Things To Do In N’djamena
N’djamena is the capital city of Chad and located right in the heart of North Africa. Although it is completely surrounded by land, part of a huge lake lies within its borders. This is Lake Chad, which teems with fish and changes in size seasonally as it dries out or fills up with rain. This southern part of N’Djamena is moist and fertile, with tropical forest and cotton plantations. This is the only area of the nation that is able to support crops. A belt of dusty savanna spreads across the center providing sparse pasture for roaming cattle. The official language is Arabic and French.
During the capital city’s early history, the most powerful empire was Kanem- Bornu, established to the northeast of Lake Chad in the 1500s. The Kanem Bornu regularly plundered the southern part of the city, seizing the Sara people who lived there and exporting them as slaves. The descendants of the Kanem Bornu are today’s Muslims of the north. Chad was a French colony from 1920 to 1960, the clash between the north, which is Islamic, and the south which mostly follows Christian or traditional beliefs and has fueled the almost continuous civil war.
When To Go:
The perfect time to tour the city of N’Djamena is during the winter season on the grounds that it is clod and drier. The temperatures range from 120° F or 49° Celsius from November to May and there is barely any precipitation. The temperature has a tendency to climb up to 55° centigrade sometimes amid summer making travel uncomfortable. June to September likewise implies substantial downpours making the streets just about closed and not the best time to travel and see it. In fact weather is so worse during this summer season that people are usually driven from their homes and gather at a temporary settlement because dust storm rages during this time. Since the 1960s, a series of droughts has left much land unproductive and many families starving and homeless.
These are the popular things to do in the city of N’Djamena…
Lake Chad is a vital resource on this poor country. Here, camels that have traveled across the searing desert quench their thirst drinking up to 26 gallons (100 liters) in ten minutes. In deeper waters, fishermen work with their nets thrown from canoes made of woven papyrus stalks. This is the crossing of Lake Chad, which is also the main source of water for all the countries encompassed by its presence.
If you go by November, you can see the edges of the lake filled with sellers of sugar cane sold at very cheap price. The lake has a crocodile area, and if you are daring enough you can go there by boat to the center of the lake.
Musee National N'Djamena (National Museum)
It is here inside the halls of the Musee National N'Djamena (National Museum) that you will learn so much about the interesting and colorful history of Chad and N’Dajamena. Visiting the museum is a mandatory part of the excursion program. There are many interesting exhibits related to the history of Chad. You can also a wide variety of masks and ceremonial ornaments and garments. This museum is a place of wonderful art, artifacts, handicraft selection and history of the country towards independence. Be sure to visit this place while in N’Dajamena.
The National Museum in Chad is also an excursion into Chad’s culture in the event that you have an evening free and are nearby the city of N’Dajamena. The gallery has recently moved its collection to a recently constructed building that stands on the edge of town that will very soon serve as the national library. The cost of entry is 3500 Francs for outsiders and 300 Francs for the Chadians. A tour guide can be availed (French and English talking). If you still have time you must go to the second floor and see the preserved skull of the Toumai man that is proudly displayed there, it is said to be one of the oldest skeletons in the world.
In the event that you don't have anything to do in N'Djamena and need to take a few pictures in a city where outdoor photography is not allowed, this exhibition hall is the best spot to go if you want good pictures and know the story of the city’s creation. The ground floor highlights the things about Chadian history and humanities. The subtitles are all in French however one could think about what they speak to. A portion of the things are non specific and not unique (e.g., photographs of verifiable occasions) however there are a couple of ancient devices and veils which are fascinating. Little of the shows convey extravagant subtitles or foundation stories that would help one look into Chad. One may be totally lost if one does not have some essential learning of Chadian history or society. The second level has some characteristic history displays and the best displays at the gallery. It is along the path of the Old City, and one of the major attractions that is worth seeing when in N’Dajamena. While it may seem a long way from a customary museum, it holds some fascinating curios and discusses more about the Chad society in general.
Avenue Charles de Gaulle
The Avenue Charles de Gaulle is where you can find the Café Armandine or the French food restaurant that is just two doors down and probably the only decent localities with this prominent avenue. In N’Dajamena, it is worth going there to descend quickly - to enjoy in Armandine a croissant and a coffee, and observe the basic routine of Chadians that are there. You will notice that this not so rich city is making an effort to show what their city can offer. Right now it has not much to see and do and attractions to explore but to see the row of good restaurants here in the Avenue of Charles de Gaulle. However, there is a sandwich called in French cuisine called "jambon beurre", “ jambon fromage” or just to have a croissant necessarily - in the midst of an African city, to enjoy the French charm in its original style that is exceptional and makes you savor the simple environment for a while.
The Charles de Gaulle avenue is a must see place when you’re in N'Djamena It has several restaurants where you can eat in a healthy way. If you look around it is where most of the important government offices can be found as well as local and commercial establishments that focus on food, drinks, relaxation, shopping, flight offices, tourism center, post office, museums, parks, and medical facilities. Most of the restaurants here offer the best French cuisine food plus the service is professional and dedicated. The Charles de Gaulle avenue is the only place for a night out in town in an almost safe atmosphere. There are restaurants run by locals where you can eat for 30-40 Euros per meal. Though it is safe to walk around the area, for security purposes tourists are often advised to avoid walking in the street with obvious signs of wealth (watch, chain, bracelet, camera, and mobile) to avoid getting mugged.
Grand Marche (Central Market)
The Grand Marchè (Central Market) is certainly an interesting attraction, but to visit with care, and normally recommended by the embassy information for a visit is that you be accompanied by a Chadian carefully and to avoid being in a group, which inevitably ends up attracting too much attention. Since there is not much attraction or major tourist site in the capital city of Chad, it is pretty much the only thing to see in N'Djamena. There are also organized tours that you must be accompanied by the locals, because they run on its own and it is not recommended though apparently it's all pretty safe. The Market is made up of a series of tents huddled where the Chadian traders are selling a bit 'of everything (local stuff of course) and if you want something handmade original is the place.
The only downside is if you don’t know how to haggle you will end up paying five times more for a certain item, it is why a local Chadian must accompany you on a visit to the Grand Marche of N’djamena because some sellers take advantage of the traveler’s ignorance of the actual value.
Nevertheless, It is an interesting experience when looking for a change of scenery. But this market is the same as other markets in Africa, where you can see all the merchants who push all their products in the hope that you will buy. Just the same, always go with a native in order not to make mistakes. It is a common sight to see women selling cornmeal on this market. Farmers have to sell their crops locally since it is so difficult to transport materials and produce across the city. There are no railroads or huge highways here, only unpaved stretches of long, arid, and dusty roads.
Zakouma National Park
The Zakouma National Park is a fabulous complex nestled around the Salamat River. It is located within the borders of Chad, the Central African Republic and Sudan. It stands close to Am Timan and the reserve is home to a unique flora and fauna of the nation. Unfortunately, the elephants have been decimated by poachers but it remains to observe a variety of wildlife in a protected site. The travel here is worth all the time and money, plus you get to meet the amazing people behind this conservation project. Be sure to visit this park when in Chad.
Today and all over Africa, conservation and protection of animals in the wild against local poachers is an endless battle and the devotion and courage of the individuals who battle for what is left of Africa's wild can't be downplayed. The uplifting news is that here in Zakouma National Park at any rate, the war is consistently won. And for a longer time as long as the people and the staff behind this cause work together for their worthy cause. A visit to the park will leave you impressed with both their concerned efforts to save the elephants from these heartless poachers in the wild. The park is strategically placed in the southeastern part and outskirt of the city, the travel is long and dreary but the reward is great. It reaches a range of about 3,000 kilometers of journey into the wealth the park can offer. It is one of the last fortresses for Central African untamed life and a position of astonishing excellence; an immeasurable, level plain confused by wandering occasional watercourses that is mixed with rough slopes.
It is likewise a position of true wealth of nature, and it is maybe for this same reason why this makes it so amazing. Groups or herds of 8,000+ of dark cranes, groups of more than 11 colored quelea, sparrows excessively various to check and a lot of diversion, much of it surprising on the migratory bird areas. Expansive groups of red and tan bison (a moderate structure between the North African rare species) prowl the idyllic landscape, running giraffes, roaming gazelle, hippos and a group of other pronghorn species dot the fields. Lions excessively are various and you can even have this rare chance of having an uncommon and mystical experience with a panther as you go through the swamp with a huge stack of crocodiles heaped around a contracting waterhole.
This full safari adventure can go on and on to discover more of the wild and this can only be seen in N’Djamena, Chad. Make sure you have enough time to see the entire wildlife spectacle from start to finish. It is one the special adventure and things to do in N’Djamena that is worth all the time, money, and effort.
You can manage to stay outdoors under plastic mosquito nets on its forest grounds where none had wandered in the recent past. You can also stroll for a considerable length of time with the various elephant groups, now numbering nearly 650 and an indication of both past catastrophe from poachers and a hope for new breeds and species from this batch. It is the best safari adventure you will ever experience in North African side. It is not built for everyone though, but only for adventurous people who long for the Africa with a safe and secured environment.
Abeche Crafts Shop
The local people of N’Djamena, Chad make incredible artworks and handicrafts. For excellent camel hair floor coverings, rugs and carpets, gems, weaved cotton materials, earthenware, designed calabashes and metal frameworks, head to the vivid nearby market in the capital, N'djamena, which is open from 8:00 AM until sunset. The Abeche Crafts Shop lies close to the fringe with Nigeria and is the best place to purchase calf skin or cow hide merchandise. The designated shopping days that they are only allowed to open is from Tuesday to Saturday.
It is about 750km northeast the capital city and close to the outskirt with Sudan. The town itself is not always visited by travelers because there is nothing much to do and see, however, it remains an incredible spot to purchase unique calfskin crafted works, old furniture and decorative household items, and local crafts about jewelry and beads.
The Tibesti Mountains have a notoriety for being both lovely and perilous and aren't not difficult to access because of its proximity to the national road and highways of Chad. However, flying out to this surprising area of banks and holes is not prescribed right now for mountaineers and even locals because of the innumerable number of landmines planted on purpose by dissident and rebel groups.
Cote Jardin Restaurant
To explore the food of N’Djamena go to Cote Jardin Restaurant, it is a new air-conditioned restaurant that is now open daily for lunch and every evening except Monday. The greenery is unique in the city center of N'Djamena and with a nice decor. The staff is courteous and the side bar is loaded with cocktail drinks.
The new menu offers a wide choice which combines African and European food specialties. Everything is delicious, the service has become much faster than before. The prices are very good compared to the competition. Definitely, it is the best address for good cuisine in N'Djamena today.
N'djamena extends for a few kilometers along the north bank of the Chari River. The street along the waterway, don't give decent perspectives at the stream in light of the numerous structures between this street and the waterway. The spot to be in N'djamena, from where you have an awesome perspective at the Chari River, is the patio of the le Meridien, while you are drinking beer or having cocktails.
A standout amongst the most striking structures in the city centre is the Grandee Mosque. From far you can see the high minarets, so this mosque is an essential milestone to discover Islamic history of N’Djamena. Muslims here celebrate independence from France with an annual procession. Since independence, Chad has suffered from conflict between northerners and south westerners. Different political groups have also clashed.
Although remote as it positively is – getting to N’Djamena is more difficult than numerous sites in Africa, however once you are there you have the benefit of being in the place where not so many travelers have spend time or visited recently. This is the absolute opposite of common places for tourism. You can be the only ones taking or being on the safari of Chad and have the freedom and flexibility to investigate in ways that not very many cities can offer in today's undeniably rebel threatened part of North Africa.