Lake chad Travel Guide

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Lake Chad may conjure up an image of a sweet lake lined with palm trees. That image is far from reality. The lake is drying up and has half of its pre-1960s. The hippos that were once common along the shores have begun to disappear.

Touring Lake Chad is not very convenient, nor easy. Although its southern end is less than 100 km northwest of N’Djamena the interesting parts require a 300 km drive from the capital. There you can see traditional fishing and reed boats. Thor Heyerdahl used a crew from the area to build his reed ship Ra, based on Egyptian tomb art and the local reed boats to sail across the Atlantic. Halfway across the crew of the Ra (not the Chadian crew) cut a crutial line (see Getting Around). The expedition was not completed. Heyerdahl built a second reed boat with the same Chadian crew, the Ra2, and successfully completed his voyage to South America.

Lake Chad is located in Africa. 

Lake Chad is generally seen as a long and tiring day trip from N’Djamena or you can camp in Bol on the lake (there’s no lodging). It’s best to get a four-wheel-drive vehicle to negotiate the deep sand along the lakeshore.

Note: Don’t wade or swim in the lake—bilharzia (parasites that cause schistosomiasis) are present in the water.