Safaris in Chad
The resounding conservation success story that is Zakouma National Park has put Chad on the map for safari adventurers, making this off-beat destination well worth a look
After a dramatic turnaround in Zakouma National Park, Chad is fast becoming highly sought after by safari connoisseurs.
Virtually unvisited for three decades due to a series of civil wars, the last of which ended in 2010, Chad has finally reached a level of stability and is opening up to travellers. By definition, the choice is limited when it comes to a Chad holiday, and the 3,000 square kilometres of Zakouma is the main attraction for a trip to the country.
Currently, despite rumours of Ennedi in the north opening up, Chad remains complicated at time of writing and Zakouma is the only place you can realistically expect to visit on a pre-arranged safari.
Brought back from the brink by Africa Parks, its resounding success story in terms of conservation makes this rich and diverse park in the most unlikely of places is certainly worth visiting.
Much “classic” big game occurs here, from buffalo, lion, leopard, cheetah and elephant to giraffe, roan, hartebeest and more. Some, such as Lelwel Hartebeest, Buffon’s Kob, Kordofan Giraffe are range-limited, so will likely be new to you if you haven’t ventured into the Sahelian region before.
The elephant of Zakouma almost exclusively live in one humongous super-herd, this is a mixed blessing in terms of sightings as if seen it is an awesome sight but it’s all or nothing, so worth being aware that unlike places like Lake Itsezhi-tezhi in Zambia’s Kafue, they aren’t an omni-present feature of the horizon. The best and often only way to see the herd is from the air.
Zakouma is, in parts, strongly reminiscent of some of its better-known peers – the Bahr Salamat looks like the Luangwa River with its sand-bars and nesting Northern Carmine Bee-eaters, while its concentrations of enormous crocodile are comparable to the Katuma in Katavi.
Conservation and rarity value aside, it is worth taking a clear-eyed look at the safari experience in Zakouma and asking all but the most committed whether the additional cost is justified by the experience on offer. Natural High expert guide, Rod Tether, is an accredited private guide for Zakouma and will be happy to discuss the options with you.
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- Conservation success story
- See the mega-herd of Zakouma National Park
- Remote and wild safari experience
- Great birding
top reasons to visit chad
Often the best safaris involve looking beyond the obvious highlights. It’s about the myriad exhilarating encounters that will make your heart sing. These are encounters that nobody could ever predict, but that make your safari genuinely unique.
Best time To VisitChad
November to February offers visitors cooler climes
The rainy season in Chad lasts for roughly half the year, leaving visitors with a relatively short span of time in which to visit the country between December and April.
Chad becomes progressively hotter as the dry season goes on, with average temperatures of 40°C. Between December and January the game is fairly dispersed and the weather is relatively cool, but by February with water sources drying up the congregation of mammals and birds increases and the average temperature remains tolerable from 25 to 30°C.
Get the full desert safari experience during March and April
With a high concentration of wildlife and the climate at its driest, early spring brings out the best in the country.
Those who do travel to Zakouma during March and April will be rewarded with some of the most awe-inspiring sights in the natural world. Although the temperature will be high, so too will your chances of seeing the broadest array of wildlife sharing the same sources of water.
Best time To VisitChad
Chad’sParks & Areas
Zakouma National Park may be the only option when it comes to a safari holiday in Chad, but that doesn’t mean it will be any less spectacular.
Zakouma National Park
Virtually unvisited for three decades, Zakouma National Park has bounced back and is fast becoming the destination of choice for safari connoisseurs.
– The mega-herd of Zakouma
– Conservation success
– Bohemian feels staying at Camp Nomade
– Remote and wild safari experience
Chad (FAQs) Need to Know
Where should I stay in Chad?
There are a couple of options of where to stay during your visit to Zakouma National Park; Tinga Camp and Camp Nomade. Camp Nomade falls in the tradition of the best tented areas elsewhere in Africa, so its approach will be familiar to those who have visited such places as Chada in Katavi. It also only takes one group at a time, so you can expect a highly personalised service, good food, and ringside seats for the action on the Riguek Floodplain.
Tents are simple, but well thought out — expect bucket showers and small but comfortable accommodation. The main mess area is beautifully decorated with colourful North African rugs, and sits under a Bedouin-style canvas which provides shade and a breeze in the heat of the day.
Is it safe to visit Chad?
Given its recent history and the political turmoil impacting some of its neighbouring nations, Western diplomats have been cautious with their travel advice regarding Chad, possibly exacerbated by the fact the tourism industry is very much in its infancy. However, at Natural High, we take our cue from our contacts on the ground, who give us up to date information and will advise us immediately if there is anything untoward occurring or likely.
As with much of Africa, there is nowhere safer than deep in the bush, and Zakouma National Park is currently exceptionally well protected. While the usual risks of being on a safari remain, there is no greater chance of misadventure happening here than anywhere else, provided that sensible precautions are taken.
We advise anyone considering a holiday in Chad to check current FCO guidelines for up-to-date information, and confirm with your insurer that your travel insurance will be valid, or whether you will need to purchase supplementary cover. We are happy to recommend brokers for this, if required.
Do I need any vaccinations before travelling to Chad?
There are no more medical requirements to visit Chad than in the classic safari destinations across East and Southern Africa. Proof of Yellow Fever inoculation is required and the incidence of malaria in the dry (safari) season very low. Speak to your doctor or travel clinic about what they would recommend for you well before departure.
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They picked out good places to stay that fitted the criteria. Very thoughtful and attentive. They called back and they sent emails with suggestions….
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This was certainly not our first trip with natural high. As any other trip, organization was great, ie pick up, vehicles, local guides, food, all well…
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The holiday was absolutely perfect. The recommended places to stay were spot on, excellent service throughout. It shows that each property has been vi…
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Excellent, no problems…
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We stayed at three beautiful lodges; The Emakoko Nairobi National Park, Tortillis Camp Amboseli National Park and Kicheche Valley Camp Mara Conservati…
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Seamless service, Catherine was able to accommodate my changing needs, even last minute changes that were my fault, and ended up with a wonderful vaca…
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Very helpful and Catherine went out of her way to accommodate us. It was also short notice from our side and yet it all worked very well. Good advice …
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Our main contact, Rod, was extremely knowledgeable in all aspects of the Safari that we ultimately decided upon. We trusted his recommendations throug…
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