Discovering the region of Guéra in Chad – Ecotourism in Chad
Halfway between N´Djamena and Abeche and on the main routes leading to Ennedi and Zakouma is the mountainous Guera region.
The province of Guéra, located in central Chad, about 500 km from the capital N’Djamena, with an area of about 6000 km2, borders on the south with the province of Moyen Chari, to the north with the province of Batha, Salamat to the east and west with the department of Hadjer Lamis.
Guera: the mountains as a refuge
Before the arrival of the French, almost all the villages of Guera became the allies of the slave sultan Waddai (former capital Wara, now Abeche).
Each year, each village paid a tribute of 7 girls, 7 boys and 7 horses. In case of refusal, the army of the kingdom attacked the villages, kidnapping and enslaving their inhabitants. Of course some local chiefs also profited from the slave trade and many of the villages were deserted. Only a few villages remained in remote mountainous areas that were difficult to access.
Economic potentials of the Guera region
It is a province with immense and diverse resources and a strong economic potential. Among these, tourism occupies a prominent place and in the near future may become an important asset for the take-off of the province.
The craftsmanship is highly developed with different works like the one of the wood, the basketry, the yarn, the weaving, the dyeing and the tanning. Guéra mats are among the most beautiful in the country and the “Gabak”, a local fabric that has been known since antiquity, was used as a tribute and local currency.
Ecotourism and development of local communities. Walking and Bicycle Routes in Chad
The Guera Mountains have a great tourist attraction and more and more travellers are interested in their landscapes, their different cultures and in some very interesting collaboration and development projects that are taking place in the Chad area. That is why in Kumakonda we want to deepen in this region offering different types of cultural trips, based on ecotourism and the development of local communities.
These routes are done on foot or by bicycle, and it will know the different peoples that inhabit these landscapes, a mixture of savannahs and mountains. We will have the opportunity to meet nomadic and sedentary ethnic groups and we will attend dances and other traditional cultural shows.
Markets in Chad: fascinating visits
The large weekly markets of Mongo, Bitkine, Melfi, Am Kharouma, Ali Dinar and the secondary markets of the smaller villages attract a large number of traders in livestock, cereals, gum arabic or manufactured products. Visiting one of these markets is always a priority in our trips to Chad.
The most traded and important local products are (in order):
- peanut and sesame oil
- acacia gum
In these large weekly markets, the cattle trade flourishes as transhumant caravans pass through this central region of Chad.
The images of these nomadic caravans will remain immortal in the traveller’s memory.
The weekly market in Melfi, for example, lasts 3 days when the Peul transhumants pass (arrive), being received and pleasantly welcomed by the inhabitants of Melfi.
In just a few days or at most weeks, the city carries out most of its year-round commercial transactions and there is a festive atmosphere with dances organized during the nights.
Learn more about the peoples and cultures of Chad in this other blog post: Cultures of Chadian Sanhel