Camels in the mountain deserts of Chad
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Camels in the mountain deserts of Chad

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Chad Travel Guide

Key Facts
Area

1,284,000 sq km (495,800 sq miles).

Population

14,496,739 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density

9.1 per sq km.

Capital

N’Djamena.

Government

Republic.

Head of state

Chairman of the Transitional Military Council: Mahamat Idriss Déby since April 2021.

Electricity

220 volts AC, 50Hz. Plugs with two round pins are standard.

From the natural wonders of the Sahara Desert and Lake Chad to the tribal culture and hospitality that flourishes across the country, Chad quietly gets on with creating unforgettable experiences, while the rest of the world looks on unaware.

With a predominantly rural population, urban life is restricted to N’Djamena, the capital. As Chad’s commercial hub it attracts people from over 200 different ethnic groups. The result is a diverse set of social structures rubbing alongside one another and stark contrasts between the capital’s modernist heart and the ancient ways of nomadic tribespeople such as the Tuareg and Toubou.

Ethnicity remains far more important than Chadian identity and tribes hold dear a rich cultural heritage that remains largely unchanged by time or the outside world.

Chad’s prehistoric cave paintings, found amid gnarled rock formations in the Sahara Desert, document the existence of large animals in the region for millennia, so it is therefore unsurprising that even today the country is home to some of Africa’s most iconic species, including elephant, rhino, giraffe, leopard and lion.

Birdsong, made all the sweeter by the desert landscape, is near constant in the hidden palm-fringed oases of the Sahara, while the clear blue waters of Lake Chad form the second largest wetland in Africa and an important source of water for not only birds but reptiles and larger mammals too.

Whether it is to experience the solitude of the Sahara, seek out the hospitality of the Tuareg or witness animals surviving in the one of the most extreme landscapes on Earth, Chad offers hardy travellers an extraordinary experience. It may be nicknamed the “dead heart of Africa,” but as anyone who knows this country will tell you, that moniker couldn’t be further from the truth.

Travel Advice

Coronavirus travel health

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Chad on the TravelHealthPro website

See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

International travel

As of 5 July 2021, there is no longer a ban (related to the Alpha variant of COVID-19) on travellers from the UK entering Chad. All international travellers need to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate dated no more than 72 hours prior to arrival in Chad. As of 5 July 2021, travellers arriving by air will have their temperatures taken and be required to take an antigen or RT-PCR test at the airport before entering town. There will be a charge of 20,000 FCFA (40 US Dollars or 30 Euros) for this test.

If you enter Chad and are planning to stay for 7 days or more, you will also need to take a COVID-19 PCR test on the seventh day.

As of 5 July 2021, holders of Chadian COVID-19 vaccination certificates, indicating that they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in Chad, may be exempt from some or all of these requirements.

Entry and borders

See Entry Requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in Chad.

Returning to the UK

When you return, you must follow the rules for entering the UK.

You are responsible for organising your own COVID-19 test, in line with UK government testing requirements.

Be prepared for your plans to change

No travel is risk-free during COVID. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.

If you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to stay where you are until you test negative. You may also need to seek treatment there.

Plan ahead and make sure you:

  • can access money
  • understand what your insurance will cover
  • can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned

Travel in Chad

Quarantine and curfew measures

The Government has extended the health emergency, which includes measures such as the compulsory wearing of face masks in indoor public spaces. There are penalties, including potential imprisonment, for non-compliance.

Healthcare in Chad

For contact details for doctors visit our list of healthcare providers.

Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health

View Health for further details on healthcare in Chad.

See also the guidance on healthcare if you’re waiting to return to the UK.

COVID-19 vaccines if you live in Chad

We will update this page when the Government of Chad announces new information on the national vaccination programme. You can sign up to get email notifications when this page is updated.

The Chad national vaccination programme started in June 2021 in N’Djamena, Abeché and Moundou and is using the Pfizer-BioNTech and Sinopharm vaccines. The Government of Chad has stated that British nationals resident in Chad are able to receive the vaccination if they choose to join the programme. Vaccine sites include: l’Hôpital de la Renaissance, CHU Référence Nationale, CHU de la Mère et de l’Enfant, le CHU Bon Samaritan, l’Hôpital de l’Amitié Tchado-Chine, l’Hôpital d’Instruction Militaire, l’Hôpital Provincial de Farcha, et le Centre International de Vaccination. We have been advised that prospective vaccine recipients should arrive at a vaccine site with a photo identification and two (2) photos. Contact your local healthcare provider for further information on Chad’s vaccination programme.

To find out more, including about vaccines that are authorised in the UK or approved by the World Health Organisation, on the COVID-19 vaccines if you live abroad.

If you’re a British national living in Chad, you should seek medical advice from your local healthcare provider. Information about COVID-19 vaccines used in the national programme where you live, including regulatory status, should be available from local authorities.

Finance

For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.

Further information

If you need urgent consular assistance, contact your nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate. All telephone numbers are available 24/7.

Political situation

On 20 April, the Chadian army announced the death of President Déby, increasing risk of instability in the capital N’Djamena and the wider country. A Transitional Military Council was established to govern Chad.

On Sunday 11 April, an armed convoy belonging to the rebel group “Le front pour l’alternance et la concorde au Tchad” (FACT) crossed into north-western Chad from Libya, and engaged in fighting with government forces. On Saturday 17 April, the rebel convoy moved south west, passing the town of Faya. The convoy appeared to be heading towards the capital, N’Djamena. Additionally, a separate FACT convoy was seen approaching the town of Mao from the north.

Since the Chadian Presidential Election on 11 April, tensions have remained high. On 27 April, there were violent clashes between protesters and security forces in N’Djamena and southern Chad. A number of people were killed, with reports of live ammunition having been used against demonstrators. On 2 May a number of people were wounded when security forces reportedly used live ammunition against demonstrators in southern Chad.

Land and air borders are open. You should exercise extra vigilance and caution, and avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings of people. If you become aware of any nearby protests leave the area immediately. You should keep informed of developments through local media.

Crime

The number of reports of car-jackings on roads outside N’Djamena has increased, including during daylight hours. You should use a police or military escort when driving outside the capital, and carry working communications equipment.

Armed robberies, particularly from cars, in some residential areas of N’Djamena are common. Foreigners are sometimes targeted.

Be vigilant and take particular care in the capital. Travel by car and not by foot or motorbike. Keep doors locked and windows closed. Do not carry large sums of money, jewellery, or other valuables. Avoid isolated or less developed areas of towns and do not travel alone at night.

Local travel

There are around 572,000 refugees and returnees in Chad from Sudan, Central African Republic and Nigeria, in the east, south, and Lake (western) regions of Chad respectively. There are also around 236,000 internally displaced people in the Lake region, where military operations have increased resulting in more displacements since March and a state of emergency remains in place.

Chad and Sudan have agreed to enhance the role of the joint border force but banditry and violent crime in eastern Chad still exist. Inter-communal clashes in West Darfur State have led to a new flow of refugees crossing into Chad in late December 2019 and January 2020. The number of Sudanese refugees following this influx is around 363,000.

The border between Chad and Central African Republic has been closed and instability in neighbouring Central African Republic remains concerning. The border with Sudan is subject to closure at little notice.

The area bordering Libya is heavily land-mined. The northern regions of Borkou, Ennedi and Tibesti remain unsafe.

Road travel

Road travel can be dangerous due to the state of the roads and quality of driving. Accidents involving motorbikes are particularly common. Crowds can quickly gather around the scene of an accident and, while rarely violent, can be intimidating. Try to make contact with the police or other local authority immediately if you’re involved in an accident.

For travel outside the capital, you will need authorisation from the Ministry of the Interior, which is normally granted without difficulty after a few days. Roads are poor and often impassable during the rainy season (July-October), especially in the south. Heavy rains can result in major flooding in many areas, particularly in the south and east.

You should travel in convoy, keep doors locked and carry spare fuel and supplies. Police checkpoints are common: you may be asked to show your passport, driving licence and vehicle registration documents. Do not travel by road after dark.

You should avoid using at night the road passing in front of the Presidential Palace in N’Djamena. In 3 separate incidents in March 2019, 2 motorists were killed, and a motorcyclist shot, by Palace guards.

Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Chad.

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out more about the global threat from terrorism.

Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by foreigners like restaurants, bars, markets, hotels, shopping centres and places of worship.

You should avoid places where there are political or other large public gatherings. Be vigilant, remain alert and pay attention to your surroundings at all times. You should follow local news reports and be alert to developments.

Following the terrorist attacks on hotels in Bamako (Mali) and Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) in November 2015 and January 2016, in which a number of people were killed, it’s possible that terrorist groups including Boko Haram and Ansaru will try to carry out similar attacks in Chad.

There have been numerous attacks by armed elements in the Lake Chad region since 2016. The terrorist group Boko Haram remains active in this region. In an attack in March 2020, Boko Haram are reported to have killed at least 92 Chadian soldiers in Boma, Lac province. Military operations are ongoing and a state of emergency remains in place.

In 2015, there were a number of terrorist attacks in the capital, N’Djamena:

  • on 11 July 2015, a suicide bomb attack at N’Djamena’s main market (Grand Marché) killed 15 people
  • on 29 June 2015, a suicide bomb in the North-Eastern Diguel district of N’Djamena caused 11 fatalities
  • on 15 June 2015, at least 27 people were killed and over 100 injured following a number of explosions in central N’Djamena

Security in the capital has been reinforced and police check points and vehicle checks are routine. There have been no subsequent terrorist attacks in N’Djamena.

Terrorist Kidnaps

There is a heightened threat of kidnap in Chad, particularly in the Lake Chad Basin and the border areas with the Far North region of Cameroon, Sudan and the Central African Republic.

Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa (ISWA) maintain an intent and capability to conduct kidnaps in Chad, and have also taken hostages from neighbouring Cameroon, northern Nigeria and the Diffa region of Niger. If you’re working or travelling in areas where there is a Boko Haram or ISWA presence, especially around the Lake Chad Basin, you should be aware of the risk of terrorist kidnapping. You should maintain a high level of vigilance at all times, including when travelling, when in crowded public places, including camps for displaced people, religious gatherings and insecure spaces like places of worship, markets, shopping malls, hotels, bars, restaurants and transport hubs. You should ensure you have carefully considered the threat and have reasonable, proportionate mitigation measures in place.

British nationals are viewed as legitimate targets, including those engaged in tourism, humanitarian aid work, journalism or business sectors. If you’re kidnapped, the reason for your presence is unlikely to serve as a protection or secure your safe release.

The long-standing policy of the British Government is not to make substantive concessions to hostage takers. The British Government considers that paying ransoms and releasing prisoners builds the capability of terrorist groups and finances their activities. This can, in turn, increase the risk of further hostage-taking. The Terrorism Act (2000) makes payments to terrorists illegal.

Terrorist groups operating in Chad

Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa (ISWA)

Boko Haram or Jama’at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da’wah wa’l-Jihad (JASDJ) is an Islamist terrorist group operating in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger. The group aspire to establish a Sharia State in Nigeria and West Africa, destabilise the Nigerian government and remove western influence from the country.

The group was formerly linked to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). On 12 March 2015, Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL) accepted a pledge of allegiance by Boko Haram. In August 2016, the group split into 2 factions: Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA) and JASDJ or Boko Haram. ISWA is affiliated with ISIS core in Iraq and Syria and has expressed an intention to target Nigerian government, Christian and western interests.

The terrorist threat in the Sahel and Lake Chad Basin

There is a very high threat of kidnapping by terrorist groups operating in the Sahel region. A number of western nationals including tourists, NGO workers and diplomats have been kidnapped in the Sahel over the last ten years, and several are still being held. Some, including several British nationals, have been killed by their captors. Those engaged in humanitarian aid work, journalism or business sectors are viewed as legitimate targets. If you’re kidnapped, the reason for your presence is unlikely to serve as a protection or secure your safe release.

There are a number of terrorist groups active in the region. These include Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen (JNIM), Islamic State West Africa (ISWA), Islamic State Greater Sahara (ISGS), Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Al Murabitoun, Ansar Dine and Boko Haram. These groups are capable of carrying out attacks and kidnaps over long distances. Kidnapping for ransom is the primary source of finance for Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen (JNIM). Criminal gangs also carry out kidnapping for terrorist groups in return for financial rewards.

Read more about the threat from terrorism in the Sahel region.

The long-standing policy of the British government is not to make substantive concessions to hostage takers. The British government considers that paying ransoms and releasing prisoners increases the risk of further hostage taking. The Terrorism Act (2000) also makes payments to terrorists illegal.

There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.

Local laws reflect the fact that Chad is a predominantly Muslim country. You should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times and be aware of your actions to ensure that they do not offend other cultures or religious beliefs, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious areas. See Travelling during Ramadan

Penalties for the use and possession of drugs are severe and usually include a prison sentence. Conditions in local prisons are harsh.

 

Homosexuality is not widely accepted in central African society. In August 2017 a new law came into force criminalising same-sex sexual activity in Chad, with penalties of imprisonment ranging from 3 months to 2 years and a fine of between 50,000 and 500,000 CFA francs. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.

Photographing of military sites, government buildings and airports is prohibited. Other photography needs a government permit.

 

You should carry identification at all times (either a residence permit or a certified copy of your passport). Failure to produce ID can lead to detention by the police, or delays should you have to leave the country.

This page reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport, for the most common types of travel.

The authorities in Chad set and enforce entry rules. For further information contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to. You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.

Entry rules in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)

Entry to Chad

As of 5 July 2021, there is no longer a ban (related to the Alpha variant of COVID-19) on travellers from the UK entering Chad.

All international travellers need to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate dated no more than 72 hours prior to arrival in Chad. As of 5 July 2021, travellers arriving by air will have their temperatures taken and be required to take an antigen or RT-PCR test at the airport before entering town. There will be a charge of 20,000 FCFA (40 US Dollars or 30 Euros) for this test.

If you enter Chad and are planning to stay for 7 days or more, you will also need to take a COVID-19 PCR test on the seventh day.

As of 5 July 2021, holders of Chadian COVID-19 vaccination certificates, indicating that they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in Chad, may be exempt from some or all of these requirements

Leaving Chad

You are likely to be asked to present a negative COVID-19 test (less than 72 hours old) upon departing Chad.

Regular entry requirements

Visas

British nationals need a visa to visit Chad. To apply for a visa contact the Chadian Embassy in Belgium at 52 Boulevard Lambermont, 1030, Brussels, Telephone: +32 2 215 1975, Fax: +32 2 216 3526, or the Chadian Embassy in France at 65 rue des Belles Feuilles, 75116, Paris, Telephone: +33 (0)1 45 53 36 75, Fax: +33 (0)1 45 53 16 09.

If your visa is valid for longer than a short visit, the immigration officer on arrival will ask you to register at the Commissariat Central (police headquarters) on Avenue General Kerim Nassour (formerly Boulevard de Strasbourg) within 3 days. You will need to provide a passport photograph.

Passport validity

Your passport must be valid for six months from the date of entry into Chad. The Chadian Government has confirmed that it will not penalise those British nationals whose passports have expired while they were unable to leave the country due to coronavirus restrictions.

Yellow fever certificate requirements

Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Chad on the TravelHealthPro website

See the healthcare information in the Coronavirus section for information on what to do if you think you have coronavirus while in Chad.

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.

General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or brought in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, check this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate
of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).

Medical treatment

Medical facilities in Chad are poor. Hospitals in N’Djamena are stretched at the best of times and sometimes affected by strikes. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

Health risks

Malaria and water-borne diseases are common. There has been a resurgence of cases of diseases e.g poliomyelitis and measles. You should drink or use only boiled or bottled water and avoid ice in drinks. Food purchased from local street vendors may not meet adequate hygiene standards.

There has been an outbreak in cases of Chikungunya in Abéché. Check the Chikungunya factsheet on the TravelHealthPro website for more information and follow the advice on avoiding mosquito bites.

According to UNAIDS, in 2018, the number of adults aged 15 or over in Chad living with HIV was estimated to be around 120,000; the prevalence percentage was estimated at around 1.3% of the adult population compared to the prevalence percentage in adults in the UK of around 0.2%. You should exercise normal precautions to avoid exposure to HIV/AIDS.

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).

Foreign travel checklist

Check our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.

Travel safety

The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we cannot provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should check the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.

When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Check how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.

Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.

Refunds and cancellations

If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or cannot offer a refund to their customers.

For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Registering your travel details with us

We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.

Previous versions of FCDO travel advice

If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you cannot find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice team a request.

Further help

If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.