The Gerewol Festival and Ennedi Mountains tour, Chad
An epic journey first to Chad’s vibrant Gereweol Festival to celebrate with the Wodaabe people, then venturing deep into the Sahara – travel at its most exciting.
N’Djamena Durbali Stay with a Wodaabe community Gereweol Festival Abeche Kalait Ennedi Mountains Guelta d’Archei Mourdi Depression Fada Teguedei salt lake Ounianga Lakes Wilderness camping
Description of The Gerewol Festival and Ennedi Mountains tour, Chad
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PlanetThis tour 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.
PeopleAs 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 one of the focuses of this trip is 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 also spend time in the traditional lands of the Tubu people, one of the Sahara’s most traditional ethnic groups who are quite wary of outsiders. Through long association with this area, our local team has established solid relationships with certain communities and our presence here is 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 or the Tubu. 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 and Tubu 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 and Tubu people.
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