Niger Safari Tours & Holidays
Niger or the Niger, officially the Republic of the Niger, is a landlocked country in West Africa named after the Niger River. Niger is bordered by Libya to the northeast, Chad to the east, Nigeria to the south, Benin to the southwest, Mali to the northwest, Burkina Faso to the southwest, and Algeria to the northwest. More than 80 percent of this landlocked country is covered by the Sahara Desert.
Named after the Niger River, Niger is the largest nation in West Africa. The Sahara Desert covers more than 80 percent of its land. Even its non-desert portions are threatened by drought.
Niger’s hot and dry landlocked position has put it at a great disadvantage. It is one of the poorest countries in the world, with low literacy, lack of infrastructure, and little access to health care.
Commercially, Niger has a weak transportation system with few paved roads and no railways. The Niger River is also unnavigable because it is too shallow for boats the majority of the year. Niger’s economy is based on some of the world’s largest uranium deposits — making up as much as 70 percent of its exports — as well as livestock and crops, such as pearl millet and cassava.
Niger has stunning natural beauty, especially in the Mountain ranges in the north of the country, but also houses a few old trading centers in the Sahara, such as Agadez and Zinder, that have a distinct mixture of Arab/ Tuareg and black African culture. The Hausa architecture in those towns is also worth a visit for tourists. The wild giraffe herd lives near Koure which is only around sixty kilometers from Niamey on a paved road. You will need a 4×4 vehicle and a guide, however. The giraffes live near many people and are rather curious and friendly. You can approach within ten meters or so before they become more cautious. The locals are also very friendly. Don’t be surprised if you are invited into someone’s home. In such circumstances, a small gift would always be appreciated.
How to get to Niger
Most travelers arrive via Niamey International Airport (NIM), where most flights come in at night and the cool air outside welcomes you into a relatively relaxed taxi parking lot from an African standpoint. You are not hassled or hustled much here, which can come as a relief after braving the likes of Lagos and similar Afro capitals, even major tourist ones. Air France, Royal Air Maroc, Turkish Airlines, Burkina Airlines, Air Ivoire fly to the capital, but international flights to Agadez has been discontinued several years ago. The immigration process is a pleasure and very friendly, and the officials often let your friends or the party coming to pick you up wait inside the immigration area. Everything is quiet, secure, and relaxed, and Niamey is one of the tamer beasts of the west when it comes to African cities.
Passport, Visa, and Entry requirements for Niger
According to Niger’s visa policy, only the citizens of 19 countries can enter Niger without a visa and stay there for up to 90 days. Visas on arrival are also available, but those who want one must have a pre-approval letter from the national police and enter the country via Niamey. The passport is held for one business day, and you must return the next day to the Director-General of Immigration to register and take back your passport. In all the other cases, a consular visa is required from the nearest diplomatic mission of Niger. African countries 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, as well as those of Hong Kong and you, have to apply through their embassy near you and ensure your passport is valid for at least 3 months from the time of entry into Niger.
Visas are $100 for most foreign nationals and admit tourists and businessmen for 3 months from the date of entry. They are also valid for 3 months. You must show yellow fever (yellow card) vaccination upon arrival, but all else is relatively smooth here and corruption-free at least to your face as an incoming/outgoing visitor.
The US Embassy in Washington DC for Niger grants visas to anyone who applies and is eligible. You need not be American, and can quite literally mail your application in from anywhere in the world and have your visa issued and sent back!
The health sector of Niger
The private sector includes around 200 health establishments, seven supply centers, and 42 private pharmacies. The health system is under-resourced. More than 50% of the population does not have access to health services. The quality of available health services and their coverage are both severely limited so ensure you contact your insurance company for an evacuation plan in case of any danger or health concern
Malaria and Yellow fever vaccination for Niger
Proof of vaccination or an official yellow fever vaccination certificate is required upon arrival in Niger and Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease transmitted by mosquitoes. You cannot be vaccinated against malaria so ensure you have antimalarial drugs with you and sleep under a mosquito net.
Currency of Niger
The national currency of Niger is West African CFA franc (xof; symbol CFA) = 100 centimes. Notes are in denominations of CFA 10, 000, 5,000, 2,500, 2,000 and 1,000. Coins are in denominations of CFA 500, 250, 200, 100, 50, 25, 10, 5 and 1. Niger is part of the French Monetary Area.
Official Language of Niger
Niger has 11 official languages, with French being the official language and Hausa the most spoken language. Depending on how they are counted, Niger has between 8 and 20 indigenous languages. The discrepancy comes from the fact that several are closely related, and can be grouped together or considered apart.
Best time to travel to Niger
The best time to visit Niger is in January and February and July until December when you will have a hot or very hot temperature and none till limited rainfall. The highest average temperature in Niger is 42°C in April and the lowest is 34°C in January.
What to wear in Niger
Travelers visiting Niger should bring loose conservative clothing. Given the hot climate, light-colored clothing made out of breathable fabrics like cotton and linen is recommended. Women should bring skirts that go below the knee.
What to bring while traveling to Niger
What pack while traveling to Niger is one of the key aspects of your preparation as the country is hot and it has Islamic influence.
- Ziplock plastic bag to protect your things from dust
- European electrical adaptor
- Photocopies of visa
- Photocopies passport
- Light sleeping bag or sheet
Car hire and driving in Niger
In Niger people drive on the Right You should check advice on your Government website before planning on driving abroad in Nigeria as there are travel advisories in place for many areas of Nigeria and curfews in force in some parts of the country. Most Governments also recommend against self-driving in Nigeria.
Accommodation in Niger
The main capital Niamey has good hotels but outside Niamey, things start to get pretty local and rust so be prepared while traveling to Niger and don’t expect too much in terms of Luxury in Accommodation
Local food of Niger
Staple foods include millet, rice, cassava, sorghum, maize, and beans. Couscous is saved for special occasions. Porridge, wheat dumplings, and beignets are some of Niger’s popular snacks.
Tipping while Travelling in Niger
Tipping is appreciated in Niger and, while a service charge is generally added to restaurant bills, extra tips are still appreciated. Taxi drivers, tour guides, barmen, and porters all take tips. A 10 percent tip is customary.
Further information for Niger
Visitors are treated like kings in Niger (there is a Koranic proverb to that effect), so be careful not to abuse the hospitality you will be shown. For the most part, try to accept all the small tokens and gestures (cokes, tea, small gifts, etc.) that are offered to you during your time in Niger. It really isn’t good to refuse too much and don’t think “these people are too poor to give me these things”. That is offensive as taking good care of guests is a point of honor and gives people great pleasure.
Safety of Niger
Please be advised that there are risks to know about when visiting Niger. Terrorism and general violence happen and can be targeted toward Westerners. While violence has dropped a bit in comparison to past years, it still happens on occasion. Remain alert and monitor media before arriving and while in the area. Terrorist groups operate in the areas bordering Mali, Libya, and throughout northern Niger. If travel is unavoidable, consult expert guidance and only stay at hotels with an armed security presence you can check the US console in Nigger for Updates.
FAUNA & FLORA
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