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Sahara Travel Forum Topics specific to North Africa and the Sahara down to the 17th parallel (excludes Morocco)
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  #1  
Old 2 May 2007
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Chad Route in a 2WD in October?

Does anyone have any recent advice on whether the route from Niger to N'Djamena is doable in October in a 2WD? We know that it is said to be difficult but in recent trips we made several 4WD-tracks with a 2WD.
How about safety concerns: if we form a convoy with other cars we might meet in that area - is it a reasonably safe option?
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Old 2 May 2007
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There are a lot of sandy tracks around Lake Chad, some of the tracks are so deep that most 2WD will have clearance problems. The soft sand might also be a problem.

I wouldn’t expect you to meet enough travelers to make a convoy. Back in 2001 I felt safe all the way but was arrested after Bol for taking pictures, so take care!
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Old 8 May 2007
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hi .
IMO , Its not doable .Not at all . Id think on somewhere else .


last December It was ok . The route from Nguimi to Bol was nerve-racking , but ok . Did it on one piece . Definitely not doable in anything else than a 4x4 and even so ..... most people get seriously stuck . I insist , no way at all to do it on a 2wd.

Security ? Well , people on the route are definitely dodgy . They don't look neither happy nor welcoming . They are waiting in the most difficult patches to agressively ask you for money/cadeaus , etc.. I heard stories about attacks with axes ! , and some incident involving an arrow !!

having said that .. for me Bol was the most fantastic experience . People -so -so , they simply didnt give a $hit about me . No hotels in town ! Not a single one . But the governor ( The town's major ) lodged me , invited me to breakfasts , food , ciggies , and refered me to the chief of the police .
NExt night (still in Bol ) free drinkies and free chicks !!! courtesy of the chief of the police !!!

when I woke up .. all my papers were already done for me ! fantastic , amazing .

Well , from Bol to NJamena is quite dodgy again . People -not clear if they are soldiers , beggars , bandits , police (probbably a bit of everything ) until arriving the Tarmac (80 km north of NJamena )

NJamena is quite rough. A lot .During the day is ok -as long as you don't do anything tooo stupid . But at the evening Even the locals are afraid of the streets in the dark . From dusk to mid-night gets really sketchy . Lots of drunk -armed- military people looking for cadeaus/trouble . Stay in a bar / hotel , preferable one with a couple of armed security people outside.

from midnight to Down , the military go home , and NJamena is literally a lawless city . You ll listen the shots in the street . IF by midnight you arent at the hotel ... then by all means get into a bar or something to stay the night.

REgarding hotels , none at all within my budget. Cheapest i could find was 80-90 Euros a night . Camping in the Novotel Parking is more difficult these days and they also *expect* 20.000 CFAs p/p


I can't stop reccomending/endorsing restaurant "ALI BABA" , in the touristic street (don't remember the name , but there is only one touristic street) .You ll have good food , good , clever and interesting English conversation and safety . The restaurant was my "headquarters" during my week in NJamena .

Good Luck
Javier
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  #4  
Old 30 Aug 2007
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Post Chad - N'Djamena

Hi,

as for the road to come into Chad from Niger I can't give too much info, but I guess the other information is already useful enough. As for around Lake Chad, the raining season at this moment is heavier than normal, so indeed forget driving too close driving around Lake Chad - either you will get stuck in the sand, or the roads will still be flooded - or something in between.

As for N'Djamena, living here I can tell you it is not as bad as it sounds in some of the other replies - yet bad enough to be quite careful. Never ever walk around after dark - simple as that... only from the bar/hotel/restaurant to your car and back. If you order a taxi after dark, do it through the hotel or restaurant where you are - maybe more expensive, but worth it. Having said that, there are a few nice places to go to, including Ali Baba which was mentioned in another reply, which is on Avenue Charles de Gaulle - THE street you should get familiar with from the beginning upon arriving here.

As for places to stay, it's true that there is very few reliable budget places - I personally don't know any, but then again, don't have a real need for it either. Every traveller is however welcome to stay at my place, as long as I know it a bit in advance - I am often away on work trips, so need some planning.

In general, Chad is not as bad as it sometimes pictured, but the usual precautions are even more important over here then in other countries. Coupeurs de route is a bit of a national sport, but in the west around N'Djamena it's not too bad. Don't think about going to the east past Abeche - lot going on for the moment, and no safety guarantee whatsoever. Going south is ok, and especially crossing into Cameroun is no real problem - although I hear rumours that in the north of Cameroun they have their own problems as well - but can't give you real useful info on that one...

Hope this helps a bit... and just so you know that for all Horizons readers there is always a cold waiting here...

cheers/jef
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