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We're a couple of travelers planning a trip from Sudan to Chad overland. We don't have our own vehicle and we hitch-hike most of the time, but we thought we could get some recent info from you guys.
We're basically wondering if someone has managed to get into Chad crossing Darfur recently and if a permit from the sudanese authorities is needed, how difficult was it to get it?
We guess the easier would be to cross from Geneina to Adre since the border post seems to be open, but would it be possible to cross somewhere else further north and try to get an entry stamp in Fada for example?
There's just one more thing, we've already got our visas, but if entering Chad from the east, does anyone know if it is easy to get the autorisation de circuler somewhere else?
Well, hope someone can give us an idea about these issues.
I don't think there is anyone on this forum who could give an informed answer. A friend of mine was in El Fasher some months ago (flying in) on an aid project, but could only move within the army secured part of the town. From what I gather the civil war continues peacefully, carefully screened from the prying eyes of the outside world.
Assuming that you could get permits to travel through the region (or get away without having any), you wold be the first ones to try this in a loooong time. It is entirely possible that with a spell of luck you could actuall pull it off, but there is an equal probability that you would make a brief article on page three of the Times...
I traveled within Chad for 9 weeks Dec2011-Jan 2012 (see my report on sahara-overland under S-Files), and arrived and departed through Ndjamena. It did not seem that the Autorisation de Circuler was available anywhere other than Ndjamena. Police and Dept of Immigration did check it often, as I travelled from Ndjamena to Abeche to Fada to Kalait to Faya-Largeau to Ndjamena on public transport. The police in Fada were very particular about my paperwork. Good luck.
I knew that it was going to be hard to find someone with an informed answer, but well... We're just trying to find out the best way to get into Chad from Sudan, if possible, and then explore northern Chad without having to pass by N'djamena first.
Taking the main route to El Fasher and Geneina without a permit doesn't make much sense since the authorities wouldn't let us pass, and don't know any other border post further north where to get our passports stamped. And well, trying to cross first to Libya at Al Uweinat and from there to northern Chad seems even more foolish to me given the current difficulties of getting a libyan visa and especially, cause i haven't heard of that crossing to be opened for tourist.
And Alistair, i had seen the report before, i'd love to take that camel trip, sounds amazing. I'm aware of the difficulties we would find without the autorisation de circuler, so we'll have to figure out where to get it. Don't think it's possible beforehand, but i'll ask the chadian embassy, otherwise maybe in Abeche. Let's hope so.
I've worked in Darfur & in Chad and in both places the paperwork is fairly serious... The Authorisation de Circuler has to be made in N'Djamena as far as I understand, and it will be checked and stamped everywhere...
Both Darfur & E Chad are under regionalised control, so you would have to deal with a collection of local authorities who don't necessarily follow national rules, so you have to get clearance from the local Governors, Police & National Security in Darfur, and the Governors, Sultans, and Prefets in Chad.
It is your responsibility on arriving at each town to find out who you have to present your papers to, and then find them, everyone will know you are there and if you fail to track down the people you are supposed to get stamps from you will be in trouble, even though they won't ever be in their office!
Just because one authority in a town gives you permission doesn't mean that the others approve - especially in Darfur there is often a state of warfare between different authorities (we had a big gunfight in 2009 when the National Security tried to assassinate the Governor in one place!) so just because for example the Governor says you can travel in an area doesn't mean that you will be able to get past the checkpoints of National Security...
Also in both locations you will find that the authorities would be extremely worried about the risk of you disappearing on their patch. Generally I found that in Chad the authorities were very helpful, but wanted to provide armed escorts everywhere because of the embarrassment they would suffer if you disappeared in their area, even though actually the place was relatively safe. This would mean that even if you were able to enter Chad you would have to rent a car and driver in order to then be accompanied by the escort!
I haven't been in Darfur since 2009 but it was certainly rather insecure then - I spent a week in Zalingei (a small town in W Darfur) and on each day a UN vehicle was car-jacked at gunpoint from the town - the thieves used to park in the main marketplace in a Land Cruiser pickup and wait for a 4x4 to drive past, then just take it away at gunpoint...
Sorry if that sounds a bit negative, but it really isn't very practical to try to travel round Darfur by hitching... the local trucks travel in armed convoys of hundreds of trucks at a time, it's not just the foreigners in Darfur who are concerned about their security!
If you manage to get a Permit de Circuler for Chad then you can certainly travel around the country by public transport - there are trucks and truck/buses which would be very cheap (and slow!) but you would have to give a good reason for wanting to travel in Chad in order to get your permit... You wouldn't want to get there and then be stuck in N'Djamena, it's really not a fun city!
In summary, rather than trying to cross Darfur and then get over the border into Chad it would be much better to go to Chad direct, with a good reason for traveling around - research, writing a book etc... and travel within Chad. It won't be cheap but it will be interesting!
Here are some photos from both Darfur & Chad picasaweb.google.com/tonyemergency
Not completely on topic but thought i'd add this link I found recently: Lake Chad route via NDJ from Cameroon to Niger in Jan 2012.
Not heard of that being done for some time but all went well it seems (they even took time out for an Ennedi tour).
May become more pertinent for the Congo route the way Nigeria is going.
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