Niger

Named after the Niger River, the landlocked country of Niger is bordered by Nigeria and Benin to the south, Burkina Faso and Mali to the west, Algeria and Libya to the north and Chad to the east. French is the official language of Niger and the largest city, Niamey is also the country’s capital. Lying between latitudes 11° and 24°N, and longitudes 0° and 16°E, the national day of Niger is celebrated on 18 December to commemorate the founding of the Republic, but the country received full independence from France on 3 August 1960. The official currency is the CFA Franc.

 

Over half the population of Niger belong to the Hausa and the Zarma–Songhai. Both groups, along with the Gourmantche, are sedentary farmers who live in the arable, southern tier of the country. The remainder of Nigeriens are nomadic or semi-nomadic livestock-raising peoples—Fulani, Tuareg, Kanuri, Arabs, and Toubou—who make up about 20% of Niger's population.

Notable Places to Visit

W National Park

The W National Park of Niger was created by decree on 4 August 1954, and since 1996 has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The W Regional Park (French: "W" du Niger) is a major national park in West Africa around a meander in the River Niger shaped like a "W". The park includes areas of the three countries Niger, Benin and Burkina Faso, and is governed by the three governments. Within Niger, the Park is listed as a National Park and is part of a larger complex of Reserves and protected areas. These include the adjacent Dallol Bosso (Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) on the eastern bank of the Niger River and the partial overlap of the smaller "Parc national du W" (Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar). The park is known for its large mammals, including aardvarks, baboons, buffalo, caracal, cheetahs, elephants, hippopotamuses, leopards, lions,serval and warthogs. The park provides a home for some of West Africa's last wild African Elephants. However, the rare West African Giraffe, today restricted to small parts of the Niger, is absent from the park. The National Park is one of the last strongholds for the Northwest African cheetah. The W area is also known for its bird populations, especially transitory migrating species, with over 350 species identified in the park.

Market City of the Sub-Sahara

Agadez is a market town at a crossroads, 460 miles (740 km) northeast of Niamey, the national capital. Once the seat of a Tuareg sultanate (dating from the 15th century), it was occupied by the French in the early1900s. The city was founded before the fourteenth century and gradually became the most important Tuareg city, supplanting Assodé, by growing around trans-Saharan trade. The city still sees the arrival of caravans, bringing salt from Bilma. Today, Agadez flourishes as a market town and as a centre for the transportation of the uranium mined in the surrounding area. Notable buildings in the city include the Agadez Grand Mosque, originally dating from 1515 but rebuilt in the same style in 1844, the Kaocen Palace (now a hotel) and the Agadez Sultan's Palace. The city is also known for its camel market and its silver and leatherwork as well as the Heinrich Barth Residence (now a mini-museum).

National Museum of Niger

This art museum contains a library and incorporates a zoo, a museum of vernacular architecture, a craft centre, and exhibits including dinosaur skeletons and the Tree of Ténéré. Located in the country’s capital, visitors are treated to a fairly comprehensive display of Nigerienne culture, natural costumes, musical instruments and Neolithic stone artifacts at different pavilions in the museum. There are a few other tourist/visitor attractions in the city of Niamey, but the National Museum in the city centre, sits at the top of places to go. Other attractions there include the Grand Marche, the Giraffe herd – situated about 45 minutes just outside of the city – and the Wadata Artisanal village which is famous for traditional craft goods.

 

Notable Events

  • Niger Republic Annual Traditional Wrestling Championship
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