The Ennedi Plateau lies in the northeast corner of Chad – a spectacular red sandstone massif that over thousands of years has been eroded and sculpted by wind and sand into a multitude of extraordinary and otherworldly rock formations. This is one of Chad’s most remote and beautiful areas – a huge expanse of natural arches, deep gorges and giant labyrinths dotted with isolated waterholes. In 2016, the Ennedi Massif was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site owing to the uniquely sculpted landscape natural formations and ancient rock art widely found in caves and beneath overhanging rocks. The extraordinary history of human occupation in Ennedi dates back more than 7,000 years to the Neolithic period and is recorded through numerous preserved archaeological sites featuring engravings, rock paintings and mausoleums.
The Guelta d’Archei is the only permanent waterhole in the area and frequented by traditional Tubu nomads to water their camels. The Tubu – known as the “rock people” – are among Africa’s most traditional and secretive peoples. Reputedly the toughest of all desert dwellers, there are numerous stories of their ability to survive in a harsh and unforgiving environment.
Thanks to its sporadic water sources, the Ennedi Plateau is also rich in biodiversity and home to a surprising amount of wildlife including gazelles, baboons and patas monkeys, herds of Barbary sheep as well as porcupines. honey badgers and desert crocodiles. Leopard and cheetah also survive in the more remote areas. A recent ornithological survey (September 2019) found more 185 species of bird and as many as 525 plant species have also been recorded.