Chad is one of the lesser-known countries that is completely landlocked in Central Africa. It’s bordered by Libya to the north, Sudan to the east, the Central African Republic to the south, Cameroon and Nigeria to the southwest and Niger to the west. It is the fifth largest country in the continent and has several zones, ranging from the desert region of Sahara to a Sahelian belt as well as savanna zones. Let’s have a look at the top 11 interesting facts about the Republic of Chad.
1. The country is named after Lake Chad. It is the second-largest lake in Africa and the largest wetland in Chad. Lake Chad is a freshwater lake that touches base with Nigeria, Cameroon, and Niger. It has shrunk by as much as 95% since 1963.
2. The Sahara Desert covers much of northern Chad and occupies roughly 1/3rd of the country’s total area. It is the largest hot desert and the third largest desert in the world.
3. The country has never been able to make it to the FIFA World Championships.However, they have had some popular soccer players.
4. The Toubou tribe, who live in the Tibesti Mountains, are known as the world’s best camel racers. Competitions are held occasionally to determine the village champions. Tourists from across the world visit the mountains to participate in camel racing.
5. Chad has three climatic regions – A third of Chad is covered by the Sahara Desert, in the north, with extremely hot temperatures and low population density. The Sahel belt covers the Central region of Chad, and it marks the transition between desert and tropical climate. In the south, Chad is mainly tropical, allowing farmers to grow their crops and the population to settle.
6. Chad has a shortage of doctors. For every 23,600 people in Chad, there is only one Chadian doctor available. This is one of Chad’s biggest challenges in terms of overall development.
7. Chad is also known as “The Babel Tower of the World” because of its cultural diversity. It has over 200 ethnic groups and 100 languages spoken in the country.
8. Sadly, Chad is one of the poorest and most corrupt countries in the world. It was ranked as seventh poorest country by Forbes.com in 2008. It has also appeared on other lists of the most corrupt countries of the world. Nevertheless, the country holds vast reserves of oil, uranium, and gold.
9. 80% of the Chadian people live under the poverty line.
10. Chad has ample reserves of gold and uranium, but these resources haven’t been tapped into adequately as the mining industry has not received adequate attention and investment since the discovery of oil.
11. To this day, Chad has only one television station (Tele-Tchad) which is owned by the state. Radio is the main source of media coverage in the country.
How to reach?
Due to the unavailability of direct flights from India to Chad, you have to opt for connecting international flights to your destination. The International Airport is at N’Djamena, 4.5 km northwest of the city. Board a train or bus, or take a taxi to reach the city center from the airport. Other major international airports in Chad are in Abeche and Faya.
You can drive all the way to Chad from Nigeria, Cameroon or the Central African Republic. The roads are fairly good and well connected.
Tibesti Mountains: Offering a landscape of canyons, rock faces and forests, Tibesti Mountains is a mountainous range situated in the domain of the Toubou people in the extreme north of Chad. The mountain is originally an enormous dead volcano and only experienced climbers can climb to the top but there are so many other exciting things around like camel race-viewing, examining the parietal art and visiting hot thermal springs.
Abeche: Abeche, the fourth largest city in the country, boasts remnants of ancient fortresses, structures, and tombs of former sultans that ruled Chad in previous ages. The relics are kept secured behind a safety fence but the town has maintained plenty of its past beauty. This place is a must visit to know about the history and culture of Chad.
Ennedi: Located in the middle of Sahara Desert is the Ennedi Region: a harsh landscape home to some of the most remarkable and unusual rock formations in the world. The place looks like a natural work of art and is also quite famous amongst hikers. Do visit this place if you want to witness the most dramatic landscapes in the world.
Lake Chad: Located on the country’s western borders, Lake Chad used to be the world’s largest freshwater lake. Bur drastic climate changes and severe droughts have shrunk the lake to a fraction of its former size and grandeur. The lake is still a beautiful spot and remains in use for fishing and boating.
Zakouma National Park: It is considered as one of the remaining locations in Central Africa that is really a shelter for wildlife and is home to a number of animals such as African elephants, giraffe, buffalos, roan antelope, tiang, and Lelwel’s hartebeest. A prime location for safari, this place is a must visit.
Guelta d’Archei: This place is one of the most renowned canyons in the Sahara Desert. The panoramic view of the place is incredible and embedded artworks on ancient walls provide a medieval feel to the region. The area is dominated by some types of animals, mostly the Nile crocodiles
Lakes of Ounianga: The Ounianga Lakes are a series of 18 interconnected lakes in the Sahara Desert. Some of the lakes are saline whereas others are drinkable and support life. The lakes are Chad’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site.