Map from Google - Chad
The climate in Chad is desert in the north, while it becomes semi-desert in the centre, and tropical with a wet season in the south. In fact, the summer rains, due to the African monsoon
, affect only the centre-south of the country, and in a progressively more substantial manner as we proceed towards the south. As a result, the rainfall is lower than 50 millimetres per year in the north, it reaches 200 mm in the centre, and exceeds 1,000 mm in the south. The rains occur from May to early October, although in the far south, in April some early showers and thunderstorms already occur. Winter is dry everywhere.
In the desert north
, winter is sunny and pleasantly warm during the day, with highs around 26 °C in January, and lows around 14 °C in Faya-Largeau
; in the Ennedi plateau that lies in the north East, the temperatures are a bit lower, and even lower in the Tibesti Range, which has a lunar landscape and reaches the highest point of the country with Emi Koussi, 3,445 metres high. Every now and then, at night the temperature can approach freezing at lower altitudes, while this happens quite often in the mountains. By contrast, during the day the temperature can touch 30 °C even in winter, at least at low altitudes. The rest of the year in the desert area is hot, with highs around or above 40 °C from April to October, but the highest recorded temperature are about 50 °C.
Here are the average temperatures of Faya-Largeau.
Average temperatures - Faya-Largeau
The hottest months, albeit slightly, are May and June, then in July and August the area is reached by the southern currents, the extreme offshoot of the monsoon, which are almost never able to bring some rainfall, but prevent further increase in temperature. So here the rains are very rare: in July 2010, a strong thunderstorm hit Faya-Largeau, as had not been seen in living memory.
Here is the average precipitation in Faya-Largeau.
Average precipitation - Faya-Largeau
In the mountainous area of the Tibesti, it's hot during the day, but even in summer the nights can be cool. In the Tibesti Massif the rainfall is slightly higher than the surrounding area, going just above 100 mm per year, so it's still a desert. However, there are also springs of fresh water (oases) as well as salt lakes.
Throughout the year, the wind can raise dust storms across the desert area.
Continuing south, in summer the influence of the southern air masses becomes more remarkable, so that there is a decrease in temperature and an increase in cloudiness and humidity. In the area of Lake Chad
, from 200 to 300 mm of rain per year fall. Lake Chad is a shallow lake, that has almost halved over the past 50 years, anyway its size vary according to seasonal rainfall and from year to year. It is not necessarily going to disappear, but surely its fate depends on the performance of the monsoon rains and on climate change, as well as on exploitation of its tributaries for agricultural purposes.
Continuing south, the rains become more abundant. In the capital, N'Djamena
, south of the lake, the total annual rainfall amounts to 550 mm, with the first rains in May, a maximum in July and August, and the last rains in early October.
Here is the average precipitation.
Average precipitation - Ndjamena
Here we are quite to the south (only 12 degrees north of the Equator), so the temperature is high even in winter, around 30 °C during the day, and it can even go above, although the air is dry and the nights are cool. This is still the least hot period of the year, given that from February the heat starts to go up, reaching a peak between April and May, when the temperature often exceeds 40 °C. In summer, the monsoon gradually lowers the temperature, bringing it down to 30/32 °C in August, although the high relative humidity makes the heat sultry and therefore less tolerable than in winter. After the monsoon, there is time for a new increase in the heat, which returns to be intense in October and November.
Here are the average temperatures.
Average temperatures - Ndjamena
Further south, we enter the area of the savannah
, where the landscape becomes definitely green during the rainy season. Floods are frequent, especially as a result of the most intense downpours and in the years when the rains are more abundant. The Zakouma National Park
is located in the south-east, in an area where precipitation goes from 800 to 900 mm per year, and it's open from December the 1st to May 31th.
In the far south, the annual rainfall even exceed 1,000 mm as happens in Moundou
, where it amounts to 1,100 mm, with the first showers occurring already in April, and more than 200 mm of rain per month from July to September. Here is the average precipitation.
Average precipitation - Moundou
Here it's definitely hot even in December and January, with highs around 35 °C, but fortunately at night the temperatures drop a lot, dropping to around 15 °C. The hottest month is March, with 40 °C as normal maximum. In summer, the monsoon lowers the temperature around 30/32 °C, but the heat becomes stifling.
Here are the average temperatures.
Average temperatures - Moundou
When to go
The best time to visit Chad is winter
, and in particular the months of December and January: the sky is clear, even though sometimes the north-east wind, the Harmattan
, can raise the dust, creating a kind of haze. During the day it is very hot in the south, but nights are generally cool. In the north, however, it can get cold at night, while during the day the temperature is pleasant.
Already in February, the temperature rises significantly in the south, approaching 40 °C.
What to pack
In winter: for the day, long, light, loose fitting clothing of natural fabric (cotton or linen), especially in the south where it is warm even in winter; desert turban for the wind-borne sand and dust, sunglasses (even graduated instead of contact lenses), a jacket and a sweater for the evening, desert boots or sandals. For Tibesti and outdoor nights in the desert, warm clothes, warm jacket, gloves, hat.
In summer: for the desert, loose fitting, light-coloured clothing, light and long shirt and pants, a wide-brimmed hat, a light scarf, sunglasses, comfortable and breathable shoes, desert turban. A sweater for the night, sleeping bag to sleep outdoors. For Tibesti, at high altitudes, jacket and sweater. For N'Djamena and the south, tropics-friendly, light clothing, umbrella or light raincoat for the rain showers, light sweatshirt.
For women it's best to avoid shorts and miniskirts.