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  • Wolfgang Fobo

Chad - Ennedi

No trip for the faint hearted. What you need is good health, a sense of humor, a decent amount of money to afford this trip, and some endurance. And, not to forget, you will be offline for about 2 weeks. No connection whatsoever, somehow you disappear from the screen.

We were 12 tourists, with the average age somewhere between 55 and 60 (only then you have the time and money as well as the degree of freedom to do what you always wanted to do). 3 tourists per jeep, plus driver (French speaking), and an additional jeep for the cooks and the supply, because you travel offroad. We did some 3,500 km in 14 days, of this perhaps 2,500 km offroad, and without a scout in the far North of Chad you would get lost. And we had a magnificent scout, Ahmed, our living GPS.

Or first night of 13 nights in a tent. Every day procedure around 5 pm was to set up a tent that was provided by the tour operator. Also each one got a mat to lie on. You had to bring your own sleeping bag. And thanks to my wife Gisela, she insisted to bring along so called Iso-mats as an additional softening layer between mat and sleeping bag, which turned out to be a blessing at least for my backbone (but Gisela I guess also congratulated herself to her wise decision)

Mother Nature was your toilet, and you got your water for washing yourself in a bowl - perhaps 2 liter. It should do, and it did (you could get more if you needed, but it seemed that we all could cope with that limited supply).

The cook sets the table for dinner, while we set up our tents.

Food was quite ok, better than we thought. The 2 cooks did a very god job. Every lunch we got a salad that we took on a large mat. Three times a goat was purchased, brought to the camp alive, and the cook processed the goat, gratefully in total darkness, in good distance from us.

Driving to the Ennedi mountains takes almost 4 days, with 6-8 hours driving time per day, being exposed to the "African massage".

Such a bowl of salad was sufficient as lunch for 12. Plus some fruits as a dessert. Plus hot tea.

Our "Arrival Beer" to keep us in good spirits. We had to organize that ourselves, and with some planning you can get your necessary crates of beer until you reach the next supply station.

The corresponding watering hole for the ubiquitous camels and donkeys.

Kalait, a desolate village where we could refuel, while the cooks went shopping. You leave this patch of earth happily, being aware in what a paradise you live at home

The donkey brought the water for the next days. For drinking purposes however, we got an unlimited supply of bottled mineral water

Finally, we arrive at the Ennedi mountains. This was our first camp ground

Breakfast at the Ennedi mountains

The scenery was breathtaking. Over a period of 5-6 days we were exposed to an incredible landscape.

An oasis, the only place where still trees exist from a period of 5,000-7,000 years ago, when this area was all fertile and abundant with trees

How the locals live...

The world's second biggest natural arch

A panoramic view

It's lunchtime...

Foto stop at the "Whiskey Bottle"

To be followed with the "Elephant's Arch"

I could add dozens of more of such magnificent fotos, slowly I was getting like drunk with one exciting scenery following the other - difficult to digest so many wonders. We were also shown cave paintings - some 5,000 years old.

The reason why you should not go barefoot...

Guelta d'Archei, the probably most famous watering hole in the total of the Sahara. Here the last 9 crocodiles are said to still survive, leftovers from the distant past...

Isn't it bizarre?

Here you see me, at another spot where we camped overnight

The Big Ounianga Lake, an UNESCO heritage site. Where we camped, of course...

Our most bizarre camp site was among dozens of anti tank shells, some still unused, leftovers from the war between Chad and Libya. We were advised not to touch them, and all of us followed suit.

At this camp site we had also our most stressful night, being embedded in a real sand storm, what an experience. Tents flattered in the wind, some lost their over tent and were covered with sand the next morning. I had an almost sleepness night when the tent hit my head again and again, from the wind outside. But all of us survived unharmed. Breakfast was canceled, it would have been impossible to set up the tables, and so we left, with Ahmed, our living GPS, seeking a quiet place where we finally had an extensive breakfast plus lunch.

Passing by a battlefield. In that war, Ghadafi's clumsy tanks had no chance against the highly flexible "Toyota Army" of the Chadians. By the way, it seems to me that without Toyota the Northern Chad would not be accessible...

How locals travel offroad. This Toyota is the standard vehicle

Or would you rather prefer this mode of transportation ?

Visit of a typical Chadian village

When the tour came to an end, I was somehow glad that my senses could come to rest. One day to be followed by another day of excitement - I had enough. What a civilized achievement that you need not any longer put your shoes on in the middle of the night when going for a pee, with a flashlight.

In any case, this was a great tour, organized and carried out by professionals, with good equipment and vehicles. Drivers knew their job, cooks did wonders, we were a splendid team of 12 adventurers - ok, guided adventurers.

As much as I do not want to miss anything that I could experience, I am glad to be home, safe and dry. And grateful to be born at the right time at the right spot of Mother Earth.

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