Friday, April 12, 2024

Chad Travel Guide - Travel S Helper

Chad

travel guide


Chad is a landlocked country in northern Central Africa. Its official name is the Republic of Chad. It is bounded to the north by Libya, to the east by Sudan, to the south by the Central African Republic, to the southwest by Cameroon and Nigeria, and to the west by Niger. In terms of land area, it is Africa’s sixth biggest country.

Chad is divided into three regions: the desert in the north, the dry Sahelian belt in the center, and the more fertile Sudanian Savanna zone in the south. Lake Chad, after which the nation is named, is Chad’s biggest wetland and Africa’s second-largest. The capital, N’Djamena, is the biggest city. Chad is home to more than 200 ethnic and linguistic groups. The official languages are Arabic and French. The most frequently practiced religions are Islam and Christianity.

Human populations migrated into the Chadian basin in large numbers beginning in the 7th millennium BC. By the end of the first millennium BC, Chad’s Sahelian strip had seen the birth and fall of a number of kingdoms and empires, each vying for control of the trans-Saharan trade routes that ran through the region. By 1920, France had captured the territory and integrated it into French Equatorial Africa.

Chad gained independence in 1960 under the leadership of François Tombalbaye. Resentment of his actions resulted in the outbreak of a long-running civil war in the Muslim north in 1965. The rebels took control of the capital in 1979, thus ending the south’s dominion. The rebel commanders, however, battled amongst themselves until Hissène Habré overcame his opponents. Idriss Déby, his general, deposed him in 1990. Sudan’s Darfur conflict has spilled over the border and destabilized the country since 2003, with hundreds of thousands of Sudanese refugees living in and near camps in eastern Chad.

While several political parties are active, President Déby and his political party, the Patriotic Salvation Movement, have absolute authority. Chad continues to be plagued by political violence and attempted coups. Chad is one of the world’s poorest and most corrupt countries, with the majority of its people living in poverty as subsistence herders and farmers. Since 2003, crude oil has surpassed the traditional cotton sector as the country’s major source of export revenues.

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Chad - Info Card

Population

16,244,513

Currency

Central African CFA franc (XAF)

Time zone

UTC+1 (CET)

Area

2,381,741 km2 (919,595 sq mi)

Calling code

+235

Official language

Arabic - French

Chad - Introduction

Climate

Every year, the inter-tropical front traverses Chad from south to north, bringing a rainy season that lasts from May to October in the south and from June to September in the Sahel.

Geography

Chad is the world’s 21st-largest nation, with 1,284,000 square kilometers (496,000 square miles). It is a little smaller than Peru and a little bigger than South Africa. Chad is located in north central Africa, between latitudes 7° and 24°N and latitudes 13° and 24°E.

Chad is bordered by Libya to the north, Sudan to the east, Niger, Nigeria, and Cameroon to the west, and the Central African Republic to the south. The capital of the nation is 1,060 kilometers (660 miles) from the closest seaport, Douala, Cameroon. Chad is often referred to as the “Dead Heart of Africa” due to its distance from the sea and mainly desert environment.

The Ennedi Plateau and Tibesti Mountains, which contain Emi Koussi, a dormant volcano that rises 3,414 meters (11,201 feet) above sea level, form the main physical structure. Lake Chad, after which the nation is called (and which, in turn, is named from the Kanuri word for “lake”), is the remnants of a massive lake that once covered 330,000 square kilometers (130,000 square miles) of the Chad Basin 7,000 years ago. Although it only spans 17,806 square kilometers (6,875 square miles) in the twenty-first century and its surface size is susceptible to significant seasonal variations, the lake is Africa’s second biggest wetland.

Birds, reptiles, and big animals thrive in the region’s thick grasses and vast wetlands. The Chari, Logone, and their tributaries flow from the southeast across the southern savannas into Lake Chad.

Landscape

The country’s geography is made up of wide, dry plains in the center, desert in the north, mountains in the northwest, and lowlands in the south. The lowest point is Djourab Depression (160 m/525 ft). Emi Koussi (3,415 m/11,204 ft) has the highest peak.

The main physical feature is a broad basin bordered to the north, east, and south by mountain ranges, such as the Ennedi Plateau in the north-east. Lake Chad, after which the nation is called, is the remnants of a massive lake that occupied 330,000 km2 (205,000 mi2) of the Chadian Basin 7,000 years ago. Although it spans just 17,806 km2 (11,064 mi2) in the twenty-first century and its surface size is susceptible to significant seasonal variations, the lake is Africa’s second biggest wetland.

Wildlife

Animal and plant life in Chad correlate to the three climate zones. The only vegetation in the Saharan area is the date-palm plantations of the oasis. The Sahelian area is home to palm and acacia plants. The southern, or Sudanic, zone is made mostly of grazing grasslands or prairies. There were at least 134 species of animals, 509 species of birds (354 species of inhabitants and 155 migratory) and over 1,600 plant species in the nation as of 2002.

Elephants, lions, buffalo, hippopotamuses, rhinoceroses, giraffes, antelopes, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, and many snake species may be found here, but most big carnivore populations have been severely decreased since the early twentieth century. Elephant poaching is a serious issue, especially in the country’s south, in places like Zakouma National Park. The Ennedi Plateau’s tiny population of surviving West African crocodiles is one of the Sahara’s remaining colonies.

Deforestation has resulted in the extinction of trees such as acacias, baobabs, dates, and palm trees. This has also resulted in the loss of natural habitat for wild animals; one of the major causes for this is the increase of human settlements, which has also resulted in increased hunting and cattle husbandry. Lions, leopards, and rhinoceroses have all been almost wiped off.

The Food and Agricultural Organization has undertaken efforts to strengthen interactions between farmers, agro-pastoralists, and pastoralists in the Zakouma National Park (ZNP), Siniaka-Minia reserve, and Aouk reserve in southeastern Chad in order to promote sustainable development. More than 1.2 million trees have been transplanted as part of the national conservation effort to slow the spread of the desert, which also benefits the local economy via financial returns from acacia trees, which generate gum arabic, and fruit trees.

Poaching is a major issue in the country, especially of elephants for the lucrative ivory trade, and it endangers the lives of rangers even in national parks like Zakouma. Elephants are often slaughtered in herds in and near parks by organized poaching. The issue is exacerbated by the fact that the parks are understaffed, and many wardens have been killed by poachers.

Demographics

Chad’s national statistics office estimated the country’s 2015 population to be between 13,630,252 and 13,679,203, with 13,670,084 as the median estimate; based on the medium estimate, 3,212,470 people resided in urban areas and 10,457,614 in rural regions. The country’s population is young: an estimated 47.3 percent of the population is under the age of 15. The birth rate is predicted to be 42.35 per 1,000 people, while the death rate is 16.69. The average lifespan is 52 years.

Chad’s population is dispersed unevenly. The Saharan Borkou-Ennedi-Tibesti Region has a density of 0.1/km2 (0.26/sq mi), while the Logone Occidental Region has a density of 52.4/km2 (136/sq mi). It is much higher in the capital. The southern fifth of the country is home to about half of the country’s inhabitants, making it the most densely inhabited area.

The capital, whose population is mostly engaged in business, is the epicenter of urban activity. Sarh, Moundou, Abéché, and Doba are the other main towns, which are much smaller but increasing in population and commercial activity. 230,000 Sudanese refugees have migrated to eastern Chad from war-torn Darfur since 2003. With 172,600 Chadians displaced by the civil conflict in the east, tensions have risen among the region’s communities.

Polygamy is widespread, with 39 percent of women in such relationships. This is sanctioned by law, which allows polygamy unless spouses expressly state that it is undesirable at the time of marriage. Domestic violence is widespread, despite the fact that violence against women is illegal. Female genital mutilation is also banned, although the practice is widespread and firmly entrenched in custom; 45 percent of Chadian women undergo the operation, with Arabs, Hadjarai, and Ouaddaians having the highest rates (90 percent or more). Lower percentages were recorded among the Sara (38%) and the Toubou (38%). (2 percent ). Women have unequal educational and training options, making it harder for women to compete for the limited formal-sector employment available. Although property and inheritance rules based on the French code do not discriminate against women, local authorities, according to customary practice, judge the majority of inheritance disputes in favor of males.

Ethnic groups

Chad has about 200 different ethnic groupings, resulting in a variety of societal systems. Although the colonial administration and independent administrations tried to establish a national society, for most Chadians, local or regional society remains the most significant influence outside of the close family. Nonetheless, Chadians may be categorized based on the geographical area in which they reside.

Sedentary people, such as the Sara, the nation’s primary ethnic group, reside in the south, where the lineage is the fundamental social unit. Sedentary and nomadic peoples coexist throughout the Sahel, including the country’s second largest ethnic group, the Arabs. Nomads, mainly Toubous, live in the north.

Economy

According to the United Nations Human Development Index, Chad is the world’s sixth poorest nation, with 80 percent of the people living below the poverty line. In 2009, the GDP (Purchasing Power Parity) per capita was projected to be $1,651. Chad is a member of the Bank of Central African States, the Central African Customs and Economic Union (UDEAC), and the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA).

The CFA franc is Chad’s currency. Chad’s mining sector produced sodium carbonate, or natron, in the 1960s. In the Biltine Prefecture, there have also been reports of gold-bearing quartz. Years of civil conflict, on the other hand, have frightened away international investors; many who fled Chad between 1979 and 1982 have only lately started to restore faith in the country’s future. Major direct foreign investment in the oil industry started in 2000, improving the country’s economic prospects.

Subsistence farming and livestock rearing provide a living for more than 80% of Chad’s people. The local climate influences the crops produced and the placement of herds. The nation’s most productive farmland, with high yields of sorghum and millet, is located in the southernmost 10% of the territory. Only hardier millet cultivars grow in the Sahel, with considerably lower yields than in the south. The Sahel, on the other hand, provides excellent pastureland for huge herds of commercial cattle, as well as goats, sheep, donkeys, and horses. Only dates and legumes grow in the isolated oasis of the Sahara. Chad’s cities have severe municipal infrastructure challenges; just 48% of urban inhabitants have access to drinkable water, and only 2% have access to basic sanitation.

Prior to the advent of the oil sector, cotton dominated the industry and the labor market, accounting for roughly 80% of export profits. Cotton is still a major export, but precise statistics are unavailable. France, the Netherlands, the European Union, and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development have all contributed to the rehabilitation of Cotontchad, a significant cotton business affected by a drop in global cotton prices (IBRD). It is currently anticipated that the parastatal will be privatized. Cotton is not the only dominating material; Cattle and Gum Arabic are as well.

Foreign investments will return if Chad can maintain a sense of peace, but even 24 years after the last successful coup that brought President Idris Deby to office, investors are still cautious of investing in Chad.

Humanitarian situation

Chad has been in the grip of a humanitarian catastrophe since at least 2001, according to the UN. As of 2008, Chad was hosting approximately 280,000 refugees from Sudan’s Darfur area, over 55,000 from Central African Republic, and over 170,000 internally displaced people.

In the aftermath of the battle of N’Djamena in February 2008, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes expressed “extreme concern” that the crisis would hamper humanitarians’ ability to provide life-saving assistance to half a million beneficiaries, the majority of whom, according to him, rely heavily on humanitarian aid for survival. According to UN spokesman Maurizio Giuliano, “if we do not manage to deliver enough amounts of assistance, the humanitarian crisis may turn into a humanitarian catastrophe.” Furthermore, as a result of the murders of humanitarian workers, groups such as Save the Children have stopped operations.

Things To Know Before Traveling To Chad

Visa & Passport

Visas are not required for citizens of the following countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Mauritania, Niger, and Senegal.

A visa is required for everyone else. A single-entry visa costs $100 for one month, while multiple-entry visas cost $150 for three months or $200 for six months (6 months). An invitation letter is needed.

Language

Chad’s official languages are French and Arabic. Other than the educated and well-traveled, few Chadians understand literary Arabic; a dialect of Arabic known as “Chadian Arabic” is far more commonly spoken and is the country’s closest approach to a trade language. Chadian Arabic is distinct from Literary Arabic, although it is related to Sudanese and Egyptian dialects. Literary Arabic speakers can usually comprehend Chadian Arabic, but not the other way around. There are also about a hundred indigenous languages spoken.

Respect

There are about 200 different ethnic groupings. Arabs, Gorane (Toubou, Daza, Kreda), Zaghawa, Kanembou, Ouaddai, Baguirmi, Hadjerai, Fulbe, Kotoko, Hausa, Boulala, and Maba, mostly Muslim; Sara (Ngambaye, Mbaye, Goulaye), Moundang, Moussei, Massa, mostly Christian or animist; about 1,000 French residents live in Chad.

The Chadian-Libyan war should be avoided at all costs; Chadians known to be residing in Libya have already been tortured and killed.

How To Travel To Chad

Get In - By plane

Air France flies from Paris to N’Djaména on a daily basis. Ethiopia Airlines serves Addis Abeba, Turkish Airlines serves Istanbul, Royal Air Maroc serves Casablanca, Sudan Airways serves Khartoum, Egypt Air serves Cairo, and Camair-co serves Douala.

Get In - By car

Roads are in disrepair and are usually unpaved; there is presently just one paved road, which extends from Massakory in the north via N’Djamena to Guelendeng, Bongor, Kelo, and Moundou. Even though it is the finest road in the nation, it still has many potholes, and since it passes through the center of a lot of tiny towns, drivers should exercise care and limit speeds even while on the major route.

There are numerous border crossings with Cameroon, the most notable of which are at Kousseri in N’Djamena and at Bongor and Lere. Be very cautious, drive defensively, and avoid stopping until absolutely essential. Driving at night is not recommended since coupeurs de route (road robbers) are frequent. They are especially dangerous along the two highways going out of Guelendeng, towards Ba-Illi (where foreigners were assaulted in two separate instances in 2005, killing one Catholic nun) and towards Bongor.

Food & Drinks in Chad

Meat dishes are extremely popular in Chad, and international visitors enthuse about the meat (such as lamb). Food is often consumed without the use of utensils, thus hand sanitizer may be a prudent precaution. It is considered impolite by Muslims to eat with the left hand. When dining with or being served by Muslims in Chad, use only your right hand.

To prevent illness, follow standard health travel recommendations for raw fruit and cooking needs. The US State Department website provides information on eating safely when traveling overseas.

Because France was Chad’s (or Tchad’s) colonial occupier, you may also easily use euros. However, in comparison to the rest of Africa, Chad is an expensive location for most people.

Money & Shopping in Chad

Chad uses the Central African CFA franc (XAF). Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon also use it. While technically distinct from the Western African CFA franc (XOF), the two currencies are used interchangeably at par in all CFA franc (XAF & XOF)-using nations.

The French treasury backs both CFA francs, which are linked to the euro at €1 = XAF655.957.

Bringing foreign currency into Chad is not restricted. Payment in US dollars and euros is often accepted immediately.

ATMs

There are Ecobank ATMs in Chad where you may withdraw cash with a master card or visa card. For a complete list of locations, see the Ecobank website.

Culture Of Chad

Chad has a diverse cultural history as a result of its many peoples and languages. By establishing the Chad National Museum and the Chad Cultural Centre, the Chadian government has aggressively promoted Chadian culture and national traditions. Six national holidays are celebrated throughout the year, with the Christian holiday of Easter Monday and the Muslim holidays of Eid ul-Fitr, Eid ul-Adha, and Eid Milad Nnabi being moveable.

Music

Chadian music has unique instruments such as the kinde, a kind of bow harp; the kakaki, a long tin horn; and the hu hu, a stringed instrument with calabashes used as loudspeakers. Other instruments and their combinations are more closely associated with particular ethnic groups: the Sara prefer whistles, balafones, harps, and kodjo drums, while the Kanembu mix drum sounds with those of flute-like instruments.

Chari Jazz, a jazz ensemble that established in 1964, helped to launch Chad’s contemporary music scene. Later, more well-known ensembles like African Melody and International Challal tried to blend modernism with heritage. Tibesti, a popular group from southern Chad, has adhered to its history more tenaciously by relying on sai, a traditional form of music. Chadians have always despised contemporary music. However, since 1995, there has been a surge in interest in and distribution of CDs and audio cassettes showcasing Chadian musicians. Piracy and a lack of legislative safeguards for artists’ rights continue to be obstacles to the Chadian music industry’s growth.

Cuisine

Millet is the main meal of Chad. It is used to create paste balls that are then dipped in sauces. This dish is known as alysh in the north and biya in the south. Fish is popular, and it is often prepared and marketed as salanga (sun-dried and gently smoked Alestes and Hydrocynus) or banda (sun-dried and lightly smoked Alestes and Hydrocynus) (smoked large fish). Carcaje is a well-known sweet crimson tea made from hibiscus leaves. Although alcoholic drinks are not available in the north, they are popular in the south, where millet beer is known as billi-billi when made from red millet and coshate when made from white millet.

Literature

Chad’s literature, like that of other Sahelian nations, has suffered from an economic, political, and spiritual drought that has impacted its most well-known authors. Chadian writers have been compelled to write from exile or as expatriates, producing literature dominated by themes of political oppression and historical debate. Since 1962, 20 Chadian writers have published about 60 works of fiction. Among the most well-known authors in the world are Joseph Brahim Sed, Baba Moustapha, Antoine Bangui, and Koulsy Lamko. Ahmat Taboye, Chad’s only literary critic, produced Anthologie de la littérature tchadienne in 2003 to increase worldwide and young awareness of Chadian literature and to compensate for the country’s lack of publishing companies and promotional framework.

Film

The development of a Chadian film industry has been hindered by the destruction of civil war and a scarcity of theaters, with just one in the whole nation. Mahamat Saleh Haroun directed the first Chadian feature film, the docudrama Bye Bye Africa, in 1999. His subsequent picture Abouna received positive reviews, and his Daratt earned the Grand Special Jury Prize at the 63rd Venice International Film Festival. A Screaming Man, Haroun’s 2010 feature film, received the Jury Prize at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival, making him the first Chadian filmmaker to compete and win an award in the main Cannes competition. Daresalam and DP75: Tartina City were both directed by Issa Serge Coelo.

Sports

Football is the most popular sport in Chad. During international tournaments, the country’s national team is keenly watched, and Chadian players have played for French teams. Basketball and freestyle wrestling are popular sports, with the latter requiring wrestlers to dress in traditional animal skins and coat themselves in dust.

History Of Chad

Environmental factors in the northern part of Chadian land encouraged human settlement in the 7th millennium BC, and the area witnessed rapid population growth. Chad is home to some of the most significant African archaeological sites, primarily in the Borkou-Ennedi-Tibesti Region; some date back to before 2000 BC.

The Chadian Basin has been inhabited by agricultural and sedentary populations for about 2,000 years. The area evolved into a crossroads of civilizations. The mythical Sao was the first of them, as shown by artifacts and oral tales. By the end of the first millennium AD, the Sao had fallen to the Kanem Empire, the oldest and longest-lasting of the empires that emerged in Chad’s Sahelian strip. In the 16th and 17th centuries, two additional nations in the area arose: the Baguirmi Empire and the Wadai Empire. Kanem’s and its predecessors’ authority was built on control of the trans-Saharan trade routes that flowed through the area. Except for slave raids, these Muslim nations never extended their authority to the southern plains. Slaves made up about one-third of the population of Kanem.

In 1900, the Territoire Militaire des Pays et Protectorats du Tchad was established as a result of French colonial expansion. By 1920, France had gained complete control of the territory, including it into French Equatorial Africa. French authority in Chad was distinguished by the lack of unification policies and slow modernization in comparison to other French colonies.

The French saw the colony mainly as a source of unskilled labor and raw cotton; France began large-scale cotton production in 1929. Chad’s colonial government was severely understaffed and had to depend on the dregs of the French civil service. Only the Sara of the south was practically controlled; the French presence in the Islamic north and east was just symbolic. This negligence had an impact on the educational system.

Following World War II, France gave Chad the status of foreign territory, granting its people the right to vote in both the French National Parliament and a Chadian assembly. The Chadian Progressive Party (PPT), headquartered in the colony’s southern portion, was the biggest political party. Chad gained independence on August 11, 1960, with the PPT’s leader, a Sara people named François Tombalbaye, serving as the country’s first president.

Tombalbaye outlawed opposition groups and instituted a one-party government two years later. Interethnic hostilities were worsened by Tombalbaye’s authoritarian leadership and callous mismanagement. In 1965, Muslims launched a civil war. In 1975, Tombalbaye was deposed and murdered, but the resistance persisted. In 1979, rebel groups took control of the capital, and all central authority in the nation crumbled. Armed groups vied for control, with many coming from the north’s revolt.

The fragmentation of Chad led France’s position in the nation to crumble. Libya stepped in to fill the power vacuum, becoming embroiled in Chad’s civil war. Libya’s expedition ended in catastrophe in 1987, when the French-backed president, Hissène Habré, elicited a never-before-seen unified reaction from Chadians and drove the Libyan army off Chadian territory.

Habré established his dictatorship via a power structure based on corruption and brutality, with thousands of people murdered during his reign. The president favored his own ethnic group, the Daza, while discriminating against his erstwhile friends, the Zaghawa. In 1990, his general, Idriss Déby, deposed him. Attempts to prosecute Habré resulted in his detention in Senegal in 2005; in 2013, Habré was officially charged with war crimes committed during his reign. He was sentenced to life in jail in May 2016 after being found guilty of human-rights violations including rape, sexual enslavement, and ordering the death of 40,000 people.

Déby tried to bring the rebel factions back together and restore multiparty politics. Chadians adopted a new constitution via a referendum, and Déby comfortably won a contested presidential election in 1996. He was re-elected five years later. Oil extraction started in Chad in 2003, bringing with it expectations that the country would finally be able to enjoy some peace and prosperity. Instead, internal strife intensified, and a new civil war erupted. Déby unilaterally changed the constitution to eliminate the two-term restriction on the president, causing outrage among civil society and opposition parties.

Déby gained a third term in 2006 in elections that the opposition boycotted. Ethnic violence has risen in eastern Chad, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has warned that a genocide similar to that in Darfur may occur in Chad. Rebel troops tried to seize the capital by force in 2006 and 2008, but failed both times. The signing of an agreement for the restoration of peace between Chad and Sudan on January 15, 2010, marked the end of a five-year conflict. The improved ties resulted in the repatriation of Chadian rebels from Sudan, the reopening of the two nations’ border after seven years of closure, and the deployment of a combined force to guard the border. Chadian security forces thwarted a coup against President Idriss Deby in May 2013, which had been planned for many months.

Former Senegalese monarch Hissène Habré was condemned to life in prison in 2016 for crimes against humanity.

Stay Safe & Healthy in Chad

Stay Safe in Chad

Chad is always embroiled in political instability, and although rebel assaults are unlikely, they are definitely conceivable. The issue has stalled, but it still poses a danger. Sudan, a nation with which Chad shares conflicts, spills over into Eastern Chad as a result of the Darfur war. Outside of N’Djamena, any activity is tough at best. Northern Chad is a desolate, hot desert where guidance (and luck) are needed, as well as careful preparation. Boko Haram terrorists were seen in Chad in 2013.

N’Djamena is RELATIVELY safe, but be cautious of minor street crime and corrupt police/officials. The majority of border crossings are very tough (Sudan and Libya are not feasible options), while border crossings with Niger and Cameroon are reasonably easy.

Stay Healthy in Chad

Accepting water from any shop unless you know the brand is not a good idea. Consume only food purchased from grocery shops. Restaurants should be avoided whenever feasible. Avoid individuals who seem to be ill; Chad has a number of illnesses to be cautious of. If you are in Chad for an extended period of time, see a doctor once a month if you can afford it.

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