Capital | N’Djamena
Population | 10,329,208 (July 2009 est.)
Area | 1,284,000 sq km
Official language | French, Arabic
Holidays | Independence Day, 11 August (1960)
Currency | Cooperation Financiere en Afrique Centrale francs (XAF)
Time Zone | UTC+1
Best time to visit | December to mid-February, when the days are dry and warm and the nights quite cool.
Connecting with the Culture | Living it up in Chad’s capital, N’Djamena, with markets, bars and a thriving live music scene. Photographing the country’s best wildlife in Zakouma National Park. Chilling out in Moundou’s riverside bars with an icy beer. Haggling yourself hoarse in the frontier markets of Mao. Witnessing the cultural clash of the old town of Abeche, the gateway to exploring the Sudan. Dancing the night away in Sarh, the capital of the south.
Read | Chad: A Nation in Search of its Future by Mario J. Azevedo and Emmanuel U. Nnadozie , presenting an economic, political and social view of the nation.
Listen | to the lute, a long-necked guitar popular in Chad and heard on Africa: Anthology of the Music of Chad.
Watch | Abouna (Our Father), a heart-rending feature filmed in Chad in which two boys search for their lost father.
Eat | a hearty dish of nachif (finely minced meat in sauce)
Drink | a Gala beer in Moundou, straight from the brewery.
In a word | Harmattan (dry, dusty Saharan wind)
Characteristics | Desert expanses, unpaved roads; unsettled relationship with Libya, poverty; mud-brick architecture.
Surprises | With one of the most painful historeis in Africa, Chad is nation with a foundation built on conflict. The harsh climate, geographic remoteness, porr resource endowment and lack of infrastructure have combined to create a weak economy susceptible to political turmoil but Chad has a potentially huge oil industry. To legally take photos in Chad, visitors need a permit from the Ministry of Information; an estimated one billion barrels of oil could be extracted from the Doba Basin.