Friday, April 12, 2024
Niger Travel Guide - Travel S Helper


travel guide

Niger, formally the Republic of Niger, is a Western African landlocked country named after the Niger River. Niger is bounded to the northeast by Libya, to the east by Chad, to the south by Nigeria and Benin, to the west by Burkina Faso and Mali, and to the northwest by Algeria. Niger has a land area of about 1,270,000 km2, making it the biggest nation in West Africa, with the Sahara Desert covering more than 80% of its land area. The country’s largely Islamic population of 17,138,707 is concentrated primarily in the country’s extreme south and west. Niamey, Niger’s capital city, is located in the country’s extreme southwest portion.

Niger is a poor nation that frequently ranks towards the bottom of the United Nations’ Human Development Index (HDI); in 2014, it was rated 188th. Periodic drought and desertification threaten much of the country’s non-desert areas. The economy is centered on subsistence and some export agriculture in the more fertile south, as well as raw material exports, particularly uranium ore. Due to its landlocked location, arid landscape, high fertility rates and resultant overpopulation without birth control, inadequate education and poverty of its people, lack of infrastructure, poor health care, and environmental degradation, Niger confronts significant development problems.

Nigerien society shows a variety resulting from the lengthy separate histories of its many ethnic groups and regions, as well as their comparatively brief history of coexistence under a single state. Historically, what is today Niger was on the outskirts of numerous big states. Nigeriens have lived under five constitutions and three periods of military government since independence. Niger has been a democratic, multi-party state since a military coup in 2010. The vast majority reside in rural regions and have little access to higher education.

Flights & Hotels
search and compare

We compare room prices from 120 different hotel booking services (including, Agoda, and others), enabling you to pick the most affordable offers that are not even listed on each service separately.

100% Best Price

The price for one and the same room can differ depending on the website you are using. Price comparison enables finding the best offer. Also, sometimes the same room can have a different availability status in another system.

No charge & No Fees

We don’t charge any commissions or extra fees from our customers and we cooperate only with proven and reliable companies.

Ratings and Reviews

We use TrustYou™, the smart semantic analysis system, to gather reviews from many booking services (including, Agoda, and others), and calculate ratings based on all the reviews available online.

Discounts and Offers

We search for destinations through a large booking services database. This way we find the best discounts and offer them to you.

Niger - Info Card




West African CFA franc (XOF)

Time zone



1,267,000 km2 (489,000 sq mi)

Calling code


Official language

Arabic - Buduma - Fulfulde - Gourmanchéma

Niger - Introduction

Geography, climate, and ecology

Niger is a landlocked country in West Africa situated on the boundary of the Sahara and Sub-Saharan Africa. It is bounded to the south by Nigeria and Benin, to the west by Burkina Faso and Mali, to the north by Algeria and Libya, and to the east by Chad.

Niger is located between latitudes 11° and 24° North and longitudes 0° and 16° East. Niger has an area of 1,267,000 square kilometers (489,191 square miles), of which 300 square kilometers (116 square miles) is water. It is therefore little less than twice the size of France and the world’s twenty-second biggest nation.

Niger has seven borders with a total perimeter of 5,697 kilometers (3,540 mi). The southernmost boundary is with Nigeria (1,497 km or 930 mi). Chad is 1,175 kilometers (730 miles) to the east, Algeria is 956 kilometers (594 miles) to the north-northwest, and Mali is 821 kilometers (730 miles) (510 mi). Niger also has minor borders in the far southwest with Burkina Faso at 628 km (390 mi) and Benin at 266 km (165 mi), as well as a border with Libya to the north-northeast at 354 km (220 mi).

The Niger River, at a height of 200 meters, is the lowest point (656 ft). Mont Idoukal-n-Taghès in the Ar Mountains has the maximum elevation of 2,022 meters (6,634 ft).


Niger’s subtropical climate is mostly hot and dry, with a large desert region. On the outskirts of the Niger River basin in the extreme south, there is a tropical climate. The landscape consists mostly of desert plains and sand dunes in the south, with flat to rolling savanna in the north and hills in the south.


Large deserts and semi-deserts cover the north of Niger. Addax antelopes, Scimitar-horned oryx, gazelles, and Barbary sheep are common animal species. The Ar and Ténéré National Nature Reserve, one of the world’s biggest reserves, was established in northern Niger to preserve these endangered species.

The southern portions of Niger are characterized by savannahs. The W National Park, located on the border of Burkina Faso and Benin, is part of the WAP (W–Arli–Pendjari) Complex, which is one of the most significant places for wildlife in Western Africa. It is home to the largest population of the endangered West African lion and one of the last groups of the Northwest African cheetah.

Elephants, buffaloes, roan antelopes, kob antelopes, and warthogs are among the other animals. The West African giraffe is no longer present in the W National Park, but rather in Niger, where it is the only surviving group.

Destructive agricultural methods as a consequence of population pressure are among the environmental problems in Niger. Illegal hunting, bush fires in certain places, and human encroachment on the Niger River flood basins for rice farming are also environmental problems. Dams built on the Niger River in neighboring Mali and Guinea, as well as inside Niger, are also mentioned as a cause for a decrease in water flow in the Niger River, which has a direct impact on the ecosystem. Another reason mentioned for animal loss is a lack of sufficient personnel to protect wildlife in parks and reserves.


Niger had a population of 15,730,754 people in 2011. Niger’s population has grown quickly from 1.7 million in 1960 to 3.3 million now, with a current growth rate of 3.3 percent (7.1 children per mother).

This pace of increase is among the greatest in the world, and it is a cause of worry for the government and international organizations. The population is mainly youthful, with 49.2 percent under the age of 15 and 2.7 percent above the age of 65, and rural, with just 21 percent residing in cities.

According to a 2005 survey, approximately 800,000 individuals (almost 8% of the population) in Niger are enslaved.

Ethnic groups

Niger, like other West African nations, has a diverse ethnic population. Niger’s ethnic composition is as follows: Hausa (53.0 percent), Zarma-Sonrai (21.2 percent), Tuareg (10.4%), Fula (French: Peuls or Peulhs; Fula: Fule) (9.9%), Kanuri Manga (4.4 percent), Tubu (0.4%), Arab (0.3%), Gourmantche (0.3%), other (0.2 percent ).


Niger is a secular nation, and separation of state and religion is maintained under Article 3 of the 2010 Constitution, as well as Article 175, which states that future additions or revisions may not change the republic’s secular character. Article 30 of the same constitution guarantees religious freedom. Islam, which has been practiced in the area since the 10th century, has significantly influenced Niger’s culture and morality. Islam is the most widely practiced religion, with 80 percent of the people adhering to it.

Christianity is the second most prevalent religion, with fewer than 20% of the people practicing it. During the French colonial period, missionaries introduced Christianity throughout the nation. Other urban Christian expatriate communities in Europe and West Africa are also included. Religious persecution is uncommon in Niger, which ranks 50th on the World Watch List for the degree of persecution faced by Christians for actively following their religion.

Language & Phrasebook

The official language of Niger is French, although relatively few people speak it outside of Niamey, and even then, don’t anticipate a high-level discussion with market merchants. Djerma (spoken mostly in Niamey and the neighboring Tillaberi and Dosso areas), Hausa, Fulfulde, and Tamashek (spoken by Tuaregs in the north), and Kanuri are among the native languages (spoken by Beri Beri). Outside of the American Cultural Center and a few large hotels in Niamey, English is useless. English-speakers may be found in border towns near the Nigerian border, such as Birni N Konni and Maradi. These individuals are generally from Nigeria’s south and are looking for anything from you. Regardless matter how nice they are, always listen to a professional guide over anybody who speaks some English.

You will acquire respect in an instant if you master around 20 phrases in the local tongue. Simply greeting people in their own language can make your vacation there go much more smoothly than you could have imagined.

The following are the most important Zarma/Djerma phrases:

  • Fofo: hello
  • Mate ni go? (mah-tay nee go?): How are you?
  • Sah-mai (sawm-eye): Fine
  • Mano…? Where is…?
  • Ai ga ba… (Eye gah bah): I want…
  • Wo-nae: That one
  • Toe: OK.
  • Ai (eye) MAH fah-ham: I don’t understand.
  • Ka-LA-tone-tone: Goodbye

The following are the most important Hausa phrases:

  • Sannu: Hello
  • Me sunanka : What is your name?
  • Kana LA-hiya: How are you?
  • LA-hiya LO: It’s all good.
  • Na GO-day: Thank you
  • Sai ANjima: Goodbye
  • Na GO-day, Na KO-shi: Thank you, I am full. (Polite response when offered food you are afraid to eat)

Some Arabic terms are also used frequently:

  • salam-u-laikum, which loosely translates as “peace be with you,” is said in Niger while entering a home or greeting someone.
  • al hamdallaye, which means to a Nigerien “Bless it, it’s done.” It may also be interpreted as “no, thank you.” The latter can also save you from having to taste potentially contaminated food or from dining at someone else’s house till your stomach bursts.
  • In-shah-allah, This translates as “God willing.” For example, “In-shah-allah, I’ll come to see your family.”


Because of decreasing global demand, Niger’s economy is more based on subsistence agriculture, animal husbandry, and reexport commerce, and less on uranium. The depreciation of the West African franc by half in January 1994 increased exports of cattle, cowpeas, onions, and goods from Niger’s tiny cotton sector. For operational costs and public investment, the government depends on bilateral and international assistance, which was halted after the April 1999 coup d’état. The World Bank granted a structural adjustment credit of $105 million in 2000-01 to assist promote budgetary changes. However, given the government’s dire financial position, changes may be tough. In 2000, the IMF granted a $73 million poverty reduction and growth facility for Niger, as well as $115 million in debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) program. Niger is the world’s poorest nation, with the lowest quality of life.

Entry Requirements For Niger

Visa & Passport

Visas are required by all nationals except:

  1. Nationals of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo, and Tunisia are eligible.
  2. Residents in possession of a valid Permis de Séjour or Visa de Séjour
  3. Transit travelers who do not depart the airport but continue their trip within 24 hours

The honorary consulate of the United Kingdom is located at 15 Maple Mews, Maida Vale, London NW6 5UZ (Tel: +44 20 7328-8180). An International Vaccination Certificate for Yellow Fever is needed, however Cholera vaccination confirmation is only required if traveling from a neighboring country where the illness has recently been reported to be on the rise. A copy of a letter from a travel agency confirming that a return ticket has been booked will also be needed for tourist visas. Single entrance visas cost GBP120, double entry visas cost GBP220, and a one-year multiple entry visa costs GBP260.

How To Travel To Niger

Get In - By plane

Niamey and Agadez both have international airports.

  • Flights from Europe and West Africa arrive in Niamey on a regular basis.
  • Air France is the only major airline operating direct flights from outside of Africa, although Point Air Niger, a small airline, travels weekly between France and Niamey.
  • Royal Air Maroc offers convenient connections through Casablanca.
  • Charter flights to Niamey and Agadez from Paris and Marseille
  • Air Algerie operates flights from Algiers to Niamey.
  • Afriqiyah fly from Tripoli.

There are a few commercial businesses and one mission aviation organization (SIMAir) that provide charter flights in small aircraft from Niamey.

Get In - By plane

Overland travel to Niger is possible from Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin, and Nigeria. Some daring individuals continue to traverse the Sahara from the north (Algeria), although the region is unsafe.

How To Travel Around Niger

In Niger, there are no railroads.

Over 2000 kilometers of the 10,000 kilometers of roads are paved, and attempts are being undertaken to enhance some of the portions that have previously been inexhaustibly repaired. On roads in good to acceptable condition, you may drive from Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso all the way to Diffa near Lake Chad. From Niamey to “Park W” in the south, the route is paved. After being in disrepair for years, the Zinder-Agadez road is being repaved. The route connecting Birni Nkonni, Agadez, and Arlit is in disrepair.

There are 27 airports/landing strips in the nation, with 9 having paved runways.

The Niger River is navigable for approximately 300 kilometers from Niamey to Gaya on the Benin border from mid-December to March.

Taxis in Niamey cost about XOF200 for short distances and XOF400 for trips nearly across the city. There is a taxi monopoly at the airport in Niamey, and the lowest you can get a cab for is XOF3,000 – and that’s if you bargain hard! However, if you walk south from the airport, you’ll come to a major road where you can get a ride from a beat-up van to the Grand Marché (Main Market), baggage included, for XOF100-150.

Get Around - By bus

The Nigerien government has lately established a bus service along the country’s main routes. While traveling by vehicle is thrilling and fun, it is also hazardous, very hot, and more costly. Furthermore, owing to banditry, they are compelled to pull over after midnight. Because these vehicles often depart in the dark, traveling a relatively small distance may take several days. The big buses are spanking new Mercedes buses, and they transport a soldier at night, allowing them to travel all night. Furthermore, because of their enormous size, they can skim over potholes that would damage smaller vehicles.

Get Around - Rent a car

There is virtually no way to hire a vehicle in the traditional sense, but a Hertz franchise opened in Niamey in 2005 and rentals Toyota RAV4s. You may also hire a full-size “cat-cat” (4×4 from the French quatre-quatre) with a driver/guide, but you will need to make arrangements with businesses that organize excursions.

Destinations in Niger

Cities in Niger

  • Niamey — Despite being both the administrative and commercial capital, it is probably the least congested and chaotic city in West Africa.
  • Agadez — For almost five centuries, it has been a trans-Saharan commercial center, home to a beautiful palace and numerous mosques, and a gateway to the surrounding Air Mountains.
  • Ayorou — Along a scenic stretch of the Niger River, with one of Niger’s finest marketplaces and a launching point for river excursions to Gaya.
  • Diffa — Peul is a hamlet in the middle of changing sand dunes and vanishing swampland that acts as a gateway to SE Niger and Lake Chad.
  • Dosso — features a modest ethnic museum, a vibrant market, and an even more vibrant chief’s palace
  • Maradi — Agriculture center (particularly peanuts), home to a beautiful chief’s palace, and close to seasonal rivers/floodplains that have resulted in unique terrain formations to the south
  • Tahoua — Stop en route to Agadez
  • Zinder — This Peul-Hausa city, Niger’s cultural center, features some of the most colorful artisan markets (pottery and tanning are local specialties), as well as a notable regional museum and sultan’s palace.

Other destinations in Niger

  • W National Park — beautiful national park, best accessible from Niamey
  • Koure — View the final giraffe herd in West Africa.
  • Balleyara Market — Two hours outside Niamey, you’ll find one of West Africa’s biggest livestock markets, as well as a colorful variety of other traditional market and artisan goods (Sundays)
  • Ayorou — Three hours from Niamey, this riverside village has a colorful, laid-back Sunday market as well as pirougue excursions to view hippos and islands.
  • Boubon — On an island in the Niger River, there is a bar/restaurant and cottages for hire on a weekly basis.
  • Termit & Tin Toumma National Nature and Cultural Reserve — The park preserves numerous species (including the highly endangered addax, Dama gazelle, and desert cheetah), the nomadic lifestyle, and includes beautiful desert scenery. It is one of Africa’s biggest reserves (twice the size of Costa Rica). Although it was founded in 2012, it will take some time for guides, ecotours, and facilities to become available.
  • Air and Ténéré Natural Reserve — a desert natural reserve that has been placed on the UNESCO World Heritage list

Food & Drinks in Niger

Food in Niger

Traditional local cuisine includes:

  • a thick millet porridge topped with an okra sauce, a pepper sauce, a tomato sauce, or a squash sauce, occasionally with vegetables and a few pieces of meat
  • rice with the aforementioned sauces
  • mushy macaroni with an oily crimson sauce
  • rice & beans
  • maize couscous with moringa leaves, black-eyed peas, and sauce (known as dumbou in Djera/Zarma and exclusively accessible in Djera/Zarma areas)

Availability varies greatly by area, however tourists may want to sample the following delectable specialties, which are often accessible as street food:

  • dumbou
  • kilishi: Beef jerky in three varieties: normal, peanut-spiced, and hot-pepper-spiced.
  • masa: sourdough pancakes with a peanut/hot pepper/ginger spice mix or brown sauce
  • fari masa: fried dough balls served with a squash/tomato salsa or sugar syrup
  • chichena: like fari masa above, but made from bean flour instead of wheat flour
  • koudagou (Djerma/Zarma): sweet potato chunks fried in sauce

Less unusual yet equally delicious:

  • brochettes — kabobs of meat prepared from beef, lamb, or goat
  • omelet sandwiches
  • mangoes: If they’re in season, they’re larger and juicier than anything else available in the Western world.
  • yoghurt: pasteurized, sweet, and readily accessible anywhere there is a refrigerator
  • fried fish sandwiches
  • ground beef sandwiches
  • green beans or peas with garlic (usually in bars and restaurants)

Be wary of the salads – even in the metropolis, they’re generally not suitable for western visitors.

Drinks in Niger

Drink lots of bottled or filtered water. You will get dehydrated at some time during your journey to Niger. It may be difficult to obtain bottled water at times, but ask for “Purewater” (pronounced pure-wata), which comes in sealed plastic bags for about XOF25 (XOF50 in some hard-to-reach places). You’ll also need to replace your salts more often than usual.

Remember that alcohol is usually prohibited in Muslim culture, so take additional precautions to keep inebriated, improper behavior behind closed doors and out of the public view.

The national beer is aptly named Biere Niger. The only other beer made locally is a franchise of the French West-African Flag brewery. Biere Niger is a good beer, although taste is subjective. Both are brewed in the same tank with the identical ingredients, with the only difference being the amount of reconstituted malt used in each batch. Everything else, including beer, boxed wine, and hard liquor, is imported.

Millet beer homebrew, made by Burkinabe immigrants, may be found in rare areas of the city. This is served in calabash gourd bowls. Some people equate the flavor to that of a dry, unsweetened cider.

Non-alcoholic beverages produced in the area are excellent. The safety of the water depends on its quality, which is usually OK in the capital but NOT OK in rural regions. They are either sold by ladies selling them from their homes (ask around), by young girls selling them from trays on their heads, or by young lads pushing coolers about.

Among these beverages are:

  • lemu-hari: a sweet lemony-gingery drink
  • bisap: a dark red kool-aid-type drink made from hibiscus leaves
  • apollo: a thick, pinkish-brownish drink made from the baobab fruit
  • degue: sweet yoghurt with small millet balls (like tapioca)

To drink, take a bite off of the bag’s corner.

Money & Shopping in Niger

Money in Niger

Niger uses the West African CFA franc (XOF), which is pronounced “say-eff-ah.” Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Senegal, and Togo also use it. While technically distinct from the Central African CFA franc (XAF), the two currencies are used interchangeably at par in all CFA franc (XAF & XOF)-using nations.

The French treasury backs both CFA francs, which are linked to the euro at €1 = XOF655.957.

US dollars and other foreign currencies are not accepted in everyday transactions; they must be exchanged for local currency via a bank or the black market. Exception: near the Nigerian border, the depreciating Nigerian currency Naira is allowed.

Shopping in Niger

Bargaining and haggling are necessary and anticipated. Before going into a negotiation, it’s wise to have a low and a high price in mind. If the price is more than you desire, just say thank you and walk away: if you offered a reasonable amount, you will be called back. If you offered too low a price, you will not be called back, but you may always return later and offer a higher price.

  • intricately imprinted leather boxes (ranging from small 5cm boxes to full-size trunks)
  • other leather goods
  • silver jewellery
  • colourful hand-woven wedding blankets
  • coloured straw mats (and here, we don’t mean the plastic mats from China)
  • fabric (only the Enitex brand is made in Niger, but there are many other kinds that are also good)

Festivals & Holidays in Niger

Niger’s government and people celebrate a total of twelve official public holidays. International commemorations, significant events in Niger’s history, and religious festivals are among them. As official public holidays, both Christian and Muslim holidays are celebrated. While France, the previous colonial authority, established Christian observances, the overwhelming majority of Nigeriens are Muslim.

Because Muslim holidays are based on the Islamic calendar and, like Christian Easter, change from year to year. Some Muslim festivals are also based on astronomical observations (e.g.: the observance of moonrise for Ramadan). National observances and secular international holidays are based on the Gregorian calendar, which is the main civil calendar used in Niger and the rest of the world.

Additional than official holidays, Nigeriens observe a variety of other holidays, festivals, and commemorations. Some are annual civic commemorations, while others are religious, ethnic, or regional festivals that are extensively observed exclusively by certain people or in certain regions. Other annual events, such as cultural festivals, marketplaces, or sports events, may be much anticipated but are not legally recognized holidays.

Official holidays in Niger

The twelve official public holidays recognized by the Government of Niger are listed below. Businesses, schools, and government offices are closed on these days. They are often the dates of public celebrations, political speeches, and huge gatherings.

Date name Remarks
January 1 New Year’s Day
April 24 Concord Day Commemorates the peace accords ending the Tuareg Rebellion in 1995
May 1 Laboua Day “la fête du travail (1er mai)”: Nigerien observance of International Workers’ Day
August 3 Nigerien Independence Day Commemoration of Niger’s 1960 independence from France
December 18 Nigerien Republic Day Commemoration of the First Republic of Niger, semi-independent under France, 1959.
December 25 Christmas Day

Festivals in Niger

Nigerians observe a variety of holidays and festivals. Many are regional, either partly or just locally recognized by the government, or represent the traditions of particular ethnic communities. They are:

  • The Cure salée is an annual meeting of Tuareg and Fulani nomadic tribes in Ingall (August or September).
  • Guérewol: At the conclusion of the rainy season, the “Bororo” Fulani matchmaking celebration (August or September). Guérewol, known for the customary makeup and dancing of young Fulani men looking for a wife, takes place in connection with the Cure salée, as well as at other traditional nomadic gathering places in northern Niger.
  • “Journée Nationale de la Femme Nigérienne” — (13 May). Women marched in Niamey during the National Conference period in 1992, seeking greater participation of women in national institutions. On November 25, 1992, a “National Commemoration” was made.
  • “National Festival of Youth, Sports, and Culture”: An annual government-sponsored national youth athletic and cultural tournament.
  • Lutte Traditionnelle National Championship (traditional wrestling). Contestants advance from regional championships to team competition, with one area receiving a coveted trophy—a ceremonial sabre.
  • “Foires agro-sylvo pastorales”: annual Agropastoral governance and cultural forum, Niamey ;
  • “Prix Dan Gourmou” : Annual music competition and festival, Niamey;
  • “FIMA”, “Festival International de la Mode Africaine” (International Festival of African Fashion) every two years in Niamey ;
  • “Rencontres Théâtrales du Niger”: National theater festival  ;
  • “Festival international de conte”/ ” Gatan – Gatan “: Festival of traditional story telling ;
  • “Salon international de l’artisanat pour la femme” (SAFEM): Women Artisans festival, Niamey;
  • Festival de l’Aïr” (27–29 December): Music and arts festival at Iférouane ;
  • ” Hotoungo ” at Gangui, a local traditional farmers gathering and festival;
  • ” Bianou ” festival at Agadez;
  • ” Wassan Kara ” festival at Zinder ;
  • The ” Guetna ” at Tassara, Annual festival among the nomadic Diffa Arabs.;
  • Annual Anza animist religious festival at Massalata – Konni, near Dogondutchi ;
  • Traditional fishermen’s festival at Karay-Kopto on the River Niger;
  • ” Gossi “, a Soninké animist festival at Karma-Songhaï on the River Niger;
  • “Fête de la girafe” (15 September), Kouré, near Niamey, celebrating the West African Giraffe native to the area;
  • le ” Sharow ” Puel festival ;
  • Traditional boxing tournaments (“Faka”) each year after harvest in December or January, Zinder Region;
  • ” Mani Hori “: festival of traditional Songhai women’s crafts, each year after harvest in December or January.

Traditions & Customs in Niger

Visitors are regarded like kings in Niger (according to a Koranic saying), so be cautious not to take advantage of the generosity you will be given. Generally, accept any little symbols and gestures (cokes, tea, small presents, etc.) that are given to you throughout your stay in Niger. It’s not a good idea to reject too much and to think, “These folks are too impoverished to offer me these things.” That is insulting since taking excellent care of guests is a source of pride and tremendous joy for many individuals. Don’t remark aloud when you observe poverty or items in disrepair, and please don’t remind Nigeriens of their country’s poverty.

Dress conservatively, with no shorts, skirts above the knees, or tank tops. Even in Niamey, women who wear revealingly may be considered disrespectful. Also, dress well since your appearance influences how well you are treated.

Avoid intoxicated behavior since alcohol is forbidden in the Muslim faith and is widely frowned upon in Niger.

Before taking a picture, always ask individuals, particularly camel drivers, market vendors, and the elderly. Many Nigerians continue to find it insulting.

Slavery is still prevalent in the interior regions, away from cities. Slaves may usually be identified by their plain, solid ankle bands on both feet, which resemble manacles and may possibly serve that function. Unless you’re feeling especially bold, it’s usually better to avoid discussing the topic with either victims or perpetrators.

Culture Of Niger

Nigerien culture is characterized by diversity, a result of the cultural crossroads that French colonization molded into a united state at the turn of the twentieth century. In the pre-colonial era, Niger was formed from four distinct cultural areas: the Zarma-dominated Niger River valley in the southwest; the northern periphery of Hausaland, consisting mostly of states that had resisted the Sokoto Caliphate and extending along the long southern border with Nigeria; and the Lake Chad basin and Kaouar in the far east, populated by Kanuri farmers and Touboupastor.

Each of these tribes, as well as minor ethnic groups like as the pastoral Wodaabe Fula, carried with them their unique cultural traditions to the nascent state of Niger. While successive post-independence governments have attempted to forge a shared national culture, progress has been slow, in part because the major Nigerien communities have their own cultural histories, and in part because Nigerien ethnic groups such as the Hausa, Tuareg, and Kanuri are but parts of larger ethnic communities that cross borders introduced by colonialism.

Until the 1990s, Niamey and the Zarma people of the surrounding area controlled governance and politics. At the same time, the majority of the people in the Hausa borders between Birni-N’Konni and Maine-Soroa has frequently turned to Hausaland in Nigeria for cultural inspiration rather than Niamey. Between 1996 and 2003, primary school attendance was approximately 30%, with 36 percent of men and just 25 percent of girls attending. Madrasas provide further education.

Stay Safe & Healthy in Niger

Stay Safe in Niger

Niger is a politically unstable country with extensive lawlessness. The most recent coup in early 2010 exacerbated the dangerous situation, and every visitor should carefully monitor independent news and maintain touch with their embassy. Vicious and cruel Al-Qaeda and Boko Haram militants are active in Niger and have abducted and murdered numerous people, therefore it is critical to be aware of and avoid off-limits areas.

In the last sixteen years or so, there have been many carjackings, kidnappings, and robberies in the area north of Agadez. The issue persists to this day, and visitors should expect the region to be basically lawless. Even if you have a guide and a 4×4 vehicle, you should not go beyond Agadez unless you are very confident in your abilities. The roads beyond this point are of poor condition, and robbers abound.

Avoid traveling in a private car late at night. Armed robbers sometimes operate between Galmi (central Niger) and Dosso-Doutchi (western Niger), as well as on the route to Gao, Mali in the Tillabery area. Normally, police roadblocks on major roads restrict criminal activity throughout the day.

The most common annoyances are young boys screaming “Anasara,” which means “foreigner” in most local languages and is taken from the Arabic term. Almost every time you encounter someone outside your hotel, you will be solicited for a cadeau. The term is French meaning ‘gift,’ and it is important to remember not to prolong the anguish this phrase causes to foreign workers in the nation.

Niamey has a higher degree of safety. You should be OK if you avoid markets after dark, use cabs, and take EXTRA precautions to avoid areas where roadways straddle ravines. There is a danger of pickpockets or purse straps being cut at marketplaces, but you are more likely to lose money if you haggle badly and in French.

Carrying a bag and a camera, seeming to be a tourist, and being white would undoubtedly attract unwelcome attention. The majority of the attention is from individuals attempting to legitimately get your money, either by selling you a toothbrush or by begging, but there are always a few dishonest people.

Stay Healthy in Niger

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is a great source of reliable health information for visitors visiting Niger.

Drink plenty of water when in Niger since the dry heat can dehydrate you without you realizing it. It is the most effective preventive measure you can take. Bottled water or water sealed in a bag (called pure-wata) is available in most places, although in a pinch, city tap water is well-chlorinated (according to one tourist; another American who lived in Niger for two years advises never drink unfiltered water anyplace! — even ice!). Well water, stream water, and country water should be avoided at all costs.

Make sure to refill both your salts and your drinks.

Wear loose, conservative clothing, a large hat, and plenty of sunscreen. If in doubt, dress like the natives do.

Malaria, particularly encephaletic malaria, is a concern in Niger, and it is chloroquine resistant in Niger. Take your precautions, use heavy-duty insect repellent (DEET is the best, but it is unpleasant), and consider sleeping beneath a mosquito net.

Giardia and amoebic dysentery are both very frequent. Unless you purchase it fresh from the grill, be cautious of any roadside food. Even fried foods may make you ill if the oil has been extensively used and is old. Salads and raw vegetables should be avoided. In addition, never consume unfiltered water (including ice).

Because schistosomiasis is prevalent in most water bodies in Niger, visitors should avoid swimming anywhere – except in chlorinated swimming pools.

If you are unable to maintain your health, the Clinique Pasteur (located in front of the Lycée Fontaine) offers clean facilities, sterile needles, and skilled, compassionate physicians. There are numerous clinics nearby, including the Clinique Gamkalley, but be wary of unclean needles, over-prescription, and pushy personnel.



South America


North America

Read Next


Niamey, Niger’s capital, is a bustling, relatively modern metropolis. Niamey is located in the Tillaberi area of Niger, on the banks of the Niger...