Niger, Africa - Stein Travel
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Niger is a landlocked country in the heart of Africa most famous for its diverse cultures and oases of wildlife amidst its mostly arid, desert landscape. The capital city is Niamey, a pleasant, fairly modern settlement with great open-air markets and a picturesque position along the Niger River. The National Museum is worth a visit, mostly for the impressive artisans collective which produces high-quality goods for fair but surprisingly non-negotiable prices. Travel can be arduous as the roads are mostly unpaved and potholed, plus banditry amounts to a night time curfews for cars. It is also astoundingly hot. The country's top attraction is W National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and home to abundant wildlife. Koure, south-east of Niamey is famous for its herd of giraffe, the last wild herd in West Africa. Other sites worth visiting are the old trading centres of Agadez with its vibrant Touareg and black African cultures, and Zinder with its maze-like old town and interesting Sultan's Palace. Niger was a former French colony, achieving independence in 1960. It suffers from periodic droughts, widespread corruption and poorly developed human capital, all which conspire to make this one of the poorest countries in the world. Niger also has the tragic distinction of having the highest fertility rate in the world (7.2 births per woman) and one of its highest infant mortality rates. Apart from aid workers and businessmen the only visitors Niger sees are intrepid backpackers and adventurers. Those that do take the trouble to visit report meeting some of Africa's most friendly and interesting people.

Information & Facts


Social etiquette and customs in Niger are, perhaps, a little two-sided - in the cities, the country's French influence predominates; while in the more rural areas, Muslim values prevail. To be safe, visitors to Niger should dress neatly and modestly at all times (making sure to cover their elbows and knees), and should refrain from boisterous public behaviour. Greetings are important in Niger: be friendly, and inquire after the person's health. Note that people do drink in Niger, although they aren't technically allowed to, so exercise caution and sensitivity in this regard. In some areas, it is frowned upon for a woman to smoke in public. Always ask permission before taking someone's picture, and do not photograph military personnel or installations. Always use your right hand when greeting, eating, or accepting gifts, as the left hand is considered unclean.

Duty Free

Visitors to Niger age 15 and older may import the following goods duty-free: 200 cigarettes/100 cigarillos/25 cigars/250g tobacco, one bottle of wine and one bottle of spirits, 0.5 litres eau de toilette and 0.25 litres perfume.

Passport Visa

All visitors must have a valid passport. It is highly recommended that passports have at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.

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