Chad - 8 days
The Gerewol Festival
Prices from £2,149

One of our most pioneering Chad holidays. Each year the semi-nomadic Wodaabe people gather for a week of incredible celebrations known as the Gerewol, a colourful festival that is one of Africa’s most spectacular. Few westerners are privileged to see this, but over the years we have built up excellent local contacts, allowing us to travel to a remote part of Chad to stay with these intensely traditional people, joining them as they congregate for feasting, racing, dancing and finding lovers. The Gerewol is renowned for the way in which young Wodaabe men decorate themselves, donning make up and jewellery and ‘displaying’ to young women in search of a partner – either for life, or something less ‘permanent’…! Camping in the Sahel, we stay with the Wodaabe for several days, gaining more than just a fleeting glimpse of their lives but immersing ourselves in a culture that lives very much outside of mainstream society. The Wodaabe adhere to a complex set of traditions that stretch back centuries and across borders, but are in danger of becoming lost in the future; this is a unique opportunity to meet these unique people for a celebration of their culture that will simply take your breath away. Of all our Chad holidays, this is the most exciting for those who are fascinated in the varied ethnography of Africa, and an absolute delight for photographers – as this is essentially an elaborate and archaic beauty contest, the Wodaabe are keen to show themselves off to visitors! Whereas many people have heard of the Gerewol Festival of Niger, immortalised by Michael Palin in his ‘Sahara’ series, almost no tourists venture this far into Chad and we can expect to have a very intimate experience.

Africa is known for its festivals, but few – if any – can rival the Gerewol.