Ennedi Natural and Cultural Reserve, nestled in the northeast of Chad, is a natural sandstone masterpiece spanning 40,000 km2 that has been sculpted over centuries by wind and water, creating a magnificent landscape marked by cliffs, canyons and natural arches. The permanent presence of water in this desert landscape has created an Eden in the Sahara, sustaining flora and fauna as well as human life.  Thousands of images have been painted and carved into the rock surface making up one of the largest and globally significant ensembles of rock art in the Sahara.

Characterized by plateaus, gorges, immense rock arches and pillars sculpted and shaped over millennia, Ennedi Massif was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2016 for its unique natural formations and rock art that dates back 7,000 years. A protected area called the ‘Ennedi Natural and Cultural Reserve’ which covers 40,000 km2 is under creation and the area formally came under the long-term management of African Parks in partnership with the Government of the Republic of Chad in February 2018.

Ennedi is one of six large Sahara mountain massifs (a cluster of mountains) in Chad. Despite intense poaching in recent decades exterminating most wildlife, the biodiversity still held in this unique landscape is remarkable. It is home to a relic population of crocodiles, over 525 plant species and at least 199 bird species which pass through on their transcontinental migratory routes. The long-term vision for Ennedi is to restore this Eden, reintroducing species that lived here before, and to recreate a representation of the Sindian-Saharan and Sahelian biomes in Africa, which are no longer found anywhere else in the entire Sahel region.

The presence of humans in this area dates back over 10,000 years to the Neolithic period. Today, Ennedi remains an important resource for two semi-nomadic groups in need of pastures and water for their camels, goats and sheep. Tremendous opportunity exists to transform the conservation of this life-giving landscape to support people and wildlife. Through engagement with the local population, and delivering effective management, infrastructure and law enforcement, and several significant species reintroductions, the reserve will be restored to create the only fully-functioning Sahelian-Saharan ecosystem of irreplaceable cultural and natural value.

Highlights

  • In July 2016, Ennedi Massif was inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in recognition of its unique natural formations and rock art dating back 7,000 years.
  • Ennedi is an ecological oasis home to remarkable biodiversity, including over 525 plant species; 199 bird species utilizing its migratory crossroads; a relic population of crocodiles; and mammals including Barbary sheep, Dorcas gazelle, striped hyaena and desert lynx, among others.
  • The extraordinary history of human occupation dating back to the Neolithic period is recorded through a multitude of preserved archaeological sites, consisting of engravings, rock paintings and mausoleums.
  • Located in a safe environment, Ennedi Massif is one of the most renowned and accessible sites for Saharan tourism.

Partners

Ennedi formally came under the long-term management of African Parks in partnership with the Government of the Republic of Chad in February 2018. Our shared long-term vision for Ennedi is to restore its natural and cultural assets, reintroducing species that lived here before, and to recreate a representation of the Sindian-Saharan and Sahelian biomes in Africa, which are no longer found anywhere else in the entire Sahel region.

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