Niamey is the capital city of the African country of Niger. Unfortunately, in recent years Niger has suffered from internal strife including a civil war and a devastating famine. Of course, such issues make travelling to Niger a significant challenge. Non-essential travel to Niamey is generally not recommended; always check with a relevant national government for advice before travelling. If travel to Niamey is to be undertaken, the best time to visit in terms of the weather is from December to February when the temperatures are at their lowest at around 25 degrees Celsius on average. The rainy season lasts from May to September and the rest of the year can see temperatures above 40 degrees C. When booking a hotel and flight to Niamey, bear in mind that Niger celebrates both Christian and Muslim holidays. Other public holidays include Nigerien Independence Day on August 3rd and Nigerien Republic Day on December 18th. Usually, the best room rates and cheap flights to Niamey will be available outside of these celebrations.
Niamey, which is thought to have been founded in the 17th century, came to prominence in the 1890s when the French established a colonial post there. In subsequent years Niamey grew in population and importance, before becoming the capital of Niger in 1926. For visitors today, Niamey offers an authentic African melting pot incorporating the cultures of the local tribes as well as French colonial influences. Many visitors enjoy experiencing the bustling markets that are held in Niamey, the largest market of which is the Grand Marche. All manner of products can be purchased here and it’s a great opportunity to practice bartering skills and generally soak up the atmosphere. Elsewhere in Niamey, the National Museum of Niger houses a collection of Nigerien cultural items. One of the most famous exhibits is the Tree of Tenere which before being knocked down by a truck driver was believed to be the most isolated tree on Earth when it grew in Niger’s share of the Sahara Desert. Given the importance of religion in Niamey, a trip to the Grand Mosque is also recommended. It is the largest mosque in Niamey and features an impressive minaret.
The easiest way to get around Niamey is to use the numerous white taxi cabs in the city. Generally these taxis are shared by a number of passengers but for a higher price it is possible to rent them privately. As always, it is a good idea to try and negotiate a price before getting in the taxi as this can avoid a nasty shock at the end of the journey.
Diori Hamani International Airport (NIM) is the most likely arrival point for visitors to Niamey. The airport is located in the south of the city. If the flight lands during the day, it should be possible to catch a bush taxi to the Grand Marche in Niamey. For flights landing at night or for a more private transfer, private taxis can also be hired but these will be more expensive.