About Niger

Niger is a landlocked country in the heart of Africa, at the south end of the Sahara. It borders on Chad, Nigeria, Algeria, Burkina Faso, Libya, Benin and Mali. Most people of Niger are muslims, although there are quite some differences in their practice depending on the region where they are from. People of Arab descent tend to be a bit stricter than the Haussa from the south.However, these differences seem to be slowly disappearing.

Niger was one of the last places in Africa to fall under colonial rule and in the case of Niger, it were the French that left their mark on the country and its inhabitants. French is still widely spoken and if you don't speak Haussa, Pulaar or any of the other languages spoken in Niger, you will probably (have to) get by with your French.

The capital city of Niamey is a nice and easy going town with colourful markets. More importantly, Niger has stunning natural beauty, especially in the Mountain ranges in the north of the country, but also houses a few old trading centers in the Sahara, such as Agadez and Zinder, that have a distinct mixture of arab/touareg and black african culture. The Hausa architecture in those towns is also worth a detour.

Speaking of detours: it is not always easy to travel in Niger. The roads themselves are not the biggest problems; actually they are not as bad as you might expect. But banditism and political strife between different factions can make certain areas unsafe.

The trans-Saharan routes to Algeria and Libya can be closed due to these circumstances. Try to check recent reports, under the section Trans-Sahara.

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