Niger (pronounced: nee-ZHAIR) is an arid, landlocked country of the Sahel with a population of 12 million. It is bordered by Algeria, Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin, Nigeria, Chad and Libya. Niger is a former French colony which was granted independence in 1960. The land is mostly desert plains and dunes, with rolling savanna in the southeast with nothing much to see.
Not until 1993, 35 years after independence from France, did Niger hold its first free and open elections. A 1995 peace accord ended a five-year Tuareg insurgency in the north. Coups in 1996 and 1999 were followed by the creation of a National Reconciliation Council that effected a transition to civilian rule by December 1999. In 2009, a coup d'état toppled the elected-turned-dictator government, and returned Niger to an electoral democracy.
Niger's economy centers on subsistence agriculture, animal husbandry, reexport trade, and increasingly less on uranium, because of declining world demand. The 50% devaluation of the West African franc in January 1994 boosted exports of livestock, cowpeas, onions, and the products of Niger's small cotton industry. The government relies on bilateral and multilateral aid — which was suspended following the April 1999 coup d'état — for operating expenses and public investment. In 2000-01, the World Bank approved a structural adjustment loan of $105 million to help support fiscal reforms. However, reforms could prove difficult given the government's bleak financial situation. The IMF approved a $73 million poverty reduction and growth facility for Niger in 2000 and announced $115 million in debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. Niger is the world's second poorest country and has the world's lowest standard of living.
The Hausa (Zarma and Songhai) make up the largest ethnic groups of Niger.
Over 20% of Nigeriens are made up of nomadic and livestock raising tribes, including Fulani, Tuareg, Wodaabe, Kanuri, Arabs and Toubou.
The official language in Niger is French, although very few people speak it outside Niamey and even there do not expect a high level conversation with the traders at the markets. The local languages include Djerma (spoken mainly in Niamey and the bordering Tillaberi and Dosso regions), Hausa, Fulfulde and Tamashek (spoken by Tuaregs in north), and Kanuri (spoken by Beri Beri). English is of no use outside the American cultural center and a few big hotels in Niamey. However, you will find English-speakers in border towns along the Nigerian border, such as Birni N Konni and Maradi. These people are usually from Nigeria to the south and in general want something from you. As friendly as they may be, always listen to a professional guide over anyone that speaks some English.
If you learn about 20 phrases in a local language, you will gain respect in a heartbeat. Simply greeting people in their local tongue will make your trip there smoother than you would have ever thought possible.
Top essential Zarma/Djerma phrases:
Top essential Hausa phrases:
Some Arabic words are also common:
Visas are required by all nationals except:
The UK honorary consulate at 15 Maple Mews, Maida Vale, London NW6 5UZ (Tel: +44 20 7328-8180) offers a relatively efficient service. An International Vaccination Certificate for Yellow fever is mandatory, but Cholera vaccination certification is required only if travelling from a neighbouring country where an outbreak of the disease has been recently reported. For tourist visas, a copy of a letter from the travel agent certifying that a return ticket has been purchased will also be required. Single entry visas are GBP120, double GBP220 and a multiple entry visa valid for one year costs GBP260.
Overland travellers can acquire a visa from the consulate in Parakou, Bénin. A reference in Niger is required and the consul will issue a 30-day visa for 22,500 FCFA (€34) on the spot (January 2016). The Nigerien embassy in Abuja, Nigeria offers up to 90 days, multiple-entry visa for NGN 20,000 (€39), 180 days is also available for a higher price. Requirements are two passport photos and a reference in Niger. They will send your application to headquarters in Niamey, which usually takes a long time to reply. But if you explain that you are short on time they will often be happy to give you the visa anyway (November 2016).
There are a few private companies and one mission aviation group (SIMAir) that do charter flights from Niamey in small planes.
There are no railways in Niger.
Of the 10,000km of highways over 2000 km is paved and efforts are being made to improve some of the sections that have previously been endlessly under repair. You can travel from Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso all the way to Diffa, near Lake Chad on roads that are in decent to tolerable condition. The road from Niamey to "Park W" in the south is paved. The Zinder-Agadez route is being repaved after being in severe disrepair for years. The Birni Nkonni-Agadez-Arlit road is in poor shape.
The country has 27 airports/landing strips, 9 of which have paved runways.
Taxis in Niamey charge about CFA 200 if the distance isn't too long, or CFA 400 for going almost across the city. At the airport in Niamey there is a taxi monopoly and the lowest you'll get a taxi for is CFA 3,000 - and that's if you haggle a lot! However, if you walk south from the airport you'll hit a main road and for CFA 100-150 you can get a ride from a beat up van to the Grand Marché (Main Market), luggage included.
The Nigerien government has recently set up a bus service along the major routes of the country. While taking cars is exciting and interesting, they are dangerous, extremely hot, and more expensive. Plus, they are forced to pull over after midnight due to banditry. Because these cars often only leave in the evening, it can take several days to travel a relatively short distance. The large buses are brand new Mercedes buses and they carry a soldier at night so they may drive all night long. In addition, due to their large size, they can skim over potholes that would destroy the smaller vans.
There is almost no possibility to rent a car in the usual sense, although in 2005 a Hertz franchise came to Niamey and rents Toyota RAV4s. Also, you can rent a full-size "cat-cat" (4x4 from the French quatre-quatre) with a driver/guide, but in most cases you will have to arrange with companies that organise expeditions.
The currency of the country is the West African CFA franc, denoted CFA (ISO currency code: XOF). It's also used by seven other West African countries. It is interchangeable at par with the Central African CFA franc (XAF), which is used by six countries. Both currencies are fixed at a rate of 1 euro = 655.957 CFA francs.
US dollars and other foreign currency are not accepted in daily transactions, only to exchange into local money via a bank or black market. Exception: near the border of Nigeria, the devaluing Nigerian currency Naira is accepted.
Ecobank take Master Card and Visa card at their ATMs in Senegal.
Bargaining and haggling is essential and expected. It's best to have a low price and a maximum price in mind before entering into a negotiation. If the price is higher than you want, just say thanks and walk away: if you were offering a fair price you will be called back. If you were offering too low a price, you won't be called back, but you can always go back later and offer more.
Nigerien artisan specialities include:
See the Niamey section and the Balleyara section for sample prices of these goods and where to find them.
Local, traditional food includes:
Availability varies widely by region, but visitors may wish to try the following delicious specialities, usually available as street food:
Less exotic but also tasty:
Be careful of the salads — even in the city, they're usually not OK for western travellers.
Keep in mind that drinking alcohol is generally forbidden in Muslim culture, so take extra care to keep drunken, inappropriate behaviour behind closed doors and out of the public eye.
The national beer is called, appropriately, Biere Niger. The only other locally produced beer is a franchise of the French West-African Flag brewery. While taste is in the eye of the beerholder, Biere Niger is decent. Both are brewed in the same tank from the same ingredients with the slightest variation on how much reconstituted malt they put in each batch. All other beer, boxed wine, and hard liquor is imported.
In rare pockets of the capital you can find millet beer homebrew, brewed by Burkinabe immigrants. This is drunk out of calabash gourd bowls. Some compare the taste to a dry, unsweetened cider. See the Niamey section for directions.
Locally-made non-alcoholic drinks are delicious. Safety depends on the water quality: generally OK in the capital and NOT OK in rural areas. They are either sold by women out of their houses (ask around), by young girls from trays on their heads, or by young boys pushing around coolers. These drinks include:
To drink, you bite the corner off the bag.
Patience. If you haven't learned it before you went to Niger, you probably will.
Volunteering would be your best bet here, as many people in the rural areas have been hit by drought.
Niger is politically unstable and lawlessness is widespread. The latest coup d'état in early 2010 increased the unstable situation and every traveller should follow independent news closely and stay in contact with their embassy. Vicious and sadistic Al-Qaeda and Boko Haram members are present in Niger and have kidnapped and killed many, so it is essential to know the off-limit regions and avoid them
In the region north of Agadez, there have been many carjackings, kidnappings and robberies in the past sixteen or so years. The problem continues to this day, and tourists should consider the area essentially lawless. You should not venture beyond Agadez even if you have a guide and a 4x4 vehicle unless you seriously know what you are doing. The roads past this point are of terrible quality and bandits are abundant.
Avoid driving late at night in a private vehicle. Occasionally armed robbers will operate near the town of Galmi (central Niger) and around Dosso-Doutchi (in western Niger), as well as on the road to Gao, Mali in the Tillabery region. Normally, there are police checkpoints on the main highways which limit criminal activities during the day.
The main annoyances you are likely to meet are young boys shouting "Anasara," which means 'foreigner' in most local languages, derived from the Arabic word. You will also be asked for a 'cadeau' pretty much every time you see a person outside your hotel. The word is French for 'gift,' and it is best to remember not to perpetuate the misery this word causes to foreigners working in the country.
In Niamey the safety level is better. If you stay away from markets after dark and use taxis and are EXTRA careful to avoid where the streets cross ravines, you shouldn't run into any problems. In markets there is a risk of pickpockets or handbag straps being cut but you are more likely to lose money by haggling poorly and in French.
Carrying a backpack and camera, looking like a tourist, and especially being white, will definitely draw some unwanted attention. Most of the attention is from people who try to get your money legally, either by selling you a toothbrush or by begging, but there are always a few less honest people.
The Centers for Disease Control is an excellent resource for authoritative advice on health issues for travellers to Niger.
Drink lots and lots of water while in Niger because the dry heat will dehydrate you and you won't realize it. It is the best preventative step you can take. Bottled water or water sealed in a bag (called pure-wata) is available in most of the cities but in a pinch, city tap water is well-chlorinated (this is according to one traveller; another American who lived in Niger for two years says never drink unfiltered water anywhere! — that includes ice!). Be particularly wary of well water, stream water, and rural water.
Be sure to replenish your salts as well as liquids.
Wear loose conservative clothes, big hats, and lots of sunscreen. If in doubt, wear what the locals wear.
Malaria, including encephaletic malaria, is a problem, and is chloroquine resistant in Niger. Take your prophylaxes, use heavy-duty insect repellent (DEET is best, though nasty), and consider carrying a mosquito net to sleep under.
Giardia and amoebic dysentery are common. Be wary of any roadside food, unless you buy it hot off the grill. Even items fried in oil could make you sick if the oil has been heavily used and is old. Best to avoid salads and uncooked veggies. Also, never drink unfiltered water (including ice).
Schistosomiasis is present in most water bodies in Niger, so travellers should avoid going in the water everywhere — except chlorinated swimming pools.
In case you were unable to stay healthy, the Clinique Pasteur (situated in front of the Lycée Fontaine) has clean facilities, sterile needles, and competent, sympathetic doctors. The Clinique Gamkalley and many other clinics are around, however, you may need to watch out for dirty needles, over-prescription and aggressive staff.
Visitors are treated as kings in Niger (there is a Koranic proverb to that effect), so be careful not to abuse the hospitality you will be shown. For the most part, try to accept all the small tokens and gestures (cokes, tea, small gifts, etc.) that are offered to you during your time in Niger. It really isn't good to refuse too much and don't think "these people are too poor to give me these things". That is offensive as taking good care of guests is a point of honour and gives people great pleasure. Don't comment out loud when you see poverty or things in disrepair and please don't remind Nigeriens about how poor their country is.
Dress conservatively, which means no shorts, no skirts above the knees, and no tank tops. For women, dressing revealingly can be seen as very offensive, even in Niamey. Also, dress nicely, as clothes determine how well you are treated back.
Avoid drunken behaviour, since alcohol is prohibited in the Muslim religion and greatly frowned-upon in Niger.
Always ask people, especially camel drivers, market sellers, and the elderly, before taking a photograph. Many Nigeriens still find it offensive.
Slavery is still relatively common in the central areas, away from the towns. You can generally spot slaves by the unadorned, solid ankle bracelets on both feet, which look like manacles and may well serve that purpose. Unless you feel particularly brave, discussion of the subject with either victims or perpetrators is probably best avoided.
See the Friends of Niger website for discussion boards where you can ask questions before you go to Niger and maybe get some Nigeriens or others to fill you in.
A brief yet detailed report on the country of Niger with updated information on the map, flag, history, people, economics, political conditions in government, foreign affairs, and U.S. relations.
The spirit of great travel journalism is alive and well in this stunning new large-format landscape book by National Geographic Traveler First Prize winner Jay Dunn. Over one hundred and thirty striking photographs complement this collection of essays and observations on an African adventure, where the photographer searches for the beauty of everyday life, leading to memorable people and some extraordinary experiences. An excerpt from the book: A pale sun was low on the horizon when the Wednesday afternoon bus roared into town, stirring up clouds of fine gritty dust among the low-slung buildings. In this fading light, one could be forgiven for thinking of the Wild West, except our heroes were turbaned Africans, wrapped head to toe against the sun, and in the case of the Tuareg, swords at the ready... This was to be one of the stranger nights I would spend in Africa, an auburn crescent moon peeking out behind the clouds, but one I would never forget, padding through shin-deep sand in the dark with a stranger in search of a shop just over there, hauling an unconscious Frenchman off the ground and laying him out on restaurant tables to wait for a doctor, carrying a real ceramic plate of food for miles through inky black alleys, murmuring cows and the hush of a town battened down for the night, lights winking out behind thick walls and the anticipation of coolness at dawn.
City Maps Niamey Niger is an easy to use small pocket book filled with all you need for your stay in the big city. Attractions, pubs, bars, restaurants, museums, convenience stores, clothing stores, shopping centers, marketplaces, police, emergency facilities and the list goes on and on. This collection of maps is up to date with the latest developments of the city. This city map is a must if you wish to enjoy the city without internet connection.
2nd Ed. 2013 1:1,000,000/1:1,950,000 Burkina Faso, formerly the French territory of Haute Volta, is one of those quiet countries of Africa that never seem to hit the headlines. It is typical of several of the countries of Africa that we have mapped it sells steadily, but not spectacularly, and then all of a sudden runs out of copies. We are very pleased that the Codolo family of France agreed to provide us with numerous photos and improved road information as a result of their recent trip to what is actually one of the more interesting interior countries of the continent. We have also been able to re-draw and improve inset maps of the capital Ouagadougoa and of Bobo-Dioulasso, the main trading city on the border with Mali.
Curse of the Black Gold: 50 Years of Oil in the Niger Delta takes a graphic look at the profound cost of oil exploitation in West Africa. Featuring images by world-renowned photojournalist Ed Kashi and text by Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, prominent Nigerian journalists, human rights activists, and University of California at Berkeley professor Michael Watts, this book traces the 50-year history of Nigeria’s oil interests and the resulting environmental degradation and community conflicts that have plagued the region. Now one of the major suppliers of U.S. oil, Nigeria is the sixth largest producer of oil in the world. Set against a backdrop of what has been called the scramble for African oil, Curse of the Black Gold is the first book to document the consequences of a half-century of oil exploration and production in one of the world’s foremost centers of biodiversity. This book exposes the reality of oil’s impact and the absence of sustainable development in its wake, providing a compelling pictorial history of one of the world’s great deltaic areas. Accompanied by powerful writing by some of the most prominent public intellectuals and critics in contemporary Nigeria, Kashi’s photographs capture local leaders, armed militants, oil workers, and nameless villagers, all of whose fates are inextricably linked. His exclusive coverage bears witness to the ongoing struggles of local communities, illustrating the paradox of poverty in the midst of plenty. The publication of Curse of the Black Gold occurs at a moment of worldwide concern over dependency on petroleum, dubbed by New York Times journalist Thomas Friedman as "the resource curse." Much has been written about the drama of the search for oil—Daniel Yergin’s The Prize and Ryszard Kapus´cin´ski’s Shah of Shahs are two of the most widely lauded—but there has been no serious examination of the relations between oil, environment, and community in a particular oil-producing region. Curse of the Black Gold is a landmark work of historic significance.
This chapter illustrates with photo and word my journey onwards into West Africa to a rarely-visited country, Niger. One of the poorest countries on Earth, blisteringly hot and dry, I was confronted with extreme poverty as soon as I hit the capital. The journey to the capital itself was an adventure, with various forms of transport and long waits to leave!Please continue my trip of a lifetime with me! Follow as I find some amazing hospitality in a very poor city in the centre of Africa. As I journey to the Sahara along dusty roads without any seven-elevens! Discover a place you might not even have heard of - Niger!
In 1795 Mungo Park, a twenty-four year old surgeon, set out from the Gambia to trace the course of the Niger, a river of which Europeans had no first-hand knowledge. Travels in the interior districts of Africa is his Journal of that extraordinary journey. He travelled on the sufferance of African rulers and soon came to depend for his survival on the charity of African villagers. Before he reached the Niger, he endured months of captivity in the camp of a Moorish chief. Yet throughout his travels, Park maintained a remarkable empathy for African societies and beliefs. He recorded what he saw as accurately as he could, and without presuming European superiority.
For nearly eight years as the monthly columnist for Outside magazine, and in his award-winning books, Mark Jenkins has held fans spellbound with his riveting accounts of expeditions to remote parts of the globe. In To Timbuktu, he sets out with three friends to attempt their first descent of the Niger River, hoping to reach the legendary city of Timbuktu. Along the way they are attacked by killer bees, charged by hippos, and stalked by crocodiles. They stumble upon a group of completely blind men living alone in the bush and dance with a hundred naked women. That Jenkins finally reaches his goal—riding alone across the Sahara on a motorcycle—stands in sharp contrast to what befell earlier explorers who tried to find Timbuktu and whose fates the author interweaves with the narrative of his own journey.
A rich combination of cultural exploration, history, and gripping adventure, this beautifully repackaged edition of To Timbuktu is a journey not to be missed.
The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice. In the event of a crisis situation that requires evacuation, the Government of Canada’s policy is to provide safe transportation to the closest safe location. The Government of Canada will assist you in leaving a country or a region as a last resort, when all means of commercial or personal transportation have been exhausted. This service is provided on a cost-recovery basis. Onward travel is at your personal expense. Situations vary from one location to another, and there may be constraints on government resources that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide assistance, particularly in countries or regions where the potential for violent conflict or political instability is high.
Although the security situation has improved in Niamey, the threat of kidnapping is very present, as highlighted by the interception by Niger security forces of a terrorist cell within a few kilometers of Niamey in mid-August 2012. Evidence points to a kidnapping attempt. Remain extremely vigilant, limit your movement and avoid travelling after dark. All travel between the airport and Niamey must be done in convoy of at least two vehicles.
A state of emergency is in effect in the Nigerian states of Borno and Yobe, which border southeast Niger. Instability in these provinces could spill over into Niger.
The French and Nigerien militaries have been assisting the Malian government in efforts to repel armed rebels. Terrorist groups in the region declared their intention to increase attacks and kidnappings. Citizens of countries supporting the military intervention are at particular risk, but all travellers should exercise increased vigilance in the region.
On May 23, 2013, two car bombs exploded simultaneously, one inside a military camp in the city of Agadez and another at a uranium mine in Arlit. As many as 26 people were killed and many others were injured.
Bandits and terrorist groups exist in certain isolated regions of the country. Avoid the areas north of the Tahoua-Zinder-Diffa axis because of banditry and the risk of armed hold-ups.
There is a risk to personal safety throughout the country. There are concerns about the risk of kidnapping by the group Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. As a result of this risk, avoid all travel to isolated areas, particularly to the regions of Tillabéry, Tahoua, Arlit and Agadez, as well as in the border regions with Mali and Burkina Faso.
Foreign nationals have been kidnapped. In August 2012, Niger security forces intercepted a terrorist cell within a few kilometers of Niamey. Use varied and unpredictable routes and schedules when moving from one place to another, remain extremely vigilant, limit your movement and avoid travelling after dark.
There is a moderate level of crime in Niger, including in the capital. However, muggings, armed assaults and theft can happen. In Niamey, pickpocketing and purse snatching also occur. Foreign nationals in particular are targeted.
Avoid walking after dark and displaying any signs of affluence in public. Do not leave valuables or bags unattended.
Demonstrations occur and have the potential to suddenly turn violent. They can lead to significant disruptions to traffic and public transportation. Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, especially those organized by students, workers or political figures, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media.
Cases of attempted fraud are frequently reported. See our Overseas Fraud page for more information on scams abroad.
Except for main routes, roads are generally in poor condition throughout the country. Local driving habits, bicycles, mopeds, pedestrians, roaming farm animals, slow-moving donkey carts, and broken-down vehicles pose hazards.
Avoid travelling within the country unless it is essential. Undertake all travel during daylight hours, in a convoy of several vehicles in excellent mechanical condition and accompanied by an experienced driver. Bring sufficient supplies of food and water as well as a medical kit. Lock car doors and keep windows shut at all times. Carrying a satellite phone is recommended when travelling in remote areas. Emergency roadside or medical assistance is unavailable.
Avoid all travel after dark. Nightime attacks on tourists have been reported in most of the country (on the roads between Agadez and Arlit, Agadez and Tahoua, in the city of Zinder, on the road between Tillabéry and Niamey).
Do not leave the main roads. Landmines are present in the northern region of Agadez and continue to cause occasional injuries and deaths.
In case of an accident, report to the nearest police station to file a report.
Public transportation is not recommended, including transportation organized by hotels. Consider hiring a driver for your stay in Niger.
Consult our Transportation Safety page in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.
Carry identification at all times and safely store photocopies of passports, visas, and travel documents. Keep a photocopy of your passport in case of loss or seizure.
Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread by contaminated food or water. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or through personal contact with unwashed hands. Get the flu shot.
Measles occurs worldwide but is a common disease in developing countries, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. Measles is a highly contagious disease. Be sure your vaccination against measles is up-to-date regardless of the travel destination.
This country is in the African Meningitis Belt, an area where there are many cases of meningococcal disease. Meningococcal disease (meningitis) is a serious and sometimes fatal infection of the tissue around the brain and the spinal cord. Travellers who may be at high risk should consider getting vaccinated. High-risk travellers include those living or working with the local population (e.g., health care workers), those travelling to crowded areas or taking part in large gatherings, or those travelling for a longer period of time.
There is a risk of polio in this country. Be sure that your vaccination against polio is up-to-date.
Rabies is a disease that attacks the central nervous system spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from a rabid animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives, or with weakened immune systems. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should consider getting vaccinated.
Yellow fever is a disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
|* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.|
|Country Entry Requirement*|
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in West Africa, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in West Africa. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
There have been cases of cholera reported in this country in the last year. Cholera is a bacterial disease that typically causes diarrhea. In severe cases it can lead to dehydration and even death.
Most travellers are generally at low risk. Humanitarian workers and those visiting areas with limited access to safe food and water are at higher risk. Practise safe food and water precautions. Travellers at high risk should get vaccinated.
Schistosomiasis is caused by blood flukes (tiny worms) spread to humans through contaminated water. The eggs of the worms can cause stomach illnesses like diarrhea and cramps or urinary problems. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Avoid swimming in contaminated water. There is no vaccine available for schistosomiasis.
In some areas in West Africa, certain insects carry and spread diseases like African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), chikungunya, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, malaria, onchocerciasis, Rift Valley fever, West Nile virus and yellow fever.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in West Africa, like avian influenza and rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).
Practise safe sex while travelling, and don’t share needles, razors, or other objects which could transmit infection.
Remember that HIV can also be spread through the use of unsterile medical equipment during medical and dental procedures, tattooing, body piercing or acupuncture. Diseases can also be spread though blood transfusions and organ transplantation if the blood or organs are not screened for HIV or other blood-borne pathogens.
Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.
For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.
Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care provider.
High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention page for more information.
An International Driving Permit is required.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
Homosexual activity is illegal.
Do not photograph political or student demonstrations.
Photography of military installations, radio and television stations, the airport, bridges and the Presidency Building is prohibited. Seek permission before taking photographs.
Dual citizenship is not legally recognized, which may limit the ability of Canadian officials to provide consular services. You should travel using your Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times. Consult our publication entitled Dual Citizenship: What You Need to Know for more information.
Islamic practices and beliefs are closely adhered to in the country’s customs, laws, and regulations. Dress conservatively (for example, cover your arms and legs), behave discreetly, and respect religious and social traditions to avoid offending local sensitivities.
The consumption of alcohol is tolerated.
The currency is the African Financial Community franc (FCFA). Niger is a cash-based society and credit cards are rarely accepted. Avoid offers of large amounts of banknotes in exchange for foreign currency from other than reputable exchange bureaus.
There are three seasons in Niger. The cool, dry season extends from November to February; the hot, dry season extends from March to June; and the rainy season extends from June-July to September-October. During the rainy season, most of the secondary roads may be impassable. Follow weather forecasts and plan accordingly.