Day 1 – N’Djamena
Arrive in N’Djamena and transfer to the hotel. Depending on when you arrive there may be time to explore, or you can simply relax at the hotel and prepare for your adventure. Overnight Le Meridien Chari or similar.
Days 2-4 – Moussouro – Salal - Kalait
We leave the city behind, heading eastwards through Massaguet and Massakory, where the tarmac road disappears. From here we follow established tracks through the land, crossing dried up waterbeds and occasionally coming across caravans of livestock. The landscape starts as a mixture of savannah and sahel, becoming more arid as we progress. At the town of Moussouro we stop to refuel and pick up supplies, and as we head further east the land assumes more of a desert air – vegetation becomes scarce and we traverse vast plains, often covered in yellow grass, a remnant from the rainy season. The people that live here are from a number of different groups – Fulani, Keraida and Kanembou among others. Wildlife around this region is good, and you can expect to see dorcas gazelles as well as jackals, bustards and perhaps the pretty fennec fox. For much of the route we follow the dried up riverbed of the Bah el Ghazal where remains of the oldest known hominid have been found. We set up camp each night in the middle of the wilderness, with no-one else for miles. Overnight camping. (BLD)
Days 5-7 – The Ennedi Mountains
We stop first in the village of Kalait to shop in its busy market, then drive into the majestic Ennedi Mountains. We spend our time exploring their numerous rock formations – made of sandstone, the wind and sand have eroded them into weird and wonderful shapes. We also visit a number of rock art sites, hidden over overhanging rocks and depicting cows, camels and warriors, and may see ancient burial sites about which almost nothing is known. This is the domain of the Tubu, and we expect to meet nomads on their way to pasture with the camels or drawing water at wells, and pass their small groups of tents. The highlight of these few days in undoubtedly the Guelta d’Archei, the only permanent waterhole in the region situated amidst a dramatic and towering gorge, where one can often see hundreds of camels drinking, their bellowing echoing around the rock walls. The guelta is also home to one of the last populations of Saharan crocodiles, and with a bit of luck we should be able to see them. The landscape in this region is truly spectacular and we pick our campsites in the prettiest areas.
Days 8-9 – Fada – Mourdi
We drive down from the plateau to Fada, the only real town in the Ennedi, where we need to complete formalities and stock up on supplies before heading northwards. From here we head back into the wilderness, climbing onto a plateau of red rocks before descending to the last rocks of the Ennedi. Rom here we enter the Mourdi Depression, an area of vast sand dunes that can be difficult to traverse but are incredibly beautiful. We follow the ancient caravan route that is still used by camel caravans taking salt from Demi and Teguedei to the Fada and beyond. Overnight camping. (BLD)
Days 10-11 – Demi – Teguedei – Ounianga Lakes
We 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 dig the red earth for salt to be transported across the desert to market, exchanged for goods like millet, sorghum and other foods – this is an incredibly isolated settlement and completely reliant on the trade. Nearby is the salt lake of Teguedei, situated amidst lush palm groves and seasonally inhabited for the date harvest – one can also see piles of salt drying on the shores of the lake. From here we head to the lakes of the Ounianga oasis. Emerging from the desert this is spectacular site – lakes surrounded by dunes and palms with multi-hued mountains behind them. The lakes themselves are different colours, a result of the minerals in the ground as well as algae. We explore the lakes, visit the village of Ounianga Serir, and take the opportunity of a bath in Boukou, the only freshwater lake in the oasis. We also stop in the town of Ounianga Kebir for supplies and formalities. Until recently this was a critical hub on the trade route with Libya, but that country’s troubles have reduced traffic to a trickle. Overnight camping. (BLD)
Day 12 – Kora
We then head south, crossing dunes and entering an area that saw fighting during the war with Libya – in some places the remnants of tanks and other military hardware can be found, slowly being reclaimed by the desert. The dune crossing can be tough in parts and we can expect to get out and push. Time permitting we may be able to stop at small oases en route, and we camp tonight on the outskirts of the Ennedi. Overnight camping. (BLD)
Days 13-14 – Kalait – Arada – Abeche – Mongo
Reluctantly we leave the Ennedi, stopping first at Kalait to again pick up supplies. We then head south on a different route, travelling through a more ‘African’ landscape, with settled villages and mud huts replacing the camel hair tents of the Tubu. We pass through the towns of Arada and Biltine before reaching Abeche, the largest town we have seen since N’Djamena. From here we head west – the lands here are more populated and we expect to see more people, and traffic, on our journey back. Overnight camping. (BLD)
Day 15 – Douguia
Continue westwards, and drive to the village of Douguia. Here we stay in a modest but delightful hotel on the banks of the Chari River – our first opportunity for a shower and cold drink since leaving N’Djamena! We arrive in the late afternoon, hopefully in time to watch the sun set over the river. Overnight Douguia Camp. (BLD)
Day 16 – Douguia – N’Djamena
This morning we take a pirogue onto the river, looking for birdlife, fishermen and if we are lucky, the occasional hippopotamus. In the afternoon we return to N’Djamena for a final dinner before transferring to the airport for departure. (BL)
that this itinerary may differ according to airline schedules – N’Djamena is not served by daily flights from Europe and so if this changes it may be necessary to either add or remove a night in Douguia.
Included in price:
- Airport transfers
- Accommodation – as listed in the dossier. The nature of the destinations that we operate may sometimes mean that we need to change hotels, but we’ll always endeavour to keep the same standards. Please be aware that as we operate in many countries where tourism is in its infancy, hotel standards may not be the same as you’re used to elsewhere.
- Guides – In most cases you will be accompanied by one guide from start to finish. However there may be occasions when this is not practical, for example if your trip covers a number of different countries. In these cases it often makes more sense to include different guides for each place, to take advantage of their specific knowledge of the destination.
- Meals – As listed within the itinerary / dossier (B-Breakfast, L-Lunch, D-Dinner).
Entrance fees – Entrance fees are listed for those sites that we mention within the itinerary. If there are any other sites that you’d like to see, these would be at your own expense.
- Airport taxes
- International flights
- Travel Insurance