Chad has always been someplace where travellers wave goodbye to their comfort zone and say hello to adventure. Put simply, Chad is a country and an experience that visitors never forget. If Ghana and Gambia are Africa for beginners, Chad is Africa for the hardcore. At the moment terrorism and violence – by Boko Haram in the south, and from conflict spilling over from in Libya in the north – has put the dampeners on even the most ambitious travel adventures here – it is simply considered too unsafe to visit.
Even when at peace, travel here is tough. Many of the roads are broken due to years of conflict and lack of maintenance. There are few comfortable hotels and there is plenty of bureaucracy and demands for cadeaux (gifts) to negotiate. Added to that, the summer heat is mind-melting, travel costs can be astronomical and the security situation remains unpredictable.
So why ever bother, you may ask? Well, we could list the sublime oases lost in the northern deserts, tell you about the stampeding herds of wildlife in the national parks or the deep blue lure of a boat trip on Lake Chad. But let's be honest about it, these things alone aren't why people come to Chad. Chad offers an opportunity to break emphatically with a comfortable Western world and come to a place that promises experiences, good and bad, that you'll be recalling forever.