Ennedi Natural and Cultural Reserve, located in the northeast of Chad, is a natural sandstone masterpiece spanning over 50,000 km2 of a sculpted landscape marked by cliffs, natural arches, mushroom rocks, giant labyrinths, and water catchments. Labelled as an Eden in the Sahara, the Reserve lies within the Ennedi Massif, a mountainous refuge that was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2016 for its unique natural formations and globally significant rock art. Dating back 7,000 years, this rock art is a testament to the historic role people have played in this landscape. Today, despite the harsh climate and environment, as many as 30,000 community members move through Ennedi every year and whose survival depends on the resources the reserve provides.

Prior to African Parks assuming management of Ennedi in February 2018, in partnership with the Government of Chad, the landscape had undergone excessive illegal hunting and unsustainable resource extraction. Despite these pressures, the flora and fauna that remain are extraordinary. The reserve is an important sanctuary for over 189 bird species, that pass through on their transcontinental migratory routes, including iconic, desert-dwelling mammals such as Barbary sheep, dorcas gazelle, and striped hyaena. With the landscape now benefitting from effective protection, wildlife restoration projects are becoming a reality. The red-necked ostrich was successfully translocated from Zakouma National Park in 2021, and plans for the critically endangered addax antelope are underway for reintroduction in the near future.

Our challenge is to ensure that the nomadic tribes who have lived here for thousands of years can continue to do so through strong community-based conservation and protection efforts. We are working to realise the revenue opportunities that exist here through well-run niche tourism as well as other small enterprises in which we are investing; and with effective management, we will be able to preserve the natural and cultural heritage of this Eden in the desert, for both people and wildlife alike.

Ennedi Highlights

  • In 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 a relic population of four West African, or desert, crocodile.
  • Ennedi’s first ornithological survey was conducted in September 2019 and resulted in observations of 185 species, providing the first-ever Ennedi bird species list.
  • 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.
  • Ennedi Massif has the opportunity to become one of the most renowned and accessible sites for Saharan tourism.



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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