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Niamey Travel Guide, Niger

Niamey, Travel guide – Location

Niamey is the largest Nigerian city and is located in the south western side of the country 350 miles from Kano and 411miles from Abuja. Niamey travel guide will provide a short but complete description of the city’s main features.

Niamey, Travel guide – Geography

Located on both banks of the Niger River the city covers a wide area of about 300 square meters at an average elevation of 200m. The city’s landscape is dominated by the surrounding fertile lands and by the river with its small marshy islands.

The local climate is arid with more moisture than in other parts of the country, still during the dry season it is incredibly hot out here and absolutely no rainfalls. From June to September humidity increases but average temperatures do not go bellow 31ºC while in the dry season days are hot and the night rather chilly with averages of 18ºC.

Niger River is one of the largest in this side of the country and plays a crucial role for the city.

Niamey, Travel guide – Flora and Fauna

This side of Niger has a very rich flora and fauna due to the milder climate, topography and the presence of the Niger River. However trees are scarce, the vegetation being of savannah type with few species of shea, mahogany, eucalyptus, tamarind or baobab trees and important surfaces covered with grass. These places are perfect for the grazing animals like the giraffes, gazelles or elephants but also for the carnivorous ones like the lions and hyenas or for the smaller ones like the vipers, scorpions or insects.

The waters of the river are also abundant in fauna mainly fish, turtles, crocodiles and different species of water snakes. Niamey houses a beautiful botanical garden and a zoo, very popular among tourists, as a part of the local National Museum.

Niamey, Travel guide – Transport

Getting to Niamey can be quite easy if you decide to travel by air, arriving at the Diori Hamani International Airport and then taking a taxi or bush taxi to the city. Buses are usually crowded and slow, making you travel even more tiring while taxis can be found everywhere especially during the day at a reasonable price. Bush taxis are also a good option though it can get crowded during rush hours. There are also several highways which connect the city with other important locations in Niger or abroad and of course the option of traveling by boat. The latter one is not very reliable due to the fact that there are no regular ferry routes from the city, only the pirogues.

Within the city there is only the bus or taxi option for getting around, the first one being more comfortable and more efficient.

Niamey, Travel guide – Population and Economy

The capital city of Niamey houses around 700.000 people, most of them Muslims from the Haussa ethnic group. The number of the inhabitants keeps growing year after year due to the numerous people coming from rural areas and settling here. The official language spoken in Niamey is French but many people speak Zarma, Hausa or other regional dialects.

Economy in Niamey is based on agriculture, crafts and commerce, tourism and industry. Agriculture mainly produces beans, cassava, rice and cotton for internal use but also for exporting. This area also exports uranium and different manufactured items like carpets, clothing, jewels, skins and more. Several local facilities produce wheat flour, sugar, oil, beer and cotton fabrics but in very small quantities.

Niamey, Travel guide – Cuisine

Local cuisine in Niamey is wonderfully flavored, with a unique taste created throughout time as a result of the mixture between the African, Arabian and European ones. Some of the characteristic spices used here are the cinnamon, saffron and ginger in combination with the freshest vegetables and meat. Due to the dominating Muslim religion within the city many dishes include lamb or mutton meat as main ingredients along with rice, couscous or wheat dumplings. Some of the traditional treats are the efo-riro, a nice meat or fish and vegetables stew, ewa dodo, made with seafood and peas and apon ogbono which is a stew made with meat and different vegetables, fried and then boiled sometimes adding also some smoked fish.

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