Updated January 2017
Overland access to Chad is only feasible from Cameroon.
Boko Haram operate aground Lake Chad and the Sudan border is tense, but if you can get there, the BET (far north) is safe.
CFA exchange rates
CFA (Afrique Centrale – XAF) is exchangeable 1:1 at local markets in border areas (Mao, N’Guigmi) with CFA (Afrique de l’Ouest – XAO) and in banks in Agadez, Zinder and N’Djamena.
Price of fuel
In N’Djamena: diesel 550 CFA/L, petrol 650. Up north you buy by Libyan fuel the barrel (2oo litres). Currently petrol is 125,000 Cfa/barrel in Faya and Zouar, and 75,000 in Bardai but changes on a monthly basis. Within the last year in Bardai it’s been as low as 50,000 and as high as 150,000. Diesel one imagines, a bit less.
Needed by all Europeans. Besides Bruxelles and Paris, there’s a consulate in Niamey (on the spot about 15,000 CFA) as well as Paris. You will need to present a valid Yellow Fever vaccination and if you’re flying in, a photocopy of your airline ticket.
Carnet not needed at any border. For a fee of about 5000 CFA, a ‘Laissez-Passer pour Vehicules’ will be issued at all custom border posts, including Daboua when arriving from N’Guigmi, travelling along the Lake Chad route. It is no longer mandatory to see Customs at Bol or Mao.
Registration: Tourists visiting Chad have to register at the ‘Commissariat Centrale’ in N’Djamena (30 minutes, 1 passport photo, no cost). Stamp in passport will be checked at road checkpoints.
Autorisation de Circuler: every traveller needs either an ‘Ordre de Mission’ (NGOs, companies) or an ‘Autorisation de Circuler’. This document is available free within one or two days from Ministere de l’Administration du Territoire, Secretariat Generale, Direction de l’Interieur, Service des Authorisations diverses in N’Djamena. You will find it near a roundabout close to the Novotel. Have your passport ready and know all places you will be going to visit, best in alphabetical order.
In northern Chad (Borkou-Ennedi-Tibesti: ‘BET’) tourists must be accompanied by a local guide. A local 4×4 costs around €120 a day with driver.
Sample prices: Fada-Demi-Lakes-Gouro (6 days) 140,000CFA.
Gouro-Yebbi-Meski-Faya 170,000 CFA (5 days). See also this (2010) this (2011)and this (2013).
Unless coming up from the south, Chad is the tough and expensive proposition to visit independently, although fly-in tours do cover the BET. Left: detailed OCHA map of Tibesti (2010).
You can transit Chad to Al Junaynah in Sudan-Darfur (right). But from there you have to fly to Khartoum (£50 moto, £100 for you). In a car it may be possible to join a convoy heading east, but nor without risks.
The Lake Chad route from Niger from Nguigmi is under Boko Haram influence and is best avoided.
Pistes across mined areas are found in many parts of northern Chad including Erg de Djourab, Ennedi, Tibesti, Ounianga, Faya-Wour, Col de Yei Lulu on piste from Zouar to Seguedine (Niger). Banditry also occasionally arises along the Abeche west-east road. Bush camping is not recommended on the Lake Chad route from Niger.