Flight from Kome 5 to N'Djamena 02 Photo by Ken Doerr

Chad is known as a desert, but it actually has a varied terrain that offers ample opportunity for things to do on the water, in the mountains and in the wilderness. Its main attractions include Zakouma National Park and Lake Chad.

Most tourists come here for safaris and wildlife spotting. N’Djamena is home to outfitters like Tchad Evasion Travel Agency, which can arrange visits to Zakouma National Park. In the Lake Chad area, you may be able to catch a glimpse of a drifting hippo or a crocodile.

For experienced hikers, Ennedi Eternel is a moderate trail that is not to be missed. It spans nearly 88 miles and is close to Fada in Ennedi. Alternatively, there is Emi Kousi, another moderate, but longer hiking route found in Farcha (Chari-Baguirmi) that spans nearly 1,800 miles. Trekking and walking are particularly popular in the Lake Chad area or in the sprawling Zakouma National Park.

The Ennedi Desert offers challenges for rock climbing enthusiasts. It is home to the Ennedi Range, which has a variety of memorable routes to explore, including mystic desert towers and structures like “The Wine Bottle” and “The Arch of Ba-Chikele.” It usually takes three and a half days to drive through the desert sand before reaching the range, and the journey itself is quite an experience.

At the Tibesti Mountains, witness some of the world’s best camel racing. The races are put on by the local Toubou tribe who are distant relatives of the Western Sahara’s Tuareg people. The region is also known for its crags and chasms, and although non-Muslims are not allowed entry, it is possible to watch from afar. Emi Koussi is the highest peak, which provides an excellent vantage point.

For cyclists, mountain biking in Chad means long and challenging trips. The terrain is mostly smooth, but some sections are extremely rough and uneven. The central highlands are one of the best places to go biking, particularly in the hills and valleys of the Guera region. Trips around Lake Chad’s eastern side are also picturesque, but make advance arrangements with a local tour company.

Fishing in Lake Chad is another rewarding experience, but because of the shrinking body of water and the diminishing species, it can be a challenge to actually catch something.

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