Chad. You can’t take pictures on the street here.
Maybe that’s not the official answer, but here’s what I figured out beforehand and on arrival.
A friend of mine had huge problems while visiting N’Djamena previously and was constantly told that no pictures were allowed. Macron (PM of France) was visiting at the time, so maybe that had something to do with it.
When I arrived, I asked my taxi driver if I could take pictures. The gist of the response was, “um…I think so…probably, yeah…” That didn’t leave me feeling too confident.
After delays in Douala, Cameroon on my layover, I arrived after dinner time and found the city to be quite dark. The Hilton (yay, points=free stay) was at the edge of the city, meaning nothing was walkable.
Luckily, my Diamond status got me a fruit basket as a welcome gift, plus there were some juices and and nuts in the room, so I gobbled those up. I also got a ‘free drink & snack each day’ card from the front desk, so I went out to the cafe for a coke and bag of chips. Not the healthiest of dinners, but I was full, it was free, and I was off to sleep.
In the morning, free breakfast at the hotel and then out early to explore.
I was talking to the security guard at the front door about how to find a taxi, and he told me there were some drivers hanging out in the hotel, looking for work, so he set me up with one, and we were off.
I also asked this guy about pictures, and he basically said that “from inside the car” is the rule.
We passed the main cathedral, which is under construction and nearly impossible to see. Also, the guide didn’t want to get out and poke around a church, since he’s Muslim.
Next, we passed the independence square.
We went down some side streets to a cool handicrafts/artwork market, and the items were really great, but I had no interest in buying anything, and taking pictures of people selling their art seemed rude.
Next, we passed the main market and went to the central mosque. I absolutely wanted to get out and poke around, but the driver told me I couldn’t go in, because I’m not Muslim.
The 2 main highlights of the tour: skip the church because he’s Muslim, skip the mosque because I’m not Muslim. Great tour!
The driver did help me on one thing, though: I needed to acquire US dollars, so we went to an ATM, and then he hoped me find the best exchange rate on the street. We actually got close to the FOREX official rate, which is solid.
I got a driving view of the city, but I’m not sure how much that counts as a tour. N’Djamena looks interesting, but I wasn’t blown away.
In the van to the airport, some people were talking about a great safari they’d just come back from, and there was actually a NatGeo photographer who’d been there for a story they’re working on. That sounds like a much cooler part of Chad, but it needs a lot of organization and can’t be reached independently/cheaply. Maybe next time.
It was late afternoon, and I had a night flight to catch, so my 24 hours in Chad were up.
I will note that airport security in N’Djamena swore up and down they had seen me smoking in the parking lot before coming into the building, so they tore my backpack apart looking for the lighter I obviously didn’t have. Great work, dudes.This entry was posted in Africa, Chad, NDjamena