Lake Chad was once one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world. Its dry season area of under 10,000 sq km can rise to 25,000 sq km at the height of the rains; however, it is slowly drying up and even vanished during the worst of the Sahel drought in 1984. Its slow disappearance is creating problems for, and conflicts between, fishermen and farmers.

A finger of the lake reaches Bol year-round, and trade with Nigeria has made this small town relatively prosperous. To get out on the lake (best done Nov-Feb) and see floating islands, massive numbers of birds and maybe hippos, hire a boat down at the port.