THE SLIDESHOW provides a comprehensive overview of Chad’s Ennedi Massif natural and cultural landscape world heritage site, showing the area’s spectacular desert landscapes, wildlife habitats, plants and animals, conservation management issues and local community livelihoods.
The slideshow features a relatively small part of this very extensive world heritage site, concentrating on the more accessible areas in the south-west of the site. It begins with one of the classic sandstone arches, situated at Terkei, where there is also a well-know concentration of rock art. Sadly, one of the best-known panels (which appears in Coulson & Campbell’s book on African Rock Art and shows a group of women in ankle-length dresses) has been deliberately defaced in recent years, illustrating the vulnerability of the rock-art and need for more effective protection. Much of the rock art is found in smaller concealed alcoves and caves, and it takes time for the interested observer to explore and discover its diversity – indeed, much of it remains undocumented in more remote parts of the massif. From Terkei the slideshow moves to an isolated sandstone outcrop slightly further north, known as ‘The Castle’, with its spectacular wind-blown towers flanked by golden sand dunes. The sandstone outcrops are separated from one another by sand-filled ergs (valleys), and there are far-reaching views across the area from high on the ‘Castle’ ramparts. Many of the area’s most distinctive sandstone outcrops have been given names, and the slideshow features ‘Les Trois Messieurs’, three great columns standing together and a number of other such outcrops from the north of Terkei. In the same area are further panels of rock-art showing distinctive horsemen, riding in groups (their steeds illustrated in elongated form with legs outstretched) as well as archaeological evidence of past occupation such as ancient grinding stones. The Ennedi Massif is still a ‘living landscape’, occupied by pastoralists with their camels, donkeys and goats, and much of the more conspicuous wildlife species have disappeared as a result of hunting. A fennec fox is shown, one of the few larger mammals that might be encountered on a visit to the area. There are a few oases scattered throughout the area and these serve as busy gathering points for herdsmen and their livestock – the Tokou well is shown, as well as features of the surrounding area. The Ennedi shelters various species of plants and animals that would normally require a moister environment, but survive here as ‘relict’ populations. As an example, near the Tokou well stands the only Acacia albida tree known in the Ennedi. The slideshow ends with another of the area’s classic sandstone arches, known as ‘Naplolean’s cap’.