There are a few airlines that operate from the Niamey Airport.
Air Burkina - To / From Ougadougu ( Burkina ), Lome (Togo)
Air France - To / From Paris
Air Ivoire -To / From Abidjan (Cote d'ivoire)
Air Afrique - To / From Cotonou (Benin)
Best connection to niamey is from Abidjan and Paris
I have used the private transportation bus companies such as RIMBO and SNTV and have found them to be a very safe and reliable way to travel around the country. Ive done Niamey - Agadez a couple of times now which takes about 12 hrs.....There are regular stops on the way which is most welcome. I would however suggest that you book your ticket a few days in advance to ensure a seat. The bus from Niamey to Agadez leaves very early in the morning 4:30ish so I would suggest you pre book a Taxi or moto taxi bike, as there isn't much around at that time in the morning...
SNTV Niamey can be contacted on (country code) 74 26 07
There is only one bridge across the Niger River in the whole country: the Kennedy Bridge in Niamey. To the North about 2 hours outside of Niamey, there is a ferry crossing. This is the way to go into northeastern Burkina Faso. Not an easy road, but the ferry was fun, but probably dangerous. We don't want to think about that!
Absolutely the only convenient means of long distance public overland transport between the main destinations in Niger.
First of all, these buses are most time efficient as they do not stop often, and if they do so, only for a very short time. Moreover, departure times are more or less fixed.
Secondly, the buses are in good shape, so that breakdowns are rare. And finally they are more secure on more risky stretches of the route, since an armed soldier travels on the bus.
The biggest company is SNTV, but there are 1 or 2 others as well. As one can imagine, this is also quite expensive. For example Niamey-Agadez takes 12 hours and cost EUR 25/30 without/with airco. The SNTV express buses reach as far as Arlit (transit to Algeria), Nguigmi (transit to Chad), Cotonou (Benin) and Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso).
You’ll need to plan a little as they don’t run daily and they could be fully booked.
I used express buses from Agadez to Niamey, and from Niamey to Ouagadougou.
These are very cheap and ideal for short distance travel and often the only option to reach places not covered by express buses.
They depart from the gare routiere, but you have to wait until they are full, very full. In extreme cases, as I experienced, this can take up to 24 hours and thus involves an overnight at the station.
Often the vehicle is in poor condition – whether it is a sixties Peugeot, a second hand Japanese minibus or an old Toyota Land Cruiser -, and so delays due to breakdowns are almost a rule.
For example, we left Zinder for Agadez (500 km.) in a car with no functioning brakes or lights and only two gear. It took us 28 hours, including a short night at the roadside in the sand.
Since the vehicles leaves in line, you don’t have a real choice of vehicle unless the unlikely possibility that you want to wait for the next one to fill up.
For a small present you could get a front seat, a place that locals often do not even want because of the accident risk. If you want to go really remote, it is wise to plan travel on market days.
You can read extensively about my experiences (somehow adventures to me) on this mode of travel under transportation tips on my:
* Zinder Page: Benin Border to Zinder
* Agadez Page: Zinder to Agadez
Most tourists travelling the Air Mountains and Tenere Desert charter a vehicle, form a group to share a vehicle or bring their own. Even if you have your own, you are obliged to bring a local guide (easily to find in Agadez).
This is by far the most reliable option, but also most expensive. Cost will be about from EUR 50/day if you have 3 others to join. Best arranged in Agadez.
I was lucky enough to get a ride from a German tour group (noch vielen dank Klaus!) from Timia back to Agadez, that brought me just in time to Ingall for the Cure Salee Festival!
Of course the main advantage is that you can draw your own ideal itinerary and stop whenever you like, But be warned, spending 5 or 6 hours daily in a hot and dusty car on a terrible road, is not especially a pleasant ride! And that’s exactly what most people do in order to reach a different “highlight” every day.
Albeit slow at only 4 km./hr., a journey by camel is a superb way to get into local customs and enjoy the grandness of the surroundings in a relaxing way.
In Niger you won’t find tourist orientated camel trips in the way you find them in the deserts of Egypt, Morocco or India . Main reason is that the best parts of the Tenere Desert are very remote, so travellers usually charter a vehicle. However I met one guy who travelled to the salt mining oasis of Bilma by camel, which is 12 days/one way from Agadez!
But in my experience an excellent option to organise a camel journey, is in the Air Mountains. Here, the trails are often inaccessible to vehicles and so all traffic consists of camels.
Independent budget travellers can travel around by a combination of truck and camel, as I did. This is not sure option as the trucks are not scheduled but certainly possible. Start your enquiries in Agadez.
Check out my Timia Page (under transportation tips)
I have not yet heard of any tourist using those trucks, but you can cross the Sahara desert on top of these overloaded trucks that run between Agadez and tows in Algeria or Libya, often via smugglers routes.
Journeys to Libya take up to 3 weeks and people die on these trips every year, so be prepared! Most passengers are from Coastal African countries who plan to work in Libya and sneak in Europe this way.
If you don’t travel on them, try to spot one, as they are really a must see! If you consider to join the club, as a tourist it would be very wise to have a valid visa, despite no African traveller has one (as there is no border post). Bring loads of water (some 25 litre cans) and food such as dried meat and cheese.
In Agadez bus terminal you will find several agencies dealing with this. Cost to Tripoli will be around EUR 80,--. For a bit more, some agencies also organise similar journeys by pick up truck.
If even no bushtaxi’s run between places, you might have a good chance to get a ride on a truck!
These trucks typically pick up and drop goods at the markets, but also may take passengers. This cheap option is especially useful to reach certain oases, for example in the Air Mountains or Tenere Desert, where alternatively a 4WD car in good condition is required (which are usually only used by tourists, NGO’s and government).
But you will need a lot of time for these exhausting trips (you often sit on top of the load), and you will never be sure when you can return. On the way the driver might drive hours off-road to reach distant farms and stops wherever he wants to make tea, visit relatives or whatever else.
You will need to bring your own water and food, although we bought, slaughtered and ate a goat from a passing shepherd on the way. Sunprotection is most important too!!
I took a truck from Agadez to the oasis of Taberlot (150km./24 hrs.). You can read about this journey under transportation tips on my Timia Page.
The "taxi brousses", shared taxis, travel around in the most part of Niger. They are often Peugot cars ore minibuses, but sometimes small lorries too. One thing they have in common: They are always crowded!
From Europe its probably best to travel with AirFrance from Paris to Niamey.
To get around you can hire a taxi with driver for day trips, but for longer trips you can get on very full minibusses or hire a car. It's expencive to travel around in Niger.
Air Afrique is the cheapest, but is sometimes unreliable
Air France is a little more expensive, but has very good service
Best way is to rent a car or book with a local tour operator, but public transport in the form of bush taxis (usually minivans or small station wagons) is available very cheaply
Air France from Paris to Niamey.
Cannot rent a car for self drive in Niger and would not recommend in the desert. There is some danger from Tuareg rebels, though they have reached a truce with the government. Would highly recommend a Tuareg guide. Our guide can be reached at Moussa.Haidara@caramail.com.
More Regions in Niger