The Ennedi Massif is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, located in the northeast of Chad and deep within the greatest desert of them all, the Sahara.
The sandstone mountains and formations, jutting out from the surrounding sand expanse, and spanning an extensive 50,000 km have provided refuge for the desert fauna, flora and human inhabitants for millenia.
In and amongst some of the largest sandstone arches on the planet lie hidden gueltas (wells or springs) home to West African crocodiles and visited by Barbary sheep, camel herds led by nomadic people and Barbary falcons peering in from their lofty sandy spires.
Exploring this ecological oasis and its landscape marked by caves, canyons, plateaus and pinnacles, the traveller is also led deeply into the regions archeological history by way of thousands of rock art paintings and engravings, dating back 8000 years.
The desert journey provides endless surprises and delights – a chance meeting in a sandstorm with a Toubou man and his daughter, a Fennec fox poking it’s head out from its den and falling asleep under a tapestry of stars.
“What makes the desert beautiful,’ said the little prince, ‘is that somewhere it hides a well…”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
Ennedi requires at least 7 days to explore properly, and 10 to 12 days to also include the Lakes of Ounianga, north of the plateau. We use a privately chartered aircraft to fly in and out from Fada or Faya Largeau, returning via the same access point or another, depending on the itinerary plan. Throughout the time in Ennedi we travel with our ground team – drivers, cook, camp crew and expert Saharan guide – together with an Anderson Expeditions guide who accompanies our guests from arrival in N’Djamena.
Typically we spread our time between staying in the spectacular Warda Camp, in the heart of Ennedi, and a mobile camp – set in phenomenal locations – operated by our team, to explore further afield. Nights spent under the desert sky will be amongst the lasting memories of an expedition to Ennedi.
The program is adjusted daily around our guests requirements and interests, and the vagaries of travelling in the desert. We regularly plan in the morning to set the mobile camp in a location and end up in a completely different place that evening! For this reason our full crew and guests travel together at all times – developing a common bond as we journey through the jewel of the Sahara together.
Simplicity is the heart of everything. If you look to the desert, apparently the desert is very simple but it’s full of life, it’s full of hidden places and the beauty is that it looks simple but it’s complex in the way that it expresses the soul of the world...”
African Parks is a non-profit organisation that takes on direct responsibility for the rehabilitation and long-term management of national parks, in partnership with governments and local communities.
African Parks long-term vision for the Ennedi Natural and Cultural Reserve is to restore its natural and cultural assets, reintroducing species that lived here before, and to recreate a representation of the Sindian-Saharan and Sahelian biomes in Africa, which are no longer found anywhere else in the entire Sahel region.
“Ennedi is a place like no other. A gigantic outdoor gallery of time’s finest sculptures and spectacular rock art. Home to remarkable desert adapted wildlife and incredible people that have learnt to survive and thrive, in a landscape that is anything but benign. If you can, you must experience this place. It will change you forever.”
“I leaned over to the pilot on descent and said, “where’s the airstrip”, to which he replied “there isn’t one”! We landed on a dry lakebed, the mud sun-baked and cracked into uniform shapes and all around us otherworldly giant golden orange sandstone formations. Three Land Cruisers pulled up, we met our team and off we went. Just brilliant!”