Around the petite marche, the Score/Haddad supermarkets, and other areas frequented by foreigners, the local touts can be very persistent and annoying. Most of the people in Niger are not like this. Make an effort to meet locals. Speaking French helps a bit, but many Nigeriens only know a little French, tribal languages are much more important. But...more
The American School is located next to the US Embassy. On the grounds of the school is also located the Community Center. When we left in June, 2003, it was still possible to buy a day pass for a fairly reasonable fee. This entitled you to use the pool and other equipment on the grounds. There is also a pleasant shaded area next to the pool where...more
It can be difficult to find local music played for the public. Check out the schedule of the French Cultural Center, across the street from the Musee, to see what is happening. It is probably the best place in Niamey to find local, or at least West Africa musicians.If you are lucky enough to be invited to a local wedding, you will most certainly...more
The National Museum is in downtown Niamey, and is hard to miss: the buildings are all painted a brilliant blue and white. There are exhibits on Nigerien history and culture, as well as a small zoo. There is also an artisan area where you can watch people work on traditional crafts and buy their products.more
A large pleasant open air restaurant. A seen and be seen place for locals. One time there, we met Alpha-Di, the local designer made big in Paris, along with several models in town for the annual FIMA fashion show. Chicken in peanut sauce, prawns and lobster (don't think about how they got here, a 1000km from the sea!), along with side dishes not...more
Down by the river, Jet Set was one of the more popular dancing places among locals and expats alike. Pleanty of local girls looking to find a "sugar daddy," at least for the night. Not our kind of scene...
Dress Code: As little as possible, especially for women.
Sonef buscompany (just behind the stadium and the interior ministery) has a bus at 5.10 am to Birni-N'Konni (and in to Zinder), 6500 CFA, 5 to 6 hours, from the gare routiere, about 1 km from the Sonef terminal you have shared taxis to Sokoto, 2000 CFA or 600 Naira about 2 hours. At the border you can expect a lengthy interview (it was not...more
The three years we lived in Niamey, we did not witness any gasoline shortages. At times, certain gas stations would be out of unleaded or deisel, but the next station would have what you needed. If desparate, there was always the option of the roadside shacks selling gasoline or oil in recycled liquor bottles. Perhaps not the cleanest fuel in the...more
From this little no name shack near the French school, you can purchase baskets made in Nguimi, near Lake Chad in far southeastern Niger. The proceed go to aid Catholic relief work in the country. Basket are very reasonably priced, small ones can be had for US$0.50. The largest wouldn't be over US$10, and these a big baskets! The prices are set,...more
The Wadata Artisan market, not to be confused with the local Wadata market just down the street, was built with aid from Luxembourg. In the main building, you can find many of the local crafts for sale with reasonable set prices for fairly high quality work. Crafts include leather boxes, shoes, jewelry, fabrics and clothing, pottery, baskets, etc....more
No one is sure how many people live in Niamey. A figure of around one million is probably about right. Many people from the bush come into town during the dry season to try to make some money before they head back to their villages for the planting season. There are many squatter villages and shanytowns both on the outskirts and right in the center...more
Niger has one of the lowest literacy rates in the world. So shops have pictures showing paintings of what services or goods can be had inside. There are many interesting ones around like this one for a barber shop. Interestingly, most of the signs seem to be imported from Ghana. We tried to buy some of them from the shops, but most were unwilling...more
With no real garbage disposal system to speak of, Niamey has a serious problem with garbage, specifically plastic bags. It is a serious problem; on the outskirts of town you will run across huge areas where the trash from the city has been dumped. The wind whips the bags into the air and carries them into farmers fields.more
At times, Niamey seemed like the end of the Earth. When we lived there, there was only one flight a week to Europe on Air France; the only RELIABLE flight was the once-a-week flight to Casablanca on Air Maroc, from where you could get to wherever you needed.
When we arrive (on Air France) none of our luggage arrived. For three weeks. One day, about a week after we had arrived, our office manager heard a rumor that a flight was coming in, and our luggage may be on it. We went out to the airport, only to find it completely deserted, except for a donkey, fast asleep, leaning against the entrance door. Ends of the Earth indeed!