20 Days Chad tour, visiting Ennedi and Ounianga lakes.
JANUARY 2019 Size group: 10 passengers min/max
*Just one place available*
Price: 2.390 € (flights not included)
Departure: N'Djamena 10 January 2019
Arrival: N'Djamena 29 January 2019
Duration: 20 days/19 nights
Chad is one of the most unknown and fascinating countries of the world, a destination for the unconditional lovers of adventure who already know other parts of the African continent and want to go further and live an old school travel experience, in an authentic Africa where tourism has not emerged. In this first approximation to the country we will travel up to Ennedi plateau and Ounianga Lakes (UNESCO), considered one of the most spectacular deserts in the world.
Ennedi Massif: Natural and Cultural Landscape
In the northeast of the country, the sandstone Ennedi Massif has been sculpted over time by water and wind erosion into a plateau featuring canyons and valleys that present a spectacular landscape marked by cliffs, natural arches and pitons. In the largest canyons, the permanent presence of water plays an essential role in the Massif’s ecosystem, sustaining flora and fauna as well as human life. Thousands of images have been painted and carved into the rock surface of caves, canyons and shelters, presenting one of the largest ensembles of rock art in the Sahara.
Lakes of Ounianga
The site includes eighteen interconnected lakes in the hyper arid Ennedi region of the Sahara desert covering an area of 62,808 ha. It constitutes an exceptional natural landscape of great beauty with striking colours and shapes. The saline, hyper saline and freshwater lakes are supplied by groundwater and are found in two groups 40 km apart. Ounianga Kebir comprises four lakes, the largest of which, Yoan, covers an area of 358 ha and is 27 m deep. Its highly saline waters only sustain algae and some microorganisms. The second group, Ounianga Serir, comprises fourteen lakes separated by sand dunes. Floating reeds cover almost half the surface of these lakes reducing evaporation. At 436 ha, Lake Teli has the largest surface area but is less than 10 m deep. With their high quality freshwater, some of these lakes are home to aquatic fauna, particularly fish.
PROGRAMMED ITINERARY, CHAD TOUR JANUARY 2019
Day 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 N'Djamena - Moussouro - Kalait
We leave the city of N'Djamena behind and we head towards the East through Massaguet and Massakory, where the asphalt road disappears. The view begins to change as we move forward, we move from a mixture between savannah and Sahel to an increasingly arid landscape in which the vegetation becomes scarcer. We will cross vast plateaus often covered with yellow grass, remains of the rainy season.
A good fauna in this region, we can see Dorcas Saharan gazelles and jackals. Several known hominids have been found in the dry channel of Bahr el Ghazal, in which we will travel to Kalait.
Days 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 Kalait - Ennedi - Archei
We will stop first in the town of Kalait to stock up on food in its lively market, before continuing our journey in the majestic mountains of Ennedi. We will spend our time exploring numerous rock formations of sandstones modeled by the wind as an erosive phenomenon. There are spectacular and wonderful forms.
We will visit a series of rock art sites. Some of the rupestrian paintings are outside on the walls of the rocks and others hidden inside the caves. It is possible to see paintings of cows, camels, warriors and it is also possible to see ancient tombs practically intact.
Following our circuit, we can find nomadic peoples with their mat tents, itinerant pastoralists grazing their camels or women collecting water from a well.
We will enjoy the pleasure of exploring sublime landscapes with natural arches, deep and isolated gorges, wells of water ...
The highlight of this area is undoubtedly the Guelta d'Archei, the only point where water is found all year round. It is situated in spectacular and imposing rocky gorge where it is common to find hundreds of camels drinking. Their roar echoes off the rock walls. The Guelta is also the refuge of some of the last crocodiles of the Sahara, with a little luck we should see some of them.
The landscape in this region is truly spectacular and we will install the campsite these unique natural spaces.
Days 9 – 10 - 11 Fada - Mourdi - close to the Demi Salines
We will leave towards Fada, capital of Western Ennedi. We will have to carry out some legal procedures and stock up on supplies before heading the north.
From Fada we head back to the desert, climb to the top of a red rocky plateau and descend to the last rocky areas of Ennedi.
We enter the geographical depression of Mourdi, an area of vast sand dunes that can be difficult to traverse, but incredibly beautiful. This is the old camel caravan route that transported the salt from Demi or from Teguedi to Fada or beyond Fada.
Day 12 - 13 - 14 Demi - Teguedi - Lagos Ounianga
We will visit the small village of Demi, located at the foot of a mountain and on the edge of a salt pan, where men and women excavate the red earth to extract the salt that they transport through the desert to the markets where they exchange it for other goods such as honey, sorghum and other products.
In the vicinity there is the salty lake of Teguedi, located in a lush palm grove and inhabited during the season of the date harvest - we can also see lots of salt drying on the edges of the lake.
From there we go to the lakes of Ounianga. It is a spectacular place that emerges from the desert, surrounded by dunes and palm trees with the mountains in the background. Each lake has a different color due to the algae and the minerals of the soil. We will explore the lakes and visit the lake of Ounianga Serir.
Day 15 - 16 Lagos Ounianga - Kalait
We will stop in the city of Ounianga Kebir for more formalities.
So far, this was an important key trade hub with Libya.
The lakes of Ounianga have recently been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and classified as the most beautiful landscapes of the Sahara. All these lakes are fed by a source of fresh water, but most of the soils being salted and filtering the water result in salty lakes.
We quite Ounianga towards the South through the sand dunes and we enter an area where there are vestiges of the war of Chad against Libya. In some places we can find remains of cars and other military materials.
The crossing of the dunes can be difficult at some points and we could go out and help with the recovery tracks. If we are good on time we can make a stop in the small oasis along the way.
Day 17 - 18 Kalait - Abeche - Mongo
In Kalait we will stock up again with food and other provisions.
As we head south, the landscape changes, this part is more like typical "African" landscape with sedentary peoples, with clay huts that replace the mat tents of the nomads. We will pass through the cities of Arada and Biltine before arriving at Abéché: the largest city on the itinerary until the moment after N'Djamena. The lands here are more inhabited, and we will see more people and movement.
Abéché is the capital of the province of Ouaddaï, the seat of an ancient sultanate that played a very important role in the trade of the Sahara, linking tropical Africa with the slave markets of Tripoli.
From Abéché there we will head towards the east for our return trip.
Day 19 - 20 Mongo - N'Djamena
We will cross through the beautiful and lively region of Guera, dotted with granite peaks (La reine du Guera), its traditional houses and its rich market. We will stop in the village of Ab Toyour, dominated by a granite peak known as "the mountain of the vultures" Arrival in N'Djamena.
Night in the Mission Catholic.