Zinder Transportation

  • bush taxi involves staying close to local life!
    bush taxi involves staying close to...
    by Bonobo2005
  • Lorry park Birni N’ Konni:  cheap and safe sleep
    Lorry park Birni N’ Konni: cheap and...
    by Bonobo2005
  • man preparing water tanks for travellers
    man preparing water tanks for travellers
    by Bonobo2005

Most Recent Transportation in Zinder

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    Cheating officials at the Agadez buspark in Zinder

    by Bonobo2005 Updated Dec 2, 2003

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    Boys selling Icewater at the lorrypark

    In first instance it was quite unclear what all the men’s business on the Agadez Lorrypark in Zinder was about.


    Later I learned that these devote Muslims make good money by telling lies, cheating and ripping off illegal transit passengers on their way from Coastal countries (mainly Cameroon and Nigeria) to Libya (and hopefully Europe), everything in cooperation with the local police at the checkpoints.
    And somehow it’s accepted. These illegal travellers are people that try to sneak in Libya / Europe without any proper papers, knowing that on the whole route, transit is “for sale” somehow.

    So in Zinder the black Africans from the Coast are taken apart and have to pay about EUR 25 to Agadez (the normal ticket price is EUR 11), that includes a guaranteed hasslefree passing at police checkpoints along the route. No problem for them, as they know they have to pay anyway.

    But then what happens!!! Zinder has 2 checkpoints, one is just outside the lorry park on the city limits, a second one is an hour further ahead. As promised, the illegal passengers have no problems at these 2 checkpoints, but after that, at the numerous following checkpoints, the money with the driver is suddenly finished and they have to get out….or to pay again! How smart!!

    By the way, for travellers with passports and visa there’s no single problem at checkpoints (as they didn’t even check…).

    So this generates enough money for some 2 dozen of men involved, and that with only, if you’re lucky, one departure a day!! Lucky, because I was still waiting in the dark at 7pm and it lasted until the next morning 8am before we finally left…in a car with no proper functioning brakes, gear OR lights….

    Read all about this rather crazy journey in my upcoming Agadez page!!

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    Crossing the border from Benin to Niger

    by Bonobo2005 Updated Dec 2, 2003

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    Buy a cheap Visa Entente for 5 countries!

    Just north of Malanville flows the impressively huge brown coloured Niger River, that forms the border between the three countries of Niger, Benin and Nigeria.

    I arrived at the border settlement of Malanville by shared taxi, which took 4 hours from Parakou (cost about EUR 5).

    Sitting on the back of a Yamaha motorbike taxi I continued from the lorry park to the impressive bridge, where formalities were settled fast and without hassles. I was happy to see that the rather new Visa Entente, a cheap single entry visa valid for 5 countries (Togo, Benin, Cote Ivoire, Niger and Burkina), was recognised easily.

    From the border post we drove for 20 more minutes to the first settlement in Niger called Gaya.

    Total price for the moto taxi Malanville - Gaya, incl. waiting time for formalities CFA 800 = ca. EUR 1,25

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    The trip from Gaya to Birni ‘N Konni

    by Bonobo2005 Updated Dec 2, 2003

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    Lorry park Birni N��� Konni:  cheap and safe sleep

    After 2 hours in the minivan, interrupted for a prayer session at a mosque, we reached Dosso on the main Niamey – Zinder road.


    Two hours waiting; just before dark we continued our journey to Zinder. Our driver raced like a madman, since the towns along the route are “locked” after 9pm and he wanted to reach the Nigerien/Nigerian frontier town of Birni N’ Konni, 2 towns from here, tonight! First he waited as long as possible before departing, hoping for more passengers, and then he had to risk our lives to reach the upcoming checkpoint in the next town called Dogon Doutchi, just in time.

    Which was quite scary on the small road in the dark as those minivans tried at full speed to take each other over and swerved to avoid the potholes. Just before 9pm we passed the Dogon Doutchi city checkpoint, and we slowed down. I was the only passenger left and the driver probably didn’t feel like driving just for me. He stopped, waved down another passing minibus, and summoned me to get out. He wasn’t to continue.

    Around 11pm, with another vehicle, I reached the busy Birni N’ Konni lorry park where we would stay for the night. The only option within the lorry park’s premises was a guarded prayer mat on the concrete. It didn’t matter. The long day had exhausted me and I slept soon. It was the cheapest “hotel” ever, as I paid the caretaker CFA 200 (EUR 0,25).

    The ticket Gaya – Zinder cost 11000 CFA = ca. EUR 17, and involved some changing vehicles, but the ticket remained valid without problems.

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    Agadez lorry park in Zinder

    by Bonobo2005 Written Dec 2, 2003

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    man preparing water tanks for travellers

    From Zinder it was only 450 km. to Agadez on reasonable road, but because of poor planning and a poor vehicle I ended up spending 26 hours on this journey, after waiting 24 hours for the car to leave.

    I would probably advice an express bus to every traveller on this route. But for me, even if I was less sure about it during those 2 days, when I look back now it was a great experience in which I learned and saw much more of Niger than during any of the smooth journeys that would follow with an SNTV express bus.

    When I arrived at the Agadez lorry park at 7am, a man informed me that a Toyota Landcruiser would leave today for Agadez. I was happy: “a relatively small car, less passengers needed than in a van, we can leave soon”. But that was not at all the case.

    A lot of men were arguing and discussing actively in front of small offices, and a whole range of hawkers made the terminal even look crowded and busy at times, but there was not a single departure.

    (continued in next tip...)

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    Birni ‘N Konni to Zinder

    by Bonobo2005 Written Dec 2, 2003

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    A settlement along the way to Zinder

    At 5.30am we continued. Sometimes we stopped for hours in the towns that we passed. “You’re a tourist”, the driver said, “it’s nice for you to see many places”.

    Yeah, right, I come here to see all lorry parks in Niger! We stopped in between places too, to buy wood, chicken, to repair tyres, to enquire for repairing the front window which pieces were only kept together with tape and for more such things.

    Now we travelled in daytime, the differences with 24 hours earlier were obvious. Temperature was at least 5 degrees higher (38C) and the landscapes had changed drastically. Dense vegetation and fertile hills had made way for savannahs, grassy pastures, scrub and sandy depressions, sometimes a granite outcrop.

    It was just after the rainy season and huge depots of water covered some parts of land. The nearby settlements, surviving on farming (millet, maize, groundnut) and animal husbandry (cows, goats), looked like a collection of little mud brick fortresses, all walled, gorgeously in line with their environment.

    It was close to 4pm when, out of nothing, completely unexpected after a seemingly endless 32 hours of travelling, the driver stopped to ask me in which hotel I lodged. We were now in the sandy heart of Zinder!

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    Bushtaxi or Express Bus?

    by Bonobo2005 Written Dec 2, 2003

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    bush taxi involves staying close to local life!

    It was only in Gaya that I decided to travel straight to Zinder, instead of to the capital Niamey (the more obvious choice).

    The ticket seller of the bus company convinced me that a bushtaxi would be more efficient than relying on an express bus.
    Afterwards I think it didn’t make much difference timewise. The much cheaper straight bushtaxi option was certainly more adventurous, socially and culturally more interesting, involved a lot of waiting time at several points en route and a night sleeping a lorry park.

    The express bus option would most likely have taken me to Niamey where I could have stayed in a decent hotel and –with a bit luck because they don’t run every day or they can be fully booked – could have travelled the next morning to Zinder. In that case arrival time would have been about the same.

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Zinder Transportation

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