Camels in the mountain deserts of Chad
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Camels in the mountain deserts of Chad

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Chad Travel Guide

Key Facts
Area

1,284,000 sq km (495,800 sq miles).

Population

11.2 million (2013).

Population density

8.7 per sq km.

Capital

N’Djamena.

Government

Republic. Gained independence from France in 1960.

Head of state

President Idriss Déby since 1990.

Head of government

Prime Minister Kalzeubé Pahimi Deubet since 2013.

Electricity

220 volts AC, 50Hz. Round two-pin plugs are used.

A dusty swathe of land at the heart of Africa, Chad is a sun-baked country which, while rocked with conflict, offers up a striking backdrop of sub-Saharan scenery.

Its capital, N'Djamena, is a friendly and laid-back city featuring a wonderful Central Market, where the whole experience of haggling for African produce is exceptionally good fun. Lake Chad, once one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world, is still a serene sight to behold, despite its gradual shrinkage due to climate change and increased demands. It is still of huge economic importance, providing water to millions of people in surrounding countries.

Indeed, Chad itself, although one of the poorest of Africa's nations, is still geographically staggering, ranging from desert in the north to fertile farmland in the south.

Travel Advice

Last updated: 25 March 2015

The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.


Crime

Armed robberies, particularly from cars, in residential areas of N’Djamena are common. Foreigners are sometimes targeted.

Be vigilant and take particular care in the capital. Keep doors locked and windows closed. Don’t carry large sums of money, jewellery, or other valuables. Avoid isolated or less developed areas of towns and don’t travel alone at night.

There have been a number of kidnappings in eastern Chad involving Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) workers and business people. You should be vigilant and take care at all times.

The long-standing policy of the British Government is not to make substantive concessions to hostage takers. The British Government considers that paying ransoms and releasing prisoners increases the risk of further hostage taking.

Local travel

Nearly 350,000 Sudanese and Central African refugees and 100,000 internally displaced persons (IDP) are living in and around camps in eastern and southern Chad. The Joint Border Force between Sudan and Chad has partially stabilised the situation in the east, but banditry and violent crime in eastern Chad still exist. The border between Chad and Central African Republic is heavily restricted with only limited refugee/returnee movement permitted. The border with Sudan is subject to closure at little notice.

The area bordering Libya is heavily land-mined. The northern regions of Borkou, Ennedi and Tibesti remain unsafe.

Road travel

Road travel can be dangerous due to the state of the roads and quality of driving. Accidents involving motorbikes are particularly common. Crowds can quickly gather around the scene of an accident and, while rarely violent, can be intimidating. Try to make contact with the police or other local authority immediately if you are involved in an accident.

For travel outside the capital, you will need authorisation from the Ministry of the Interior, which is normally granted without difficulty after a few days. Roads are poor and often impassable during the rainy season (July-October), especially in the south. Heavy rains can result in major flooding in many areas, particularly in the south and east.

You should travel in convoy, keep doors locked and carry spare fuel and supplies. Police checkpoints are common: you may be asked to show your passport, driving licence and vehicle registration documents. Don’t travel by road after dark.

Political Situation

You should avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings of people. If you become aware of any nearby protests leave the area immediately. You should keep yourself informed of developments through local media.

Although the likelihood of significant rebel activity has fallen as a result, the political and security situation remains uncertain and could change rapidly.

Consular assistance

There is no British Embassy in Chad. If you need consular assistance you should contact the British High Commission in Yaoundé, Cameroon.

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