The Republic of Chad is a landlocked central African country located to the south of Libya. It is named after Lake Chad. Because of its arid desert climate and distance from the sea, Chad is sometimes called the ‘Dead Heart of Africa’. Over 40 years of strife and civil war have seen Chad placed on foreign embassies’ lists of countries that should be avoided. Chad is home to numerous different ethnic groups.
The capital city of Chad is N’Djamena, which is a port on the Chari River. It is directly across the river from the Cameroon town of Kousséri. A bridge links the two towns. A tourist attraction in N’Djamena is the Chad National Museum, which has artefacts dating from the 9th century and displays detailing local traditions.
Old photographs of N’Djamena Cathedral show that it was once a pleasant building, but it was damaged in the civil war. The Grand Marche, a large open air market is the liveliest place in N’Djamena in the daytime. Zakouma National Park is an arduous 800km trip from N’Djamena. The national park is surrounded by Bahr Salamat Faunal Reserve.
The Tibesti Mountains in northern Chad offer camel racing. Hot springs in the mountains are located near Soborom. Accommodation in Chad is limited, which is not really a problem as not many tourists visit the country. N’Djamena has several hotels managed by international hoteliers but rates are quite stee. New accommodation was opened at Tinga in Zakouma National Park in 2003.
N’Djamena International Airport is the principal entry point to Chad. The airport is served by airlines flying to Paris and to other African destinations. Public transport is virtually non-existent in Chad. Most of the country’s roads are unsurfaced, which makes them impassable in the wet season. A hired 4WD with driver is the best way of travelling the country.