Sandstone wonderland and the jewel of the Sahel
A Chadian Adventure
For many years, Chad was deemed an unrealistic destination for even intrepid travellers due to the ongoing unrest and what seemed like an unstoppable wave of poaching. In 2010 African Parks were invited by the Chadian government to take over management of Zakouma, Chad’s oldest and arguably most spectacular national park. They have subsequently done an extraordinary job of stemming the poaching tide and carving out a real future for this truly special corner of Africa. In 2018, after their success in Zakouma, African Parks were awarded management of Ennedi Natural and Cultural Reserve, a 50,000 km² sandstone wonderland steeped in ancient rock art and Saharan culture.
Climatize, relax and get ready for your adventure.
An exploration into both of these landscapes will resonate on many levels, from discovery through to conservation. It is a journey of great contrast, encompassing two of Africa’s wildest destinations: one a meditative expression of silence and solitude, the other an explosion of life and abundance. This is for the traveller who wants an authentic experience beyond the infinity pool.
Your exclusive stay
Ennedi is best visited between October and early March, Zakouma between January and mid-April, and the sweet spot to visit both of these destinations is between January and March. Camp Nomade is only bookable by a small selected group of African Parks partner guides, making this an incredibly exclusive experience for our guests.
The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched, they are felt with the heart.
- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
An experience to remember
Ennedi is utterly surprising by its grandeur of scale. It is larger than Switzerland and only from the air when the mountains themselves are dwarfed by the endless expanse does one get a vague sense of its enormity. Yet in contrast to the wildlife paradise of Zakouma, Ennedi’s allure lies in the sorcery of its sandstone towers, mesmerising night skies, ancient rock art, passing caravans of camels with their semi-nomadic herders and a breathtaking vastness that few from the outside world have ever seen. One could say Ennedi is best experienced as a near silent retreat. It is not a place to speak about, it is a place to be.
The unforgettable experience continues
And wild it truly is. Getting there is more challenging than many destinations, but the 3,300 km² of Zakouma delivers the freedom to explore in ways that very few parks can offer in today’s increasingly regulated world. We will spend much time on foot, possibly even in the presence of lion, buffalo and elephant. Zakouma’s elephants are one of its greatest lures: these majestic beings sometimes travel together in a single herd of over 450 – a reminder of both past tragedy and future hope.
Explore Zakouma and Ennedi
In the north-east of Chad the stunning Ennedi Mountains arise, a red sandstone mountain range sculpted into fascinating, manifold rock formations by wind and sand. This is one of Chad’s most beautiful areas; its natural arches, deep canyons and isolated waterholes make it a real joy to explore. The Ennedi Natural and Cultural Reserve covers approximately 50,000 km² of the Ennedi Massif, an area that spans the country’s Sahelian and Saharan areas and which was designated a World Heritage Site in 2016. Here we enter the land of Tubu, one of Africa’s most traditional people. Our excellent local connections give us the rare opportunity to witness their remarkable desert lifestyle. Zakouma is a place of abundance, and it is perhaps this that makes it so remarkable. Flocks of 4,000 plus black crowned cranes fly over camp each morning, swarms of over 10 million red-billed quelea, waterfowl too numerous to count, large herds of Central African buffalo fringe the pans, Kordofan giraffe, roan antelope, tiang and a host of other antelope species speckle the plains and lions are numerous. Zakouma recalls a time when the wilds of Africa seemed so much fuller and more complete.
Ennedi Natural and Cultural Reserve
While decades of poaching and conflict almost eradicated much of the wildlife, and sightings are few and far between, there are some extraordinary creatures that call this desert home, including Barbary sheep, Dorcas gazelle, striped hyena, yellow baboon, patas monkey, caracal, honey badger, desert hedgehog, common genet and Rüppell’s fox. Around 525 plant species have been found and around 200 birds have been recorded passing through Ennedi. Remarkably, a small relic population of desert-adapted crocodiles persists in the Guelta d’Archei, the last known representatives of this species throughout the Sahara.
Zakouma National Park
Zakouma National Park, located in the Salamat region of south-eastern Chad, situated just south of the Sahara Desert and above the fertile rainforest regions, is considered the primary safe haven for Central and West African wildlife. Once a stronghold for well over 4,000 elephants, by 2010 the park had lost 90% of its elephants to ivory poachers. The Chadian government then invited African Parks to secure the park, protect the remaining 500 elephant and bring back stability to the surrounding communities. The success of this conservation endeavour has been so marked that African Parks were given the mandate to manage the entire Greater Zakouma Ecosystem of 28,162 km².
know about Chad
View Michael’s personal Chad Photo Collection.
Chad visas can be arranged on arrival at the airport.
Yellow Fever certification is required when travelling from, or passing through, yellow fever endemic countries. Chad is considered to be an endemic country. It is essential that you consult your medical practitioner regarding anti-malaria requirements prior to your trip.