Many travelers have a vague idea about this mysterious African country. Desert terrain, poor settlements and harsh climatic conditions — that’s all that is known about Niger. But those who were lucky enough to visit the republic return with stories about friendly people and amazing ancient cities on the edge of the Sahara.
Who and why comes to Niger
Traveling around Niger requires effort, so it is unlikely to be suitable for tourists with children. Beach lovers will not like it here either — the country has no access to water. There is also no developed tourist infrastructure, including roads and public transport.
Researchers are interested in Niger with an abundance of oasis cities, ancient monuments, Neolithic rock art and a dinosaur cemetery.
In the north of the state, the Aira Mountains are located, which are of interest to mountaineering enthusiasts and active tourists. And in the south, travelers are waiting for the ancient trading city of Agadez and the Zinder Sultanate, where you can get acquainted with the local customs and traditions of the inhabitants.
Wildlife lovers are also waiting for national parks that combine several climatic zones.
Double We National Park
The reserve is known not only in its own country — the national park has been awarded the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It occupies a kind of climatic niche between the savannah and the forest of West Africa.
The name of the park was due to the peculiar shape of the river flowing through the territory. Founded in 1954, it still remains a habitat for a large number of animals and birds. Baboons and African buffaloes, giraffes and leopards feel at ease here.
Abaaba National Park
This park was founded in 1987. The sole purpose of creating the reserve was to protect endangered animals, for which the territory at the junction of the Sahel and the Sahara was and remains home. At the same time, Abaaba undeservedly remained out of the attention of travelers for a long time.
Here the jungle meets the semi-savannah, and all the plains are trampled by herds of elephants. The area is also important for the conservation of the population of the extremely rare black rhinoceros.
Surrounded by sandy landscapes, this tiny city is famous for herds of amazing long-necked animals roaming around. This is the last major concentration of giraffes in West Africa. The opportunity to see them, and even in such numbers, attracts tourists.
It is worth noting that it will not be easy to find ungulates: from Kure to the capital, at least 60 km, you will have to get on a bad road, and then make a hiking trip with experienced guides.
The labyrinth of narrow streets intertwine and confuse tourists, making it difficult to get to the heart of Zinder. And above the city rises the palace of the Sultan — an ancient monument of architecture.
The main attraction remains the bustling bazaar, which stretches as far as the eye can see. It is easy to believe that this used to be the busiest stop on the camel caravan route on the trans-Saharan route.
Zinder is interesting for a number of reasons. Tourists are attracted by the tribal culture of the local population, the history of the period of French rule, as well as the special beauty of these places.
This city has a 1000-year history behind it. Locals tell a lot of tales and legends about the Sahelian camel caravans. The city is located in the heart of the country, surrounded by sun-scorched dunes of the Sahara desert.
The city itself is formed by a grid of narrow streets and small houses lined with mud bricks. The central figure of the city remains the mosque, the earthen towers-minarets of which once served as landmarks for trade caravans.
It is the third largest city in the country. Tourists arriving in Africa for the first time consider it just a stopover needed to resupply before heading to Zinder or further south. But here they are surprised to discover a city that is unlike any other in the country.
Maradi is a place of economic prosperity and lively trade. Here you can find all the attributes of shamans, jewelry and ingredients for magical rituals. Tourists will see the leader’s palace, towering on the square, and other attractions.
The traditional place where the Tuareg tribes of the northern desert lands traded with the Fulani people from the southern regions of the country. Thanks to this, amazing structures arose on the border of the two worlds. The city of Tahoua is a place where the two distinctive cultures of Niger interacted and mingled.
The market is central here. In addition to fresh food in its open spaces, tourists find totems and trinkets worn by local sorcerers or shamans. Outside the country, the city is also known as a center for phosphate mining.
Pink pomegranates, orange citrus fruits and ripe watermelons are not what you expect to see in the depths of the Sahara Desert. But the city of Timia is in a hurry to surprise the guests. A blooming oasis feeds its inhabitants throughout the year.
Small groups of low-rise cottages are surrounded by green fields, gardens and farmland. They stretch along the entire valley that cuts through the heart of the Air Mountains, delighting the eye with blooming date palms and lush green grasses.
This city has survived from the pre-colonial era unchanged. A kind of relic of bygone days, the former capital of the kingdom of Dosso has preserved the heritage and traditions of its ancestors.
Today the city is a mix of new and old, with low-rise concrete buildings and dilapidated yurts huddled between them. But the market is still bustling with life, and camels loaded with goods continue to arrive here from other regions.