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City Guide: NiameyNiamey, the capital city of Niger, is located in the southwest part of the country. The city, which has developed during the French colonial era, became the capital in 1926. Niamey, situated on the east bank of Niger River, is the country's center of commerce, culture, and economy. The French influence is still perceived in the country, which has declared its indepence in 1960. As 98% of the population is Muslim, visitors from Turkey are approached with sympathy. One of the worst flood disasters of the last 100 years took place in September 2012, in Niger. Nigerien media extensively covered news pertaining to the relief efforts by organizations in Turkey. Prior to visiting Niger, you need to be vaccinated against yellow fever. The most suitable months to visit Niamey are between December and February, when the weather is mild and dry. The time period between June and October are when there are rain showers.
Despite being the country's capital, Niamey is a city that is newly developing. Although there are large public buildings, you can see Africa's traditional way of living in the city.
The most appealing place in the city is the banks of Niger River. Niger River divides the city into two. There is one solitary bridge on the river. There are numerous star-rated hotels and restaurants on the riverbank. Observing hippopotamuses during the boat ride you will take on the river is a distinct pleasure in and of itself. Especially the view of the sunset is breathtaking.
The center of the city can be stated as Boulevard de l'Independence, Independence Boulevard. The women and children walking around on the streets in colorful clothing presents a nice scenery.
Another interesting fact about Niamey is the fruit bats. You can see an amount of fruit bats here that is incomparable to any other capital city. They make up an interesting image up in the sky.
Street names in Niamey are being changed from time to time. For that reason, it is important for you to determine where you will be going in advance and obtain good directions.
Culture & Entertainment
Museums, Public Squares, Historical Locations, Monuments
The National Museum is one of the most visited places in the capital city. On many publications, it is presented among the best museums in Africa. This museum provides an important opportunity to get to know Niamey and Niger. There are hundreds of ethnic groups in Niger. In the museum, there are many pavilions that are individually dedicated to these groups. In these pavilions; clothing, articles, and objects belonging to the culture is on display. Another noteworthy resident of the museum is the 15 meter long crocodile skeleton. It evokes a feeling of awe in visitors who see it. You can also see many different ruins dating back to prehistoric times.
Another place to visit in Niamey is the Grand Mosque, “Grande Mosquée”. The mosque, located in the eastern part of the city, has impressive architecture with a monumental minaret and green dome. It is interesting with carved wooden outer gates, 16 adorned pillars, and a magnificent tiled dome. Outside worship hours, visitors are permitted to go up its minaret. The view of the city from the minaret, which can be reached by climbing 170 stairs, is breathtaking.
If you have time left, you can also stop by the zoo. However, this zoo is not the type of nature reserve you may be used to seeing in other African countries.
Cathedral de Maorey is interesting for its architecture. It has been built and decorated in a combination of European and local architectural styles.
The French Cultural Center (Centre Culturel Franco-Nigerien) and the Oumarou Ganda Cultural Center (Centre Culturel Oumarou Ganda) can be visited. Concerts and exhibitions are organized in these centers. Centre Pour la Formation et Promotion Musicales is the largest education and performance center in Niamey. If you obtain information about the schedule beforehand, you can listen to some local music here. Another place where you can meet local people is the hippodrome. There is no entry fee for this place. It may be interesting to see the atmosphere during races that take place here, usually on Saturdays.
The cafes located on the riverbank are ideal to take a break at, especially at sunset.
NIAMEY IN ONE DAY
If you have only one day in Niamey, you can start the city tour from the National Museum. Afterwards, you can stop by the Grand Market and get a chance to both observe the traditional life and buy souvenirs for your loved ones. You can take a break at one of the restaurants on the banks of Niger River and take a tour of the river on traditional boats later on. It is a distinct pleasure to watch the sunset here.
CITY TOURS AND TRANSPORTATION
The airport is located in the southern part of the city. The most convenient way of reaching the city center is using a taxicab. However, for those looking for a more reasonably priced option, we must point out that there are share taxis at a fixed price. The share taxis take you as far as Grand Marche. If your plane will be landing during the night, requesting a taxicab from the hotel where you made reservations at will be of convenience to you.
W National Park of Niger, which is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, is an important place to visit in Niger. Daily and overnight tours to the park, which is located 150 kilometers away from Niamey, are organized. Being rich in terms of biological diversity, the park is home to many mammals such as elephants and cheetahs, and species of birds. In the ecosystem formed by the Niger River, there are also many endemic plant species.
Following a 45 minute journey from Niamey, you can visit a giraffe herd. Guided tours are organized to the nature reserve that is located near Koure.
Boubon is a small town, approximately 25 kilometers northwest of Niamey, that is famous for its pottery. Pots and pans, and household items that are made from the mud taken from the riverbank are cooked in large pits. The objects that are left out by the roads to dry provide an interesting scenery. You can reach Boubon from the city center by share taxis.
Food & DrinkThe traditional food of Niger can be said to be couscous. Dishes with meat and chicken are cooked with sauces and served with either couscous or rice. The good quality and sanitary restaurants to eat in Niamey are generally located on the riverbank and in hotels. Since the French colonial era, it is possible to find high quality restaurants serving French cuisine in the city.
Grande Marche is one of the largest markets in Niamey and West Africa in large. Goods that come from all corners of the country meet buyers here. You can see all types of items in the marketplace from car parts to household items. You can also purchase fabrics sold in the market and have tailors in the marketplace make you local clothing.
Petit Marche is the most colorful market in Niamey. Here, you can see many fruit and vegetable vendors all in one place.
Yantala, Marché Albarka and Marché Bonkaney are other markets where you can buy souvenirs and gifts. Especially in terms of buying fabrics, there is a vast variety of good quality options.
Ticket Sales Offices: Niamey
Niamey: Airport Map Information
Diori Hamani Intl. Airport
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Niamey: Airport Map Information
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|Phone Code||:||+227 - 20|
|Language||:||French (official), Hausa|