One visit to W-Parc is recommended if you have the time. The Park is spread across the countries of Benin, Burkina & Niger and has a span of 2500 sq Km. It takes around 1.5 hrs to drive down to the park from Niamey. The Park gets its name as it is in the shape of a "W", hence W-Park. We visited the park during Jan, the best you can do is to spent a night inside the Park, there is a camping site and it is an enjoyable experience. The next day early in the morning you can go for a boat ride and then proceed for the safari. The animals are hard to find but the experience is worth a visit, if lucky you would get to see the Elephants, Wild Buffaloes, Antelopes and Lion (We never saw one ).The part of 'W' National Park that lies in Niger is situated in a transition zone between savannah and forest lands and represents important ecosystem characteristics of the West African Woodlands/Savannah.
The ancient town of Agadez is definately worth a visit. Due to the maze of twisting narrow streets it's easy to lose your bearings, so my advice is sort yourself out with a reputable guide. This will also make it easier to take photographs, particularly of the local people who may be a little reluctant to have their photo taken if your on your own. They will generally ask for a 'cadeaux' (a gift), which is common in Niger. It all depends what your take on this is but with the level of poverty it's understandable.
The guides in Agadez can be a bit annoying, you will quickly notice one,two or three suddenly walking with you. Make it quite clear you don't need a guide or that you just want the one, otherwise you will be hassled for some form of payment by all of them if they walk with you for any length of time.
The Saharan sun takes it toll, and cooling off in a pool is a fantastic remedy for heat stroke. The Grand hotel in Niamey charges CFA 2000 for pool-use, and you get a beautiful view of the Niger river from above. They close very late, so you can chill out with a beer at dusk, and watch the bats come out. The Gaweye hotel pool is much bigger and nicer, and for a CFA 2200 you get to swim in the pool and watch the Niger close up, but youl get kicked out at around 6pm. Beware, tho, the beer is insanely expensive at both hotels!
Djado plateau is a area north of Chirfa in the northeastern part of the country. There are some dramatic weathered, sandstone formations. Volcanic rocks in some locations are eroded into various shapes resembling dark folded paper.
The caravan season is between late Sept to late Dec with most around Nov, Oct. They travel between Bilma and Agadez or some towns north of Agadez. You'll need a guide and your own vehicle to get to them. Pick a year when the rains are good and there are no problems like locusts and rebellions - the caravans will be larger and more plentiful.
When I was in Niamey I didn't have much time to travel from the city, but I went to the national park W, about 150 km south of Niamey. There is a rich animal life, nice hotel, and you can rent a car there with a guide to drive around in the park, experiencing the wildlife in West Africa.
If on season, there is a good change of seeing elephants, horseantilopes and other exciting animals free in the park.
Sail on the Niger river in a small wooden boat, a bit afraid of hippos and crocodiles for five hours on the way from Niamay to a small market by the river further north.
On the way up the river we sat on the boat, with little space to move, but the exitement and the sight from the boat were just beautiful. Watching the people washing clothes and other things in the brown river. Seeing the marks that hippopotamus leaves, knowing that they are the animals that cause most deaths in Africa. Seeing the birdlife and nature, the river was full of live.
If you need a pot, heres the place to go. Theyve got big pots, small pots, pretty pots, ugly pots, broken pots, you name it, and very cheap too.
When out in the desert, north and east of Agadez, away from larger towns try to visit Touareg encampments and get a glimpse of their daily lives.
You'll see enough sand in Niger to last you a life time. Get a workout climbing one. Some of the bigger ones are in Arakao and Chiriet.
The salt ponds in Fachi are family owned operations that are passed from generation to generation. The salt from Bilma is consider of a higher quality but the ponds in Fachi are more photogenic.
The Niger river flows comming from Mali trough the western part of the country. Next to the Mali border, the river passes trough arid landscape, what causes some dramatic scenery.
More Regions in Niger