Chad
Gerewol Festival

Chad – Gerewol Festival Tour – an 8 day Small Group Tour from £3325 per person.


After the annual rains, the nomadic Mbororo people gather for a unique celebration known as the Gerewol. This is a festival full of colour and has to be considered one of the most off the beaten track and fascinating cultural experiences in the whole of Africa.

We will feel privileged to be able to travel to the remote region of Durbali to see the age old traditions of the Mbororo and join them as they celebrate the Gerewol Festival by feasting, singing, dancing and engaging in courtship. In particular, a real highlight is to witness the spectacular way in which the young Mbororo men decorate themselves with make-up and jewellery to impress a prospective partner.

During our days at the festival we will immerse ourselves in the local traditions on what is sure to be a truly unique memorable African experience.

On this tour to the Gerewol Festival we will be meeting the Mbororo people. The Mbororo belong to the Fulani ethnic group (a distinction typically being made between the Mbororo and the Peul, who tend to live more settled lives), and are traditionally nomadic cattle-herders and traders in the Sahel, migrating between Chad, southern Niger, through northern Nigeria, north-eastern Cameroon, and the western region of the Central African Republic.

Their lives are centred on the herds of long-horned Zebu cattle, and they migrate according to the seasons to find pasture. Groups of several dozen relatives, typically several brothers with their wives, children and elders, travel on foot, donkey or camel, and stay at each grazing spot for a couple of days.

The Mbororo are very traditional; women plait their hair and often wear silver coins or discs into their hair, and sometimes have tattooed faces. The code of behaviour of the Mbororo emphasizes reserve and modesty (semteende), patience and fortitude (munyal), care and forethought (hakkilo), and loyalty (amana). They also place great emphasis on beauty and charm. Parents are not allowed to talk directly to their two first born children, who will often be cared for by their grandparents. During daylight, husband and wife cannot hold hands or speak in a personal manner with each other.

The Mbororo are largely but loosely Islamic. Although there are varying degrees of orthodoxy exhibited, most adhere to at least some of the basic requirements of the religion. Islam became important among Mbororo peoples during the 16th century when the scholar al-Maghili preached the teachings of Muhammad to the elite of northern Nigeria. Al-Maghili was responsible for converting the ruling classes among Hausa, Fulani, and Tuareg peoples in the region.

Tour ratings.

  • Fitness
  • Off the beaten track 
  • Culture
  • History
  • Wildlife

Tour Pace

Relaxed

Tour style

Pioneer

Relaxed Pace

Relaxed tours are easy paced with plenty of leisure time built in. The tour will in all probability still be off the beaten track, with the occasional early start and there may still be occasional long drives. In general on a relaxed pace tour you can enjoy easy-going activities and experiences with opportunities to absorb the sights and immerse yourself in the local surroundings.

Moderate Pace

Moderate pace tours are ideal if you want a tour experience that combines activities and experiences with some time to relax. Typically you will be active and busy for part of the day but then also have time to rest and recharge your batteries. In general on a moderate paced tour there may be some long journeys involved but the tour is not an expedition or a road trip. On a moderate paced tour it will be necessary to have some early starts.

Busy Pace

A busy paced tour means that you can expect to be doing, seeing or experiencing something new almost every day, and moving on from place to place to pack in as much as possible. There may be early starts, long journeys and tiring days along the way, but you’ll return home feeling you’ve really experienced as much as you possibly could.

Pioneer Class Tours

On our Pioneer tours, you will be amongst an elite group of intrepid travellers and some of the first to explore a country that few have been privileged enough to discover. Of course, exploring such areas of the world will come with its challenges; it may mean several nights camping, long journeys by 4WD and the need to maintain a degree of flexibility for when carefully laid plans change. These are challenging tours in countries and areas that may have poor infrastructure, high levels of poverty and illiteracy. This can translate in to low standards in hotels, bad roads and poor driving standards among other issues. We try and smooth out as much of these issues as we can but you should be prepared to experience the bad with the good.

Traveller Class Tours

Our Traveller itineraries are at the core of our programme. These journeys are designed for travellers who still want to discover a land away from the tourist crowds but expect minimum standards. Accommodation will be primarily hotel based, although you could still find yourself camping, or the guest of a local family. Depending on the destination and itinerary, you’ll likely be travelling in a private vehicle, with occasional use of public transport. This is adventure travel with some of the rough edges smoothed out.

Itinerary.

Arrive in N’Djamena and transfer to hotel accommodation. Rooms are available for those arriving in the early morning. Relax for the rest of the day or explore the city. Overnight Mercure Hotel or similar.

Leave the capital and drive through the Sahel to the Durbali region where we join the Mbororo people in their celebration of the Gerewol festival. Overnight camping. (BLD)

 

Truly one of Africa’s most unusual cultural events, the rituals and ceremonies associated with the Mbororo’s Gerewol festival have remained unchanged for centuries. Young Mbororo men decorate themselves with makeup, feathers and traditional jewellery to display to young women; the Gerewol is an elaborate mass courtship ritual and a fascinating spectacle to observe. As well the main event we can expect to see traditional singing and dancing, and even camel racing. Beyond the festival there’s time to explore the market of Durbali, one of the most important in the Sahel, and spend time with local people to learn aspects of their unique culture. Overnight camping. (BLD)

Returning back to the capital, day use rooms are available to freshen up before a farewell dinner and transfers to the airport.

Important: Please note that the exact date of this festival is usually determined around June each year, when the Mbororo elders have decided upon the best time to hold it. The Gerewol festival is held around the end of September (at the end of the rainy season) and so the precise date of this trip may move by a couple of days either side. You should not book flights until this date has been confirmed by us.

Dates & Price.

  • Tour Code
    Start
    End
    Trip Status
    Pricing
     
  • Tour Code 20-01
    Start Saturday October 3, 2020
    End Saturday October 10, 2020
    Available
     
    Available Seats: 12

    Adult ( 1 - 12 Pax ) £3,325.00 /Person

    - +

    Trip Extras:

    Chad – Gerewol Festival (CGF) Single Supplement
    £ 195.00 / unit

    Single travellers - we understand that in our busy world many people travel alone. Although we do charge a single supplement, if you are willing to share with another traveller then please contact us and we will do our best to match you up. Otherwise please select the applicable single supplement below.

    Learn More

Tour Notes

Please note that the dates for the 2020 tour are provisional. The Mbororo people decide on the dates around mid June. Please do not purchase any international flights until we let you know the confirmed dates of the festival.

Single supplement from £195.

Flights from London to N’Djamena return start from around £550. Please contact us for a quotation.

Airport transfers are included if you are booking pre and/or post tour accommodation at the hotel mentioned in our tour dossier.

Extra night accommodation pre and/or post tour in N’Djamena costs from £105 per person, per night sharing a twin/double room and £190 per person in a solo occupancy room.

Please note that the prices quoted above are for the category of accommodation and hotel used for this particular tour. Depending on the hotel eventually confirmed there may be some difference in the rate advertised by the hotel, and the prices available through Undiscovered Destinations. It should be noted we will not apply a surcharge should more expensive accommodation be used. At the same time in the event that a lower rate is available for the confirmed hotel we are unable to offer a refund.

Mapped itinerary.

Want to see details of your itinerary on a map?

Download PDF.

Download the full tour dossier for this trip here.

Chad - Gerewol Festival Tour Map

For expert advice get in touch now with our passionate,
well-travelled team.

+44(0) 191 296 2674 from THE UK
1-800-614-2967 from THE US & CANADA
1-300-956-415 from AUSTRALIA

Tour inclusions.

  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • All accommodation on a twin share basis
  • Services of English speaking guide / tour leader
  • Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
  • Entrance fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary

Tour exclusions.

  • International flights
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visa
  • Drinks
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Tips (discretionary)

This trip was a spectacular journey. Every day at least one or two amazing nature experiences with fantastic rock formations, sand dunes and surprising finds in the Sahara desert. A thoroughly enjoyable trip which I have strongly recommended to many others.

Cecilia Harlitz, Sweden