Gerewol festival vacation in Chad

“During Gerewol, young men paint themselves and perform to seduce young women. This deeply traditional and vibrant event is equally as seductive for the handful of lucky travelers who witness it each year.”

Highlights

Camping in the Sahel | meeting the Wodaabe tribespeople | Durbali market | witnessing the Gerewol festival | watching camel racing, singing, dancing and male beauty contests

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Check dates, prices & availability

Date
Price
Basis
27 Sep 2020
£2249
excluding flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 27 Sep 2020 departure
26 Sep 2021
£2299
excluding flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 26 Sep 2021 departure
Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

Gerewol festival vacation in Chad

Carbon reduction

Your vacation will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this vacation and how to reduce them.

Environment

This tour travels visits a very remote region, which has barely been touched by the presence of humans, and we strongly believe in maintaining its pristine nature. The nature of this trip means that most nights are spent camping. We strive to ensure that we leave these areas as we find them and our team have been trained in strict no litter policies, meaning that we take all refuse to either be recycled or properly disposed of back in N’Djamena. Washing of dishes is carried out well away from any water sources so as not to contaminate them.

Where there are tracks, we stick to them – not always possible as there are few tracks in this area.

Our travelers are specifically briefed on not to buy souvenirs made from endangered species – people in remote parts of Chad do not always have the same respect towards wildlife as most travelers will have, and can sometimes offer such things for sale.

Community

As with many of the trips that we offer, this tour has a strong focus on local culture and different ethnic groups. Where possible we try to ensure that local people benefit from our presence.

We spend time with the Mbororo people, a semi nomadic group that live through the Sahel, and the focus of this trip is on their annual Gerewol festival. Through long association with this area, our local team has established solid relationships with certain Mbororo communities and our presence here is very much welcomed – we feel that it is very important to be seen as guests here rather than outsiders come to merely look. We are able to spend time with the communities learning about their traditions and customs.

We are careful not to disrupt the traditional way of life of the Mbororo. As a way to say thank you for allowing us to visit, we bring traditional gifts, such as sugar, tea and so on – we do not bring modern accoutrements that may change their way of life as we feel that it is important for all tribal groups that any move towards a more ‘modern’ lifestyle is made on their own terms and not imposed upon them. We give gifts to the elders of the villages who will then ensure that they are distributed appropriately, rather than just giving them to individuals, which can cause problems, jealousy and fights within small communities.

These are very traditional areas with certain codes of behaviour, and the people here are not that accustomed to outsiders. We ensure that our travelers are appropriately briefed in order so as not to offend local sensibilities.

We buy supplies from the Mbororo where this is feasible – usually meat and other foodstuffs, and try to have a positive economic impact upon the communities we visit.

We work with Chadian drivers and guides, and at the end of each tour encourage our travelers to leave unwanted clothes that they can then distribute to their extended families. We do not encourage travelers to leave these for the Mbororo as we feel it is important that they are able to maintain their traditional lifestyles, which have generally served them well throughout the centuries in often difficult environments. We do not feel that the emulation of western culture, of which western clothing is just the start, would be wholly beneficial for the Mbororo.

4 Reviews of Gerewol festival vacation in Chad

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 14 Oct 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The Wodabe tribe

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Pack malaria tablets in hand luggage in case your checking luggage doesn’t make it.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes, support with food, responsible communication and behavior towards the people.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


9

Reviewed on 08 Oct 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The many different dances, also by the women. The early morning walks to see the Woodabe camp coming alive. Milking the cows in the early morning. The quietness and tranquillity of it all.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Enough extra camera batteries and your own extension outlet. I had this, but many others did not. Prepare also for rain. Bring small gifts like, flashlights, simple mirrors etc. Very appreciated.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Hum, not sure about reduced environmental impact. We interacted as much as we could with the locals and I felt they were treated equally. They also spent a lot of time in and around "our" camp site during the day and night. If we can "invade" there homes, they should of course also be able to watch us in a similar way. Extremely nice, caring and lovely people - the Woodabe's

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


I understand we were a very fortunate group having an Anthropologist - Elena - as our guide. We met some of the other guides and groups - which did not have this luck. Thanks to her, this made a world of difference. We also - as group - helped out and financed a couple of less fortunate Woodabe people. One man who had lost his wife and children in a fire, and who had third degree burns. We helped gathering money for a 1 month hospital stay in Durbali including all expenses and transport. Understand that SVS also supported a few similar cases.

Reviewed on 09 Oct 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The colorful festival itself with all the singing and dancing was of course the highlight of the tour. All the big smiles and greetings that we received from the tribe members during our stay with them, should be mentioned as well.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Be prepared for a hot climate and remember to respect the local customs.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


I'm pretty certain that the locals benefited from this vacation, and I believe that the tour leader did all he could, to reduce any negative environmental impact on the tribes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


The tour guide was very knowledgeable and the international group of people that I ended up with was great. The only thing that could be improved is the breakfast, which was a bit too simple and containing too much sugar for my taste. The rest of the meals were fine. Overall I'm very happy with the tour.

Reviewed on 11 Oct 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Interacting with the Mbororo people was a very rewarding experience. They were friendly and very obliging when it comes to taking photos. The work which had been done before the trip started in order for the group to be accepted was obviously of the highest standard.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Arrive a day earlier to acclimatize as it is a very hot destination and it is better to be well rested before the start of the trip. I arrived a day earlier and left Chad later than most of the people and it meant being rested and enjoying the pool in the hotel in Ndjamena.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


I think that the interactions with the locals were positive.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


I was really impressed with the service I received from this operator before the trip began. Gerewol had been on my to do list for years and my interactions with other tour companies left me a bit concerned about the logistics and as a result I did not book a trip in the past. The moment I dealt with Jim I was satisfied that he was not a fly-by night operator. He was very responsive when any questions were raised prior to the trip and I enjoyed the professionalism of his ground operator SVS in Chad. Tomaso from SVS is a competent and caring person and that made for a very rewarding experience.

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