N'Djamena, derived from the Arabic words for "the place of rest," is a port town and the capital of Chad, with plenty to explore in the city as well as the surrounding region.
Renting a Car in N'Djamena
There are a few options available to rent a car in N'Djamena. Pick-up is available both at the airport and in downtown N'Djamena, although there aren't many operators. Choose from either chauffeured or self-drive vehicles, from companies such as Avis or Car Hire and Holiday.
In order to rent a car in N'Djamena, travelers need an international driver's permit. Drivers also have to secure travel permits from the Ministry of the Interior, due to fuel costs. Fuel supplies are erratic and expensive.
Renting a four-wheel-drive vehicle costs about $140 per day and an additional $30 per day for a chauffeur. It can be slightly cheaper to rent vehicles that are older, but this is not advisable if traveling outside of the city center.
Driving in N'Djamena
Driving around N'Djamena is easy, and most of the roads are in excellent condition. Some of the outer roads of the city are not paved and should be avoided. Any economy sized vehicle or larger is suitable for driving around the city. For travelers who are considering exploring beyond the city, a four-wheel drive is required.
It is important to note that there are sometimes security threats and an absence of emergency services outside the city center. Foreign visitors are advised to stay within a convoy. Travelers should also carry extra gas and avoid traveling at night.
Outside of N'Djamena, there is one paved road. It runs from Massakory, through N'Djamena, and south, through Guelendeng, Bongor, Kélo, and Moundou. This road leads all the way to the Cameroon border.
What to Do in N'Djamena
N'Djamena is an expensive city with top class restaurants and unique sites to explore. At the center of the city is the Grand Mosque. The strikingly tall minarets can be seen from all angles around the city. It's the largest mosque in the country, with a library, school, and lecture halls inside.
The Grand Marché is the central market in N'Djamena that sells everything from books and clothes to food and crafts. Look for specialties like Chadian rugs and locally made jewelry.
For travelers who want to learn more about local culture and history, the National Museum is a fascinating place to see artifacts from around the country. Exhibitions change throughout the year, with items from Chadian history. All of the information is in French, but an English speaking guide is available. Head upstairs to see the skull of the Toumai Man, regarded by the people of Chad as the earliest human ancestor ever discovered in the world.
Just north of N'Djamena is the tourist area of Douguia. Take a boat ride down the Chari River, with Chad on one side and Cameroon on the other side. It's a beautiful place to watch the sunset.
N'Djamena is a beautiful city with a fascinating history and access to some of the most stunning scenery in Chad.