A Comprehensive Guide on Moving to Chad

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  • Martin Wieslinger

    It was a relief to realize that there are more expat families settling in Chad and to have someone to discuss 'culture shock' with.

Relocating to Chad

The Land and its People

Located in Central Africa and bordered by Sudan, the Central African Republic, Cameroon, and Nigeria, Chad is a landlocked country that is home to a population of over ten million people. With a total territory of 1,284,000 km² that covers desert and rainforest, it is the fifth largest country in Africa and the 21st largest in the world. Its population is made up of over 200 different ethnic and linguistic groups, the largest being the Sara people, who account for around 30% of the population, followed by Arabs and the Mayo-Kebbi people in second and third place respectively. This means that although French and Arabic are the official languages, expatriates moving to Chad can expect to hear a multitude of different languages and dialects, depending on where they are in the country. However, in business and trade situations, Chadian Arabic is often used as a lingua franca if the parties do not speak the same language. In N’Djamena, the capital city, some people will speak English as well as French and Arabic; however, you are advised to learn some French and Arabic before moving to Chad.

The Climate in Chad

Although Chad has a tropical climate, the length and severity of wet and dry seasons varies across the country. This is due to Chad’s varying geography, which ranges from the deserts in the north to the lush savanna in the south. However, in most regions of Chad, apart from in the desert in the far north of the country, expatriates can expect one wet season that runs from May to October, and a dry season that runs from November to April. However, depending on the climactic air masses, the length or severity of the wet and dry seasons changes from year to year. The temperature tends to remain consistent throughout the year, although again the average temperature varies according to which region of Chad you are moving to. In the north, temperatures can reach up to 40°C (104°F) in the dry season, whilst in the south it tends to be slightly cooler, as a result of the high humidity.

Getting to Chad

Expatriates moving to Chad will be pleased to hear that the country does have an international airport, despite the fact many other Central African nations do not. Located in the capital city, N’Djamena International Airport has flights to and from many Central and Western African destinations, including Ivory Coast, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan, as well regular flights to Paris and Istanbul. Chad currently has no railway network, but plans were finalised in 2012 to build a small railway that would serve stations in N’Djamena, Moundou, and Koutéré within the country, and have direct rail links to nearby nations, including Cameroon and Sudan. This means that if you are travelling onward from N’Djamena, you will usually do so by road. As it is a landlocked country, there is no opportunity for expatriates moving to Chad to ship their belongings to the country, and so they are usually taken through Africa by road or rail.

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  • Martin Wieslinger

    It was a relief to realize that there are more expat families settling in Chad and to have someone to discuss 'culture shock' with.

  • Helen Laidboe

    Moving to Chad as an expat spouse did made me worry. But through InterNations, I got to know other expat women here in town. Thanks!

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