Location: Central Africa
• Capital: N'Djamena
• Language: French, Chadian Arabic
• Population: 10,535,856
• Total Area: 1,284,000 sq km
• Currency: CFA Franc
• Curious Alcohol Fact: Although Chad has a sizable Muslim population, Gala beer is widely consumed, especially in the southern parts.
• Annual Average Liquor Consumption Per Capita: 4.38 liters
• Most Popular Drink: Karkanji, Gala
Chad Travel Video:
Like its neighbouring Central African Republic, Chad is also a landlocked country in Central Africa. One of the largest countries in Africa, Chad is sparsely populated and a vast majority of the people are farmers. In the southern part of the country, the principal crop cultivated is cotton while animal husbandry is the major activity in the central region. One of the most important physical features in the country is Lake Chad, a freshwater lake that supports over 30 million people in Chad and neighboring countries like Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon. Lake Chad is one of the largest lakes on the continent.
The People (Chadians)
There are more than 200 ethnic groups in Chad, and this is a trend that I observed in many other African nations. Some of these are Arabs, Hadjarai, Toubou, Sara and the Ouaddaia. More than half of the population follow the Islamic faith while others are adherents of Christianity, animism and the Baha’i faith. However, the interesting thing is that many people add a blend of traditional African religion to their faiths. Arabic is widely spoken but there are different dialects as that of the nomadic Arabs is quite different from that of the settled Arabs. Other languages are French, Mundang and Sara Madjingay.
While I was in the capital (N'djamena), I was able to visit restaurants that served continental and intercontinental dishes. French meals were available although on the expensive side. However, when I went to the hinterland, I ate a different meal –rice with peanut sauce. In places around the Lake Chad, I developed a liking for the broiled fish and even bought some dried stock fish (called banda) for friends. You really have to taste the stockfish to appreciate what the Chadians have been enjoying for years.
It is advisable not to ask for alcohol in the predominantly northern part unless you are traveling with an experienced local who can always get you a bottle of Gala beer, which is regarded as the national drink. There is also the karkanji and is made from the juice of hibiscus flowers. European wines and drinks are easily purchased in the capital and getting them in the rural areas may not be an easy task and is usually expensive if you are lucky to stumble upon one.
Sites of Attraction in Chad
Of all the places I visited in this beautiful country, there is one site that will always stand out –Lake Chad. Perhaps owing to the fact that the country is landlocked, many Chadians prefer to flock to Lake Chad so as to escape the scorching heat of the hinterland. In the settlements around the lake, I came across Fulani nomads rearing Zebu and Kuri cattle. On a boat ride over the lake, I caught glimpse of graceful birds –ostriches, hornbills, Nubian bustard and the marabou stork. The lake is truly a tourist’s paradise.
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Special thanks to our contributors:
Adebayo Ahmed Adebola (Ilorin, Nigeria)
Daniel Krasnopolsky (Woodmere, NY, USA)
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