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Chad Desert Camel Caravan Hero

Experiences

Remote Deserts and Secret Safaris of Chad

One of Africa’s best kept secrets, Chad is an under-explored land of dramatic scenery, arid deserts and thriving national parks. Surprisingly diverse in both wildlife and terrain, this shallow basin is bordered by volcanic mountains and sandstone peaks to the north, east and south. Huge herds of elephants traverse the grassy plains, while crocodiles lurk in the desert’s deep ravines. With dramatic landscapes, flourishing ecosystems and ancient artwork, this is a country steeped in culture, conservation and epic adventure.

When to go:
December – February

Under blue skies and beating sun, your Chadian journey begins in N’Djamena – a unique place of bustling bazars, lively sidewalk cafes and independent bars, lending a cosmopolitan feel to the capital of this north-central African state. From this loud and vibrant city, board your private charter to fly high above the sparsely populated, arid terrain of central Chad, soaking up spectacular vistas of this under-explored land. Disembark to the hot, dry heat of desert air, in the town of Fada – historical capital of the Ennedi region. Take time to wander around this Saharan village of characteristic mudbrick houses and markets before you leave civilisation behind for the depths of the Ennedi Plateau.

With the unique advantage of a private helicopter, don your headset, sit back and prepare for a heli safari like no other. Soar over an endless expanse of sand, baking in the heat of the African sun. Pyramids, towers and sandstone pillars, forged by desert winds and scorching temperatures, litter the arid landscape, looming high over dunes and deep ravines. Sheltered by a crescent of sandstone cliffs stand the circular white tents of Camp Warda – a welcome site at the end of a long, hot day. The camp is as idyllic as it is comfortable; soft duvets, hot showers and traditional textiles bring luxury to the heart of this spectacular wilderness. Gather around the crackling fire and feast on barbecued meats, fine wines and fresh bread under an endless expanse of star-studded sky.

After a peaceful breakfast, venture out to explore the extraordinary landscape around you. Described as natural caves, cathedrals and castles, the astonishing sandstone formations, towering from the plateau, provide a spectacular backdrop to your journey deep into the desert. Weaving through these magnificent structures, you will stop along the way to examine the fascinating paintings and depictions adorning their ancient surfaces. Exquisite artwork cover weathered walls, telling tales of Neolithic inhabitants of times gone by. Later, join the Oyo labyrinth of twisting turns and entangled curtains of rock, forged by centuries of surging water.

Camp Warda is the ultimate location from which to undertake a vast array of excursions and adventures, immersing you in the culture, wildlife and breath-taking landscapes of the Sahara. Discover Archei’s famous guelta, a unique pocket of water supporting nomadic herders, hundreds of camels and an isolated population of crocodiles. Marvel at the towering red rock of the Aloba Arch – the second largest arch in the world, looming a staggering 120 metres into the azure sky. Delight in lush oases of swaying palms, shimmering water and verdant foliage, supporting a plethora of animals and birds alike.  

Join your experienced guides in a tour of the plateau by sky, exploring the landscape from above and reaching exclusive vantage points inaccessible by Jeep or on foot. Watch in wonder as your pilot deftly weaves over arches and down valleys, giving you a truly unique perspective of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Transfer onto your private flight across the great expanse of central Chad, watching below as sandy dunes and scorched plateaus give way to the vast floodplains and rolling Savannah of the Zakouma National Park. Sitting just south of the Sahara and north of the rainforests, this grassy expanse is a haven for a plethora of Central and West African wildlife. Here, check into your superior chalet at Tinga Camp, perched on the banks of the meandering Tinga River. Rooms are simple and relaxed, with double beds, ceiling fans and ensuite facilities.  Enjoy a leisurely dinner of both Western and Chadian cuisine before retiring to replenish your energy for the adventures to come.

The Zakouma National Park is an example of the very best conservation success story; a land ransacked by poaching and hunting, losing over 4,000 of its elephant population to the ivory trade, the park turned a corner in 2010 and, slowly but surely, is restoring its iconic inhabitants. From the heart of Zakouma, venture out on private game drives through the tall grass and rugged bush, surrounded by wandering elephants, grazing buffalo and over half the global population of Kordofan giraffe. Relax back at camp soaking up spectacular views of soaring birds and grazing animals from the lodge’s viewpoint. Under the golden light of sunset, feast on a private bush dinner, surrounded by the sites and sounds of the Savannah.

With endless opportunities for birding, safari and bush walks, Zakouma National Park offers the perfect destination to immerse yourself in nature. Browse local community markets and learn about the region’s unique and ancient culture. By night, game drives offer a unique chance to explore the park under the cover of dark, visiting some of its nocturnal inhabitants. This park is truly a hidden safari treasure like no other.

As your time in Zakouma Draws to a close, board your private flight back to N’Djamena, enjoying your final glimpses of the rugged wilderness of this spectacular country sprawling beneath you.