighboring countries, be sure to research your route, as some can be dangerous because of armed bands on the highways, or remoteness in the desert regions. It is often suggested that you arrange to meet a guide at the border, to take you into the cities, but offering a uniformed official a lift can work just as well (and it will considerably speed up your trip). If driving, remember: you may need to supply your own fuel… Be prepared.
To get around Chad, your best bet is to fly. Most flights to outlying cities from the capital are around US$70. To move throughout Chad you will be required to get an official autorisation de circuler. There are buses from the capital to Sarh, but to get other places you may be forced to find your own way.
Weather in Chad
Located on the edge of the Sahara Desert, much of Chad is arid and barren. The main water supply is Lac Chad, which is being reduced in size quickly, as demands for fresh water increase. Chad’s three climatic regions have temperatures ranging from 110°F in the area around the capital to 15°F in the northern mountains of the Sahara. The best climate is in the south where it’s more tropical and fertile. There is very little rainfall in much of Chad, and there isn’t any traditional “rainy season” in the norther arid region. However, in the south and central regions, the most precipitation comes between June and October, when it is advised to be cautious driving in these parts of Chad, as the roads are not tarred and can wash out easily.
Population: 7.5 million
Square Miles: 500,000 sq mi (1,284,000 sq km)
Capitol: N’Djamena (pop 700,000)
Official Language: French (official), Arabic, Saran
People: 200 ethnic groups including the Sara, Bagirmi and Kreish (31%), Sudanic Arabs (26%), the Téda or Toubou (7%) and the Mbun (6.5%)
Religion: Muslim (44%), Christian (33%), local tribal beliefs (23%)
Major products/industries: cotton, meat packing, brewing, natron (sodium carbonate), soap, cigarettes