Ennedi Plateau, Chad

Photo: Dario Menasce at the English language Wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Dario Menasce at the English language Wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
African travel has drastically changed in the past few decades. For years, it was the North African countries—like Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco—that received most of the visitors, due to their close proximity to Europe. They were followed by  luxury accommodations in places like Mozambique and Kenya. Cape Town then became everyone’s favorite city. Now Namibia, Angola, and Gabon are attracting adventurous travelers. So what’s left? What hasn’t been cleaned up to appeal to Western tourists?

Chad receives very few visitors. The landlocked country in Central Africa is known for its poverty, violent coups, and corruption. The roads are poorly maintained. Hotels and restaurants are nonexistent. The heat is oppressive. While only extremely determined globetrotters have explored the rugged landscape. But those who have walk away with amazing stories.

The Ennedi Plateau, in northeastern Chad, is one of the country’s most unbelievable places. The massive sandstone wall is surrounded by the endless Sahara. The area is nearly impassable; four-wheel drive vehicles can only go so far. But within the rocks, there are deep valleys, rock formations, hidden pools of water, and interesting animals. Odd-shaped archways, many still unnamed, reach up to 100 feet high. Petroglyphs are etched on rocks like Niola Doa. Camels flock—by the hundreds—to Guelta d’Archei, a rare waterhole. While desert crocodiles, scimitar-horned oryx, and possibly Ennedi tigers live in the harsh environment.

For now, you can only look at photos of the amazing—truly amazing—Ennedi Plateau. Chad isn’t ready for an influx of tourists yet. Hopefully, one day, it will be. Just don’t make it too squeaky clean.

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