Remote Chad by Drone—Video

North Africa and the greater Sahel region have been extremely difficult for overland travelers to access since, well, since forever. This arid swath of the world’s second-largest continent hosts climactic, geographic, and political challenges that have stymied explorers and traders for centuries, whether on foot, via camel train, or by 4×4. Videographers Rene Bauer and Andrea Kaucka recently managed to make their way to the little-traveled nation of Chad and returned with some stunning drone footage.

With three distinct climate regions—Sahara desert, Sahel, and savannah—over 200 ethnic groups speaking 100 languages, populations of desert elephants and recently reintroduced black rhinos, and Lake Chad, Africa’s second-largest wetlands, this fascinating country would seem ripe for exploring overland. It is also little developed beyond the capital N’Djamena, and some of the landscapes, as you can see from Rene and Andrea’s brief video, are absolutely stunning. But, in addition to its own long history of political instability, regional strife in neighboring Sudan, Libya, Central African Republic, Nigeria, Cameroon, and Niger (essentially all of the countries it shares a border with) have made reaching landlocked Chad by vehicle nearly impossible.

In fact, localized conflicts and bureaucratic snarls at customs offices across the continent recently have created a number of obstacles for overland travelers in Africa, making Rene and Andrea’s brief peek behind the curtain in remote Chad all the more alluring. With the main routes up and down the East and West coasts essentially blocked (civil war in Sudan, huge customs bonds in Ethiopia, difficulty obtaining a tourist visa on arrival in Nigeria), will we see more adventurers trying to spend more time in lesser-known countries like Rwanda, Burundi, or Chad?

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Stephan Edwards is the Associate Editor of Expedition Portal and Overland Journal. He and his wife, Julie, once bought an old Land Rover sight unseen from strangers on the internet in a country they'd never been to and drove it through half of Africa. After living in Botswana for two years, Stephan now makes camp at the foot of a round mountain in Missoula, Montana. He still drives that Land Rover every day. An anthropologist in his former life and a lover of all things automotive, Stephan is a staunch advocate for public lands and his writing and photography have appeared in Road & Track, Overland Journal, and Adventure Journal. Find him at @venturesomeoverland on Instagram.