Traveling in Niger
Niger is a large desert nation located in the heart of West Africa. Of the Saharan nations, it’s one of only three that are completely landlocked. The welcoming population and desert life of Nigeriens is always what drew travelers to this former French colony. Unfortunately recent instability from a Tuareg rebellion coupled with turmoil in neighboring countries drastically reduced the number of visitors. This trip took me by surprise, as I was expecting hardship and suffering but instead I met a lot of wonderful people, both locals and expats alike!
The dusty capital of Niamey is also Niger’s largest city. Niamey is rather safe, so you’re free to walk around and explore the city market, visit the Grand Mosque, the Maorey Cathedral, national zoo, and other places by foot. There is a reasonable number of nice restaurants and bars built along side the Niger River, with are even accessible only by boat! Another point of interest nearby is West Africa’s last remaining Giraffe herd, only 45 minutes from downtown.
Perhaps one of the most unique cities in the Sahara, Zinder was once the capital of Niger until the early 1900’s. This colorful city has some of the most beautiful and amazing architecture in all of Africa. The most unique place to visit is the Sultan’s palace; a historic palace that still is in use today!
Most of Niger is made up of vast empty deserts. Some parts long the Niger river are lined with beautiful bands of green forests, as well as havens for wildlife. Hippos, herds of giraffes, crocs, and many of Africa’s big five can be spotted here.