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Driving Directions Chad

CHAD, a landlocked republic in the center of northern Africa, extends from the edge of the equatorial forests in the south to the middle of the Sahara Desert in the north. It lies more than 1,600 kilometers or 944 miles from the sea. The principal feature is the large, shallow Lake Chad in the west with its surrounding basin and river systems. Lake Chad has a minimum area of about 10,000 square kilometers or 3,861 square miles but swells enormously in the rainy season to about 25,000 square kilometers or 9,652 square miles. The basin is ringed by plateaux and the Enneddi Mountains in the extreme southeast and the Tibesti Mountains, rising to 3,415 meters or 11,204 feet, in the far north.

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The volcanic Tibesti Massif rises impressively from the parched, sun-baked dunes of the Sahara Desert. Chad has a hot climate and is very dry in the north. Central and southern regions receive progressively more rain during the summer rainy season.

Southern Chad is the most densely populated part of the country, and its relatively well-watered savannah has always been the country’s main source of arable land. Unless there is drought, this area is farmed for cotton (the main cash crop and livestock exports), millet, sorghum, groundnuts, rice, and vegetables. Fishing is carried out in the rivers and Lake Chad. Cotton ginning and the manufacture of peanut oil are the principal industries.

As a result of ongoing drought and civil war, Chad remains one of the world’s poorest countries. The country has been torn by civil strife for much of the latter part of the 20th century, but a ceasefire has been in place since 1994, and a territorial dispute with Libya has also been resolved.

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From the swamp-like regions surrounding Lake Chad and the Chari River system in western Chad, the country’s central portion dips into the shallow bowl of the Bodélé Depression. This basin extends for more than 804 kilometers (500 miles) to the plateaus, mountain ranges, and extinct volcanoes associated with the Tibesti Massif in northern Chad, a major landmark of the Sahara Desert. Southeast of Lake Chad, an area of relatively flat, sedimentary land extends for several hundred miles before rising gently to the rolling plateaus and scattered low mountains of the eastern and southern border areas. Chad is a landlocked country.

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