The capital of Chad and the only large city in the country, N'djamena is a regional market site and the center of Chad's cotton, cattle and fishing industries. Much of the city was destroyed in the Chadian civil war in 1979, but the Chad National Museum and several mosques and cathedrals still remain.
Zakouma National Park
This 1,200-square-mile national park is in a period of restoration after years of civil war. You'll need an experienced guide to get there, but expect to be rewarded with lion, giraffe and elephant sightings. The park changes completely between the wet and dry seasons, with vast wetlands swamping the area during the rainy season in July and August.
Once a vast inland sea, today Lake Chad straddles four countries: Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria. The southern end is less than 70 miles northwest of N'djamena. Wildlife including fish, waterfowl, hippos and crocodiles inhabit the lake, with small fishing villages dotting the coast. It's possible to camp in Bol, a small township with an airstrip.
A three-day 4WD trip from N'djamena, the Ennedi Desert is worth the trouble to some adventurers because of its unusual natural rock formations, sand cathedrals, and ancient rock paintings. Visitors can follow the route of the ancient salt caravans, from the Oasis Hachim to the palm-lined Lake Ouniagha Sakhar.
The highest point in the Sahara, the Tibesti mountains stretch for 300 miles across northwestern Chad and into Niger. The highest point is Emi Koussi, a volcano 11,200 feet above sea level. The area is inhabited by nomadic tribespeople from the Teda and Daza tribes, and a German geological research station operates from the mineral-rich Aozou Strip.