Ennedi Plateau

For the current region of Chad, see Ennedi Region.
Ennedi Massif: Natural and Cultural Landscape
UNESCO World Heritage site
Camels at a waterhole in a canyon in Ennedi
Location Ennedi Region, Chad
Criteria Cultural and Natural: (iii), (vii), (ix)
Reference 1475
Inscription 2016 (40th Session)
Area 2,441,200 ha (6,032,000 acres)
Buffer zone 777,800 ha (1,922,000 acres)
Coordinates 17°2′30″N 21°51′46″E / 17.04167°N 21.86278°E / 17.04167; 21.86278Coordinates: 17°2′30″N 21°51′46″E / 17.04167°N 21.86278°E / 17.04167; 21.86278
Location of Ennedi Plateau in Chad

The Ennedi Plateau, located in the northeast of Chad, in the regions of Ennedi-Ouest and Ennedi-Est, is a sandstone bulwark in the middle of the Sahara. It covers an area of approximately 60,000 km2 (23,000 sq mi), and its highest point is approximately 1,450 m (4,760 ft) above sea level.[1] The landscape has geological structures like towers, pillars, bridges and arches, which are big tourist attractions.


The plateau also has a rich collection of fauna, including examples of the West African crocodile, that once existed throughout the Sahara at a time of more abundant rainfall (see Neolithic Subpluvial). A striking characteristic of this population of crocodiles is dwarfism developed due to their isolation, which make them unusual (other such remnant populations are or were found in Mauritania and Algeria). They survive in only a few pools in river canyons in the area, for example the Guelta d'Archei, and are threatened with extinction.[2] The last lions (West African subspecies) in the Sahara also survived here, until they became extinct; the last lion was seen in the 1940s.[3] Also, any surviving scimitar oryx antelopes that might still live in the wild and the vulnerable Sudan cheetahs are likely to be found in the remote regions of the Ennedi Plateau. It has been suggested that the cryptid Ennedi tiger (a supposed surviving sabertooth cat) may live there.


Examples of petroglyphs or rock paintings have been found in the area, for example those at the "lost site" of Niola Doa.


  1. Scheffel, Richard L.; Wernet, Susan J., eds. (1980). Natural Wonders of the World. United States of America: Reader's Digest Association, Inc. p. 137. ISBN 0-89577-087-3.
  2. de Smet, Klaas (January 1998). "Status of the Nile crocodile in the Sahara desert". Hydrobiologia. SpringerLink. 391 (1-3): 81–86. doi:10.1023/A:1003592123079.
  3. Historical status, Lionalert.org
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