The Republic of Niger is a country in Western America. It lies on a land are of almost 1,270,000 square kilometres, and is landlocked by Algeria, Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin, Nigeria, Chad and Libya. It is the largest nation in West Africa, and over 80 percent of its land area is the Sahara desert. The Niger River, after which the country is named, crosses the southwestern part of Niger. The capital and largest city is Niamey.
What to see & do
Guérewol Festival - Guérewol is an annual traditional Wodaabe cultural event, specifically an annual courtship ritual competition. It is held at the end of the rainy season in September. The gathering point is often In-Gall in northwest Niger. The event involves music and line dancing, as well as competitions for young men dressed in elaborate ornamentation to prove their worth to a young marriageable woman. The ritual is a famous tourist attraction in Niger, and has been featured in western films and magazines.
Baleyara Market - Baleyara is a town two hours away from Niamey. Every Sunday there is a massige animal market with horses, sheep, goats, and even camels and bulls for sale. There is also a traditional market where visitors can buy local arts and crafts such as traditional hand-woven blankets, carved spoons, black etched wooden bowls, and fabrics.
Termit & Tin Toumma National Nature and Cultural Reserve - The park encompasses the entire area of the Termit Massif and Tin Touma desert, adding up to a massive area of 70,000 hectares, making it the largest single protected area in Africa. The reserve is home to 30 species of mammals, over 150 species of birds, and several species of reptiles.
Niamey Grand Mosque - Niamey Grand Mosque is an Islamic mosque. It is the largest mosque in Niamey and was funded with money from Libya. The mosque has a minaret with 171 steps.
Koure - Koure, a town in southwestern Niger, is known for being near the last surviving herd of giraffes in West Africa. A tour can be arranged to see the giraffes, who are closer to the road during the rainy season.
How to get around
Renting a car by conventional means is most likely not an option, but some arrangements can be made with companies that organise expeditions. You might be able to rent a 4x4 with a driver or a guide. However, independent travelling might not be the best idea, as there have been reports of cars being forced to pull over at night due to banditry. A bus network covers the major routes of Niger and carries a soldier at night for protection. Taxis are also available, but you might have to haggle a lot.
How to get there
The main international airport in Niger is Diori Hamani International Airport, served by the airlines Air Côte d'Ivoire, Air Algérie, Air Burkina, Air France, ASKY Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, Royal Air Maroc, Sénégal Airlines, Turkish Airlines, and Westair Benin. There are flights to Niamey from Abidjan, Algiers, Ouagadougou, Paris, Addis Ababa, Lomé, Casablanca, Dakar, Istanbul, and Cotonou.