The climate in Chad is desert in the north, while it is semi-desert in the center, and tropical with a wet season in the south. In fact, the summer rains, which are brought by the African monsoon, affect only the center-south of the country, and in a progressively more substantial manner as you proceed towards the south. As a result, the rainfall is lower than 50 millimeters (2 inches) per year in the north, it reaches 200 mm (8 in) in the center, and exceeds 1,000 mm (40 in) 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.


The north

In the north, in the Sahara desert, winter is sunny and pleasantly warm during the day.


In Faya-Largeau, highs in January are around 26 °C (79 °F) and lows around 14 °C (57 °F). In the Ennedi plateau, which lies in the north-east, temperatures are a bit lower, and even lower in the Tibesti Range, where we find a lunar landscape, and there's the highest point of the country, Emi Koussi, 3,445 meters (11,300 feet) high. Every now and then, at night the temperature can approach freezing (0 °C or 32 °F) at lower altitudes, while this happens quite often in the mountains. By contrast, during the day the temperature can reach 30 °C (86 °F) even in winter, at least at low altitudes. The rest of the year in the desert area is really hot, with highs around or above 40 °C (104 °F) from April to October, and the highest recorded temperature are about 50 °C (122 °F).
Here are the average temperatures of Faya-Largeau.
Faya-Largeau - Average temperatures
Min (°C)141518222526262626231814
Max (°C)262934394142414040373128
Min (°F)575964727779797979736457
Max (°F)798493102106108106104104998882

The hottest months, albeit slightly, are May and June, then in July and August the area is reached by 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.
Faya-Largeau - Average precipitation

In the desert area, the sun shines regularly throughout the year: it is one of the sunniest areas in the world.
Faya-Largeau - Sunshine

In the mountainous area of the Tibesti, it's hot during the day, but nights can be cool even in summer. In the Tibesti Massif, the rainfall is slightly higher than in the surrounding area, though it's still at a desert level, saince it slightly exceeds 100 mm (4 in) per year. However, in this area there are also fresh water springs (oases) as well as salt lakes.
Throughout the year, the wind can raise sand storms across the desert area.

Tibesti, Chad

The center

Continuing south, in summer the influence of southern air masses becomes more remarkable, so there is a decrease in temperature and an increase in cloudiness and humidity.

Lake Ciad

In the area of Lake Chad, from 200 to 300 mm (8 to 12 in) of rain fall per year. Lake Chad is a shallow lake, which has almost halved over the past 50 years, however, its size varies between the seasons and from year to year according to rainfall. It is not necessarily going to disappear, but its future depends on both the possible changes of the monsoon rains due to climate change and the exploitation of its tributaries for agricultural purposes.


Continuing south, the rains are even more abundant. In the capital, N'Djamena, to the south of the lake, total annual rainfall amounts to 550 mm (21.5 in), with the first rains in May, a maximum in July and August, and the last rains in early October.
Here is the average precipitation.
Ndjamena - Average precipitation

Here we are close enough to the Equator (12 degrees north latitude) to have high temperatures even in winter, around 30 °C (86 °F) during the day, and sometimes even above, although the air is dry and the nights are cool. This is still the least hot period of the year, in fact, from February the temperature starts to rise, reaching a peak between April and May, when it often exceeds 40 °C (104 °F). In summer, the monsoon gradually lowers the temperature again, bringing it down to 30/32 °C (86/90 °F) in August, although the high 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.
Ndjamena - Average temperatures
Min (°C)171923272726242323232017
Max (°C)303236393836323032353531
Min (°F)636673818179757373736863
Max (°F)86909710210097908690959588

In N'Djamena, the sun shines regularly in the long dry season, while in the rainy season the hours of sunshine decrease a little; the least sunny month is August.
Ndjamena - Sunshine

The south

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 is between 800 and 900 mm (31 and 35 in) per year, and it's open from December 1st to May 31th.


In the far south, the annual rainfall even exceeds 1,000 mm (40 in) as happens in Moundou, where it amounts to 1,100 mm (43 in), with the first showers occurring already in April, and with more than 200 mm (8 in) of rain per month from July to September. Here is the average precipitation.
Moundou - Average precipitation

Although we are 400 meters (1,300 feet) above sea level, here it's definitely hot even in December and January, with highs around 35 °C (95 °F), but fortunately at night the temperatures drop a lot, to around 15 °C (59 °F). The hottest month is March, when highs are normally around 40 °C (104 °F). In summer, the monsoon lowers the temperature to around 30/32 °C (86/90 °F), but the heat becomes stifling.
Here are the average temperatures.
Moundou - Average temperatures
Min (°C)151823242422212121211715
Max (°C)343739383632303031333534
Min (°F)596473757572707070706359
Max (°F)93991021009790868688919593

In the south, the amount of sunshine decreases more than in the rest of the country and for a longer period, in fact the sunshine hours drop to 6/7 per day from June to September.
Moundou - Sunshine

Moissala, Chad

Best Time

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 typical haze. During the day it is very hot in the south, but nights are generally cool, while in the north 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 (104 °F).

What to pack

In winter: during the day, bring long, light and loose-fitting clothing of natural fabric (cotton or linen), especially in the south where it is hot 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, a warm jacket, gloves, a hat.

In summer: for the desert, bring loose-fitting, light-colored clothing, light and long shirts and pants, a wide-brimmed hat, a light scarf, sunglasses, comfortable and breathable shoes, a desert turban. Sleeping bag and sweater for the night to sleep outdoors. For Tibesti, at high altitudes, a jacket and a sweater. For N'Djamena and the south, tropics-friendly and light clothing, an umbrella or a light raincoat for the rain showers, a light sweatshirt.
It's better for women to avoid shorts and miniskirts.

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