At a Glance
Dates: February 3rd - February 14th, 2023
Extension: We do not currently offer any extensions to this itinerary.
Prices: £4,095 pp sharing (with a £250 single supplement), excluding international flights.
In a sentence: An exceedingly rare opportunity to view the world-famous Ennedi massif and the stirring conservation efforts in Ouadi-Rimé Faunal Reserve, where some of the planet's rarest mammals now roam freely.
Chad has, in recent years, become a widely-celebrated conservation success story following the revitalisation of the incredible Zakouma National Park by African Parks. Slightly less widely-recognised are the efforts of the Sahara Conservation Fund in the far north of Chad, where a number of extinct or locally-extinct species have been re-introduced and are now living wild - these include the stunningly beautiful Addax, Scimitar-Horned Oryx and Dama Gazelle. All of these species have, in recent decades, been on the brink (or beyond) of extinction, and the SCF has done admirable work to establish founder populations of these magnificent animals back into suitable habitat in Ouadi-Rimé - a key stop during this tour.
Perhaps even more breath-taking than the wildlife in Ouadi-Rimé is the world-famous Ennedi Massif. Characterised by striking rock formations, vast desert wilderness and gorgeous oases, Ennedi is a photographer's dream. Jaw-dropping sights are plentiful and, whilst we can barely scratch the surface of this incredible Switzerland-sized area, visiting Ennedi is a highlight for any visitor to this remote part of Chad.
Upon arrival into N'Djamena, you will be met by your Pictus Safaris representative and transferred to your hotel. Please note that your passport will need to be registered within 24 hours of your arrival, so we will ask to take your passport briefly to do this on your behalf. We appreciate that this can be unsettling, but we will be sure to return your passport to you as quickly as possible. If you prefer, you can accompany us to the police headquarters where the registration takes place.
After dinner at our hotel, we recommend getting plenty of rest ahead of a busy trip to come.
Today is, by all accounts, a long and taxing day of driving. Leaving N'Djamena at 6am, we will first head north before heading east through Chad's vast and empty interior As we leave N'Djamena behind, the rugged remoteness of central Chad becomes punctuated by occasional patches of woodland, herdsmen tending to their goats and camels, and other-worldly vistas.
We will stop as regularly as we can for breaks, but we have a significant distance of c.750km to cover, so we will look to make progress as far as possible. We aim to arrive in Chad's fourth-largest city, Abeche, by 7pm.
After a long drive the previous day, it is a (relatively) short drive north from Abeche today to the small town of Biltine, and onwards into the Ouadi-Rimé-Ouadi Achim Faunal Reserve. This vast wilderness area is one of the largest in the world and, for many years, suffered from porous borders, poaching and unfettered hunting conducted by wealthy visitors from the Middle East. These issues were doubly heart-breaking, as the reserve had for decades been the last stronghold for wild populations of species including Addax, Dama Gazelle, Scimitar-Horned Oryx and North African Ostrich. Sadly, these species were largely wiped out until the Sahara Conservation Fund stepped in in 2016, reintroducing herds of Oryx and Addax, and locating a previously unknown wild herd of Dama Gazelle. With the assistance of the SCF, we hope to be able to spend time with some of these extraordinary species.
We hope to arrive at the 'Oryx Base Camp' by early evening. If permitted, we will use this evening to conduct a spotlighting session in the area around camp - wildlife populations are low here, but we may be very lucky to see wildlife including African Golden Wolf, Striped Hyena and even Cheetah.
Days Four to Five
The next two days are highly flexible, with our movements dependent on the availability of SCF staff. Across the two days, we hope to have at least one opportunity to venture deeper into the reserve, as well as opportunities to see, photograph and learn about the reintroduced wildlife including Addax, Dama Gazelle, Scimitar-Horned Oryx and North African Ostrich.
Heading north once more, we take the desert tracks today to the town of Kalait. A busy and bustling town, with a thriving market, Kalait is a vital supply centre between Abeche and Fada. Well-known as a gateway to the Ennedi Plateau, it is here that we will spend the night in preparation for an exciting journey into the beautiful massif tomorrow.
Today we visit the first of several 'guelta' that form a chain of oases throughout the Ennedi Plateau. Flanked by precipitous sandstone cliffs, this guelta is amongst the most photogenic in the region, with crystal clear water winding its way from pool to pool in the deep orange sand. We aim to time our visit to coincide with one of many herds of domestic camels coming to drink from the fresh water. Panoramic photographs of these herds and their herdsmen are a must in this stunning environment.
We will camp a short distance from the guelta tonight, soaking in the atmosphere of this remarkable place. As darkness sets in, we will scan the area around the guelta for signs of wildlife as the herds of camels fade away. Olive Baboons are likely visitors, but more elusive mammals are possible, with a particular hope for Striped Hyena and Caracal in these remarkable surrounds.
Today is, for many visitors, the absolute highlight of their visit to Ennedi. The stunning Guelta d'Archei, as isolated and remote as it is possible to be, is an oasis set deep within canyons of jet-black sandstone. A magnet for herds of goats and camels, this is truly one of the most striking and fantastic locations in all of Ennedi, and an incredible photographic opportunity. Upon arrival at the guelts, we will take a short hike to several viewpoints from which the views of the water below are simply breath-taking.
Our day does not stop here, however, and we continue on this afternoon through a variety of special landscapes to Abaike. This area is characterised by extraordinary rock formations, including pinnacles seeming to defy gravity, epic natural archways and deep red sandstone promontories - think Monument Valley on steroids!. We will camp in an area surrounded by these formations, soaking in the deep black night's sky in this incredible place.
Today we will return to the town of Kalait, retracing our steps through even more remarkable scenery.
We rejoin more heavily used roads today, visiting a series of wells around Bathandjenna known to attract a number of species of wild mammal, most commonly Red-Fronted Gazelle.
Mossouro is our destination today, the capital of the Bahr-el-Ghazal region. Our drive takes us through uncharacteristically hilly areas, providing scenic views of the surrounding plains.
Today we will return to N'Djamena - we recommend booking flights leaving after 21.00 from N'Djamena. If you wish to spend an extra night in N'Djamena, we can arrange this at an extra cost.
Please be aware that whilst we make every effort to follow the above itinerary as closely as possible, circumstances may
occasionally arise that mean the tour deviates from the itinerary.
Dates and Prices
This tour will run in February 2023, aiming to take advantage of the dry season when wildlife populations congregate around water sources, and when travel is easiest The tour will run from February 3rd to February 14th.
The cost of this trip is £4,095 per person excl. flights. This includes all meals, accommodation and wildlife-focussed activities. Drinks are not included. There is a £250 single supplement for this trip. To secure a booking, a deposit payment of £1,500 plus any single supplement must be paid.
Flights and Visas
Pictus Safaris do not offer flight booking services. However, we do recommend the use of travel comparison websites such as skyscanner.net or momondo.com to identify the best fares, and then booking with the airline directly where possible. This will reduce the likelihood of complications and fees should any issues with your booking arise. Please be sure to book flights leaving from N'Djamena no earlier than 18.00. If you wish to spend an additional night in N'Djamena at the end of your tour, we can arrange this for you at an extra cost.
British nationals do require a visa to enter Chad. Clients of other nationalities are advised to check well before travel whether they require an entry visa. Details of the process of obtaining a tourist visa for Chad will be provided to you upon booking. The cost of a Chadian tourist visa for UK citizens is £130 - we recommend using a third-party visa provider such as Travcour, as visas will be issued by the nearest Chadian embassy, in Belgium. To acquire a tourist visa for Chad you will require a completed application form, a valid passport, a Yellow Fever certificate, a Letter of Invitation (provided by Pictus Safaris) and a copy of your itinerary and hotel reservations.
Please also note that you are required to register with Chadian police within 24 hours of arriving in Chad. A Pictus Safaris representative will assist you with this on arrival.
Weather and What to Bring
The weather in Chad in February is hot and dry, with maximum temperatures of around 36 degrees Celsius. At night, temperatures will drop to around 20 degrees Celsius.
A full packing list will be circulated at least two months prior to departure. Pictus Safaris will be able to provide one extra set of binoculars and two spotlights per group, and clients are welcome to bring additional camera, videography and scope equipment should they wish to. Please note that the use of drones is not permitted in many protected areas. We strongly recommend bringing comfortable, loose-fitting and neutral-coloured clothing on safari - please do not bring camouflage clothing. We recommend against dark coloured clothing (e.g. black or dark blue) as this attracts biting flies. Worn-in hiking boots with ankle support are a must, as are sunglasses, sun protection and a hat.
Do also remember to budget for any expenses not included in the cost of the trip, including for gratuities and additional activities. We recommend bringing US Dollars, which can be exchanged in N'Djamena if necessary.
Safety and Security
We understand that for some potential visitors, the security situation in Chad is a concern. Pictus Safaris take the safety of clients extremely seriously and we are in constant communication with our ground operators to monitor the security situation in all of our destinations.
The security situation in Chad has greatly improved since the unrest of 2006 and 2008. N'Djamena and the main roads we use are protected by Chadian forces and incidents are very rare. Ennedi and Ouadi-Rime are remote, but trouble is exceedingly rare.
All Pictus Safaris clients must have travel insurance to travel with us. As travel to Chad is advised against by national travel advisory bodies, most travel insurance policies will not be valid in Chad. We recommend High Risk Voyager insurance as it covers medial evacuation from remote areas.