Aloba Arch © David Stanley
Located in the northeast of Chad, the Ennedi plateau is a sandstone bulwark in the middle of the Sahara Desert, a scenically magnificent area with beautiful canyons and sand stretching in all directions. The lakes, canyons and bizarre rock formations of Ennedi are remarkable and there are even some prehistoric rock paintings in the region. The natural sandstone arches of Ennedi are a photographer's dream and one of them, the Aloba Arch, is considered particularly striking and is one of the largest of its kind in the world. The plateau also boasts some unusual animals, attracted by the pools and rivers in the canyons, including the nearly extinct desert crocodile (once found all over the Sahara) which can now only be found in a few pools in the region. The Guelta d'Archei is one such oasis and also one of the most popular destinations in Ennedi. The capital of the region is Fada, a refreshingly lush outpost in the midst of the rocky plateau, which has a small airport. Travel to the area is difficult due to lack of infrastructure and the fear of banditry but it is not impossible; the magnificent landscapes and geological features will reward the effort of getting there. Safety precautions should be taken, however, as travel in the region is potentially dangerous.