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The capital city of Niger, Niamey sits on the banks of the Niger River, with fresh breezes filling in the air as tourists unwind in this modern yet peaceful and quiet city. Niamey offers the simple comforts for a perfect getaway; start with exploring the markets for a spending a long day window shopping and getting a look around local commerce. The Grande Marche counts as one of the largest markets across West Africa, with packaged goods for import and export, local cultural products like clothing and handicrafts, as well as general purpose utensils. Culinary products including dishes and snacks, as well as covered and flea street sections are present. Special markets like the Wadatta Artisinal market, Petite Marche (fruit market) and Katako Marche (industrial market). The federal capital is decked with numerous official institutions like the Archaelogical conservation centre exhibiting dinosaur skeletons, and the De Dosso Regional Museum. A must visit is the Musee National du Niger, an outstanding structure offering numerous themed pavilions, each appreciating Hausa architecture, giving visitors a peek into the past and present of the city. The local community has an active sporting culture and trend, fuelled by the traditions of the indigenous tribes residing in the area, like the Tuareg, and the Fulani. The main hippodrome hosts weekly horse racing events to provide a competitive environment for betting. On rare occasions, national wrestling tournaments are also held in the city. Islam is the main religion amongst the entire community in the area, with the Grand Mosque as the largest Islamic landmark, built as a diplomatic gift from Libya. The Maore Cathedral is the main Christian landmark for the Christian community, with regular services and events promoting rites and sermons. Honouring the traditional leader of the region, the Sultan’s Palace in the area of Zinder is an enriching escapade towards Niger’s outskirts. It still seats the Sultan in power, built in red mud walls and fortifications, with walls adorning local artistic designs and guarded by red-clothed tribesmen. There are multiple cultural exchange centres, the most notable and biggest being the Franco Nigerien cultural centre, housing theatres, a library and a bar. A similar American cultural centre also exists within the city’s precincts, while the Oumarou Ganda Cultural Centre is the government’s effort for promoting Niger’s cultural education. These cultural centres also host a healthy environment for musical nights and evenings, with local musicians and rap bands organizing free ‘jamming sessions’ to promote their talent. Towards the outskirts, the Abaaba National Park is home to numerous species of wildlife as well as fauna spread across this region. A local zoo of Sahel animals also exists to house wildlife in caged enclosures to let visitors get a closer look. Sightseeing opportunities are mostly concentrated along the Niger River, with tented island encampments at Bourbon, Pillule Plage and the infamous Cap Banga Island. Apart from all the general attractions and landmarks, Niamey plays the role as the intellectual centre of skilled education in the entire region, specialising in fields of geology, administration and mining.
Leading airlines such as Turkish Airlines, Air France and Ethiopian Airlines help facilitate this travel.
On average, a flight time of 8 hours and above persists for these flights, with a single stopover.
There are no direct flights operating on the route.
The distance from the Diori Hamani International Airport is approximately 8.43 kilometres from the city centre.
Taxis are the most common way to travel to the city centre, with them costing more at night and being cheaper in day time, it’s recommended to prebook or ask your hotel to arrange you one. However, vans known as bush taxis also help travels to and from the airport.
While taxis remain the common option to commute, Niamey offers other modes of transportation including buses and boats. Busses and mini buses travel around the city and to nearby destinations on a regular basis and offer cheap rates to do so. Since Niger River runs through the city, you can find yourself a reasonable boat journey after confirming it’s headed in your desired direction. Pirogues and motorized canoes are some of the convenient options for a safari for the hippos, or just crossing the banks.
The months of November to March are ideal to visit this city, with moderate temperatures and no rainfall.
Be it located next to the river bank or in the heart of the city, accommodations are conveniently available. However, it city also offers a few guesthouse options. Chez Tatayi is great guesthouse offering a peaceful environment along with shady gardens and spotless rooms, board games and other interesting activities. In the heart of the city nests the Homeland Hotel sporting clean rooms, its best feature being its central location, as it is also in close proximity to the Grand Mosque. By the river camp tourists will find the Camping Touristique, although a long walk from the town it makes up for its closeness to the river and the cool breeze. With the urban complex growing, new facilities are rumoured to be introduced soon. Much of the standard options for tourists are run by foreign expats to facilitate foreign cuisines as well as convenient services. Huts and dormitories are some of the budget options in this category.