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Wordtravels

Introducing Chad

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Sunset in N'Djamena © Ben Allen

Chad is very far off the beaten track for tourists, with its flare-ups of political conflict and lack of infrastructure presenting challenges to would-be visitors. The country has much to offer, though, from the natural wonders of Lake Chad and the Sahara Desert to the intriguing tribal cultures that thrive throughout the country.

People have lived in the Chadian basin since around 700 BC and the region is still home to over 200 different ethnic groups. French and Arabic are the official languages, while Islam is the most widely practiced religion.

Most visitors merely pass through the capital, N'Djemena, but the nearby village of Gaoui is worth visiting for its selection of traditional pottery and architecture. The palm-fringed oases of the Sahara Desert (home to breathtaking rock formations and prehistoric cave paintings), the savannah region and the wetland around Lake Chad make for strikingly different wildlife adventures, and showcase some of Africa's most iconic landscapes. Animal lovers can certainly look forward to seeing the continent's most representative species, such as lions, leopards, giraffes, wildebeest and herds of elephants. Indeed, Zakouma National Park is one of the best game reserves in central Africa.

As a poor and often unstable country, Chad is a demanding destination, but adventurous travellers are sure to enjoy it.

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