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North Africa Topics specific to North Africa and the Sahara down to the 17th parallel (excludes Morocco)
Photo by Mark Newton, Mexican camping

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!


Photo by Mark Newton,
Camping in the Mexican desert



Trans Sahara Routes.

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Old 23 Nov 2011
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Niger Update

Niger update (of use to some I hope)


Hello guys,


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.
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Old 23 Nov 2011
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Many thanks for that. Where did you get your visa, and did you mention you are a photographer?
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Old 23 Nov 2011
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Got the visa in the embassy in Paris.

Application Form x 2
Copy of yellow fever cert
2 passport photos
€61 Euro Cash (Single Entry) vaild for 2 months
Copies of Return flight
Passport
Return postage fee to your country (Ireland €5)
Letter of intent(Itineary)
Done in 2 weeks !!

I did not mention I was a photographer, but I passed through the airport with 3 SLR cameras / lens / film etc no hassle.
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Old 23 Nov 2011
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Travel in Niger

For user10 - Great to hear some news from Niger. I was just trying to get hold of some up to date info when I came across your post.

You say that the country is now open for tourism again - do you mean that in an official sense ie. the authorities are now encouraging tourists to return?
Did you notice many other travellers in Agadez or other towns? Are there signs of any of the Agences de Voyages offices from the old tour operators reopening in Agadez? Was there any kind of official policy as to regards what areas were off limits - could one travel to Timia or across the Tenere to Bilma? Re. the guides - were these guides willing to travel officially ie - the itinerary would have been logged with the prefecture. Was if difficult to obtain authorization at Tahoua to continue for Agadez? Did you get any hassle from the authorities at all?
Also, was the south of the country - Maradi and Zinder regions noticeably more lax and easy to travel in.
Apologies for such a string of questions.
Bye the way - I'm from the north and I remember meeting an Irish guy in Niamey for one evening - I was flying out the following day, who had just landed a photographic job with the UN. It was 10 or more years ago but I can't remember the circumstances.
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Old 24 Nov 2011
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Hello Fray

To answer your qestions

Quote:
You say that the country is now open for tourism again - do you mean that in an official sense ie. the authorities are now encouraging tourists to return ?
Yes,they are in theory for most of the country, but most of the North still remains off limits.Short tours out of Agadez seem possible,but might be expensive and restricted to certain areas.

Quote:
Did you notice many other travellers in Agadez or other towns? Are there signs of any of the Agences de Voyages offices from the old tour operators reopening in Agadez?
No.Only aid workers.One or two agencies have re-opened, but I imagine business is somewhat slow if non existent.

Quote:
Was there any kind of official policy as to regards what areas were off limits - could one travel to Timia or across the Tenere to Bilma? Re. the guides - were these guides willing to travel officially ie - the itinerary would have been logged with the prefecture.
Nearly all the areas you listed above are off limits as far as I am aware.I asked for info on camel trip to Bilma but was told that it was not possible.Im sure you could find a guide who may be willing to take you un-offically,but you are taking a huge risk,you will most likely not have any security (sitting duck) and you presence will be noticed in Agadez so you may not be able to get out onto the piste without being stopped by police or army.

Quote:
Was if difficult to obtain authorization at Tahoua to continue for Agadez? Did you get any hassle from the authorities at all?
I can't answer that as I did not get it.The aid agency did,but as far as I am aware it think it was not too much hassle.We visted many prefectures en-route and all seemed very laidback and glad to see foreigners.

Quote:
Also, was the south of the country - Maradi and Zinder regions noticeably more lax and easy to travel in.
Yes,fairly lax.Not many chekpoints or police,roads seem to be in good condition.travel in this area seems very possible.Perhaps register intent with police in Niamey and see where they will give you permission to go.

Quote:
Apologies for such a string of questions.
No problem.
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