Niger update (of use to some I hope)
I have recently returned from Niger. Althought, I went in with the intention of doing a camel trip in the Air Mountains, restrictions on my itinerary and the spiralling costs put me off. I understand completely that the local Tuareg are taking huge risks heading far North from Agadez, so I suppose their prices may be justified.
As I am photographer I got offered work by an humanitarian agency in Niger so I was working in Niamey – Agadez – Zinder – Tahoua - Maradai - Diffa
Ok here is the situation.
Niger is open for business or tourists whatever way you want to put it. Unfortunately the North of the country is severely restricted, with the exception of the Air mountains outside of Agadez (MT Bagazane) etc and possibly Arlit if you’re a miner. Expect costs for camel trips to hit thousands for 1 week and guides are very reluctant to head any further North I.E Adrar Bous / Djado etc.
Formalities at the airport are extremely laid back.Just show your visa / yellow fever cert and you’re away.Visa's are NOT available at the airport on arrival.I stayed in the hotel Universe in Niamey €45 for 1 night and found the capital very welcoming and not un-safe at all, but that’s just my experience. Do not pay more than 5000 CFA for taxi from the airport. I got quoted €20 but paid €10.Cheap hotels in Niamey can be hard to find. Getting around the city is very easy by taxi. Try carrying 100 coins to stop taxi drivers overcharging. Banks are in the capital, but your visa card or atm WILL NOT WORK, so do not rely on it.Try buying a Niger sim card if you're staying long.
I travelled mainly on UNHAS flights and by road between Maradai and Tahoua and also Tahoua and Agadez and Zinder.There are roadblocks outside most entrances to towns or provinces, but these are mainly manned by locals and not really police. They were very friendly and I was never once asked for documentation with the exeption of the roads into Agadez. I saw very few police or army accept coming closer to Agadez. Bus transport between towns is operating and roads are very passable due to, sad to say this ‘’a lack of rain in the rainy season’’. There is a huge new road being constructed across most of the Tahoua province and the route to Agadez is safe for the time being.Permission was required to travel this road by the Sous Prefecture in Tahoua.Agadez is full of military at the moment and going out at night is not recommended for foreigners.My presence was registered with the police.
The Niger authorities seem to give the impression that they are winning the war against AQIM in the North and I get the impression it may open up sooner than expected, but I wouldn’t hold my breath especially for Saharan travel. I saw posters for a new airline (will try to remember the name) claiming to do flights to Agadez, but the only internal flights seems to be UNHAS which is limited to humanitarian staff.The airport is dead most of the day !!
Please ask any necessary questions and I will try to ask them answer them accurately as I can.
Hope that’s ok.
Last edited by danielsan; 23 Nov 2011 at 17:05.