Zakouma Adventure

In the south of Chad, the Zakouma National Park is one of Africa’s best-kept wildlife secrets. A little known park, in a little known country, it is home to huge numbers of iconic wildlife species. On our Zakouma Adventure, we take you to a natural paradise in the very heart of Africa.

Setting out from N’Djamena we cross the Sahel, travelling through the region of Guera with its impressive inselberg scenery. We stop in villages en route to meet with local communities who follow traditional lifestyles, almost untouched by the modern world. In Zakouma itself we spend our days on game drives, setting out early in the morning to give ourselves the best chance of spotting animals on the move.

We’ll search for the huge herds of elephants that live here, keeping an eye open for predators such as lion and leopard. Game viewing here gives East Africa stiff competition, but with a fraction of the visitors, you are likely to have sightings all to yourself.

This is not a luxury East African safari. Rather it offers superb opportunities for authentic wildlife encounters in a hidden corner of the continent. Zakouma National Park offers visitors a true wilderness experience and an unbeatable sensation of true off the beaten track travel.

Itinerary Chad-Zakouma 1

Highlights

  • Off the beaten track safari
  • Look for vast herds of elephants
  • Fantastic bird life
  • Remote Sahelian villages

Day 1 - N’Djamena

Arrive in N’Djamena and transfer to the hotel. Depending on when you arrive there may be time to explore, or you can simply relax at the hotel and prepare for your adventure. Overnight Hotel Ibis or similar.

N’Djamena

Formerly known as Fort Lamy, Chad’s capital sits on the banks of the Chari River facing Cameroon and is the largest city in the country. Founded by the French at the turn of the 20th century, it has grown from a town with a population of around ten thousand in the 1930s to something approaching a million now. Over the years it has seen its fair share of conflict, largely destroyed during the civil war of the 80s and stormed by rebel forces in 2008. Its wide boulevards were once flanked with trees, but these were cut down to deprive attackers of covers, and only in recent years did its dusty streets become paved.

Devoid of traditional sights, N’Djamena is home to a large and sprawling central market which is interesting to explore, and also contains the National Museum with a collection of prehistoric artefacts from the surrounding area. It is also the most ethnically diverse place in Chad, with people from both the southern and northern ethnic groups as well as Lebanese, European and more recently Chinese populations.

Days 2-3 - Guera – Zakouma National Park

Drive to Zakouma, south-east of N’Djamena, crossing the region of Guera with its striking granite inselbergs and different ethnic groups. In the afternoon of Day 3, you arrive at Zakouma National Park and your lodge, situated on the banks of a river in the heart of the park. Day 2 – overnight camping, Day 3 – Tinga Lodge. (BLD)


Day 4-6 - Zakouma National Park

Three days to explore Zakouma National Park in search of its wildlife. Excursions will be made on foot and by vehicle, and we will also visit some of the villages close to the park. Overnight Tinga Lodge. (BLD)

Zakouma National Park

Zakouma is an African success story. Decimated by poaching during Chad’s numerous periods of conflicts, wildlife levels diminished enormously but in recent years an EU funded programme has enabled key species such as elephants to be better protected. Elephant populations are starting to recover, and other species to be found here include cheetah, leopard, lion, buffalo and giraffe, with plans to reintroduce black rhino in coming years.

The landscape here is varied – rocky outcrops, riverine forest and plains make up a variety of habitats for the species that live here. Birdlife is particularly good, due to Zakouma’s position on migration routes from southern Africa to Europe, with ground hornbills, waterfowl and large nesting colonies of bee-eaters.

The biggest draw here is the elephants. Once numbering almost 5000, poaching has taken its toll and the herd now stands at around 450 but unusually they all congregate together, meaning that this is one of the largest herds in Africa. The efforts of the park staff and rangers have meant that over recent years the population has started to grow again.

Zakouma offers a true wilderness experience and game viewing here rivals the better-known parks in East Africa – but with a fraction of the visitors, you are likely to have sightings all to yourself.

Days 7-8 - Guera – N’Djamena

Leave Zakouma and head north through savannah to the village of Mongo, situated in a hilly area dominated by the 1500m Mount Guedi. Explore local villages en route back to N’Djamena, where day use rooms are available for you to freshen up before transferring to the airport for your flight. Day 7 – overnight camping. (Day 7 – BLD, Day 8 – BL)


We arrive back in N’Djamena in the afternoon of the final day and you should not book any departure flight before the evening.

Giraffes in Zakouma National Park - Chad tours and holidays
Elephant in Zakouma National Park - Chad tours and holidays
Villagers close to Zakouma National Park - Chad tours and holidays

What's included?

  • Airport transfers

    We include arrival and departure transfers regardless of whether you book flights yourself, or we book them for you. If you’re booking them yourself, then please let us know the details so that we can arrange the transfers. However, if you are arriving apart from the main group (on Air France flights) there may be an additional transfer charge.

  • Accommodation

    Accommodation as listed in the dossier. The nature of the destinations that we operate may sometimes mean that we need to change hotels, but we’ll always endeavour to keep the same standards. Please be aware that as we operate in many countries where tourism is in its infancy, hotel standards may not be the same as you’re used to elsewhere.

  • Guides

    Accompanied by an English speaking guide

  • Meals

    As listed within the itinerary / dossier (B-Breakfast, L-Lunch, D-Dinner). These will vary from trip to trip – in some areas it makes sense to include all meals while in others there is a good choice of restaurants and we feel people might like to ‘do their own thing’ now and again.

  • Entrance fees

    Entrance fees are listed for those sites that we mention within the itinerary. If there are any other sites that you’d like to see, these would be at your own expense.

What's not included?

  • Visas

    We don’t arrange visas for our travellers, but if an invitation letter is necessary then we will arrange this for you. If you need any advice with visas then just give us a call, or alternatively, a visa agency such as Travcour can assist.

  • International flights

    Many of our travellers arrive from different destinations and so we don’t include international flights in the cost of our tours. If however, you would like us to book flights for you, then just give us a call and we’ll be happy to discuss your options.

  • Travel Insurance

    If you need any assistance with this, then let us know – although we can’t arrange it ourselves we can point you in the direction of a reputable provider that can assist.

Visas

All travellers will require a visa to enter Chad, which must be obtained before travel. Most travellers will also need an invitation letter, which we will provide if requested. Visa regulations can change however and so we recommend that you contact your nearest embassy for the most up to date information.

Health and vaccinations

We are not medically qualified and so we recommend that you speak to your doctor or nearest health professional for advice concerning recommended vaccinations. For more advice on vaccinations, you can also visit www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk.

Please note that Yellow Fever is a compulsory vaccination for entering Chad and you must bring your vaccination certificate with you, otherwise you may not be allowed to enter.

Insurance

It is a condition of joining our tours that you have suitable travel insurance in place, and we cannot accept travellers without insurance. All policies differ in terms of what they will cover, but as a minimum you need medical and health cover, which will cover you for the whole time that you are away. Most policies will also include cancellation cover, which will cover you if an unforeseen circumstance obliges you to cancel your trip. We recommend that you obtain your insurance as soon as you book your trip.

Please note that government travel warnings often affect the validity of your travel insurance, and you should check this with your insurance company.

Money

The local currency in Chad is the Central African CFA, a currency that is shared with many other countries in the region. It is not, however, the same as the West African CFA, and the two are not interchangeable. It is best to bring Euros for exchange purposes as the CFA is not obtainable outside of the region.

You will not be able to change money outside of N’Djamena and so we recommend that you change money at the hotel upon arrival.

Local conditions

When travelling to some of the destinations we offer you need to bear in mind that things won’t always work here as we’re used to them working at home. Travelling in underdeveloped and untouristed destinations requires both patience and a sense of humour. There may be problems with infrastructure, attitudes may be different, and maintenance may not be as high a standard as we would always like, but this is very much part and parcel of travelling in such a place. We aim to resolve any issues as quickly as possible, and thank you for your patience.

Chad is one of our most pioneering destinations. Not only is there very little tourism here but the nature of the destination means that you should be prepared for challenging conditions. Outside of the capital very few hotels or accommodation options exist – in the desert these are non-existent. There are few opportunities to buy supplies en route and so we carry the majority of these with us, stocking up on fresh vegetables and fruit in the small towns that we travel through, where possible.

There are no formal bathroom facilities on our trips in Chad, although on many nights you will be provided with water for washing, depending on how far we are from any wells and how much water we have used that day. Priority is given to drinking water, which is drawn from wells and treated with a sterilizing agent to make it safe to drink.

Our trips in Chad travel to some of the most remote parts of the Sahara, and it is essential that you appreciate what this entails before booking a trip. We cannot promise home comforts or luxuries and if you expect these, then Chad probably isn’t the right destination for you. However, if you are prepared for sometimes challenging conditions, then Chad offers an adventure that is difficult to match through some of the most untouched, traditional and isolated corners of Africa.

Travel advice

We keep a very close eye on the travel advice issued by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office so that we can keep you up to date with any warnings. At the time of writing the FCO advises against travel to all parts of Chad.

We work very closely with our local team and are fully confident that we can operate tours safely in Chad. Should you have any concerns over safety please do not hesitate to contact us and we can address your concerns.

This relates to advice from the British government – other nationalities need to check the stance of their own governments.

Giraffes in Zakouma National Park - Chad tours and holidays
Elephant in Zakouma National Park - Chad tours and holidays
Villagers close to Zakouma National Park - Chad tours and holidays
Date(s)
Price (PP) Exc. Flights
Single Supplement
Trip Status
Date -
06 February 2022
Price (PP) -
£3,199
Single Supplement -
£260
Trip Status -
Available