The laid back city of Niamey stands at the crossroads of the Sahel and sub-Saharan Africa along the eastern bank of Niger River, the river after which the host country is named. It is the capital of Niger, and the country’s largest city. It’s over 1 million population are predominately Muslims, there are Catholics in the city as well as the Baha’i community. As the economic hub of Niger, Niamey is home to most of the country’s administrative offices and manufacturing industry, while its main agricultural produce is millet.
The city has a long history dating back to the 18th century when it was established. The French colonization of the region brought the city to prominence in the 19th century and it has since then grown in population because of the influx of young people who migrate to the city in search of employment. The climate is usually hot and dry, getting as high as 40 degree Celsius in the afternoon sometimes. The rainy season is short and may come with thunderstorms and occasional flooding. The city’s coolest period is December and January, ironically, the period between November and February are often its hottest.
The city of Niamey has the Diori Hamani International Airport where visitors coming into Niger can alight. Taxis are also available to take visitors to their destination and they could be hired for a tour inside the city. There are a number of attractions in the city with its Grand Marche, which is a famous market area as a place to see. The city Gabdi song and other local music will definitely trill most tourists.
Located next to a gentle flowing river, Niamey is known for its hospitality and entertainment options. While enjoying the scenery of the city, add to your experience a visit to some of its must-sees. These include the Niger National Museum which is among the best in West Africa. In its brightly coloured blue and white buildings, the museum exhibits artefacts of Nigerien history and customs. You can also buy some of them being offered for sale including traditional homes, instruments and costumes. The zoo and the colossal Grande Mosque with its minaret are definite must-sees. Take a guided tour of the mosque - get to the top of its minaret for a breath-taking view of the city. Don’t forget to visit the city’s bustling market where you can get anything you need. Plus add the Hippodrome and the artisan village in Wadata to your itinerary too.
There are restaurants and pubs serving international dishes and drinks in Niamey, but your best bet if you want to have the real Niamey feel is to taste the local dishes. Niamey cuisine reflects the typical West African culture with some Arabian touches. Grilled meat cooked in spicy sauces and served with cooked vegetables or salad is quite popular. Traditional vegetable soup, which is mixed stew with green vegetable cooked with chicken, fish or goat, called efo, is eaten alongside starchy food like cassava and yam. Stews can also be served with rice, millet or couscous. Beignet, a deep fried pastry, is a popular snack food here too. You can also enjoy the lamb tagine with prunes and almonds served with couscous. The popular local beer is La Conjoncture and some restaurants serve it in iced-cold mugs, but being a warm area with temperature getting as high as 40 degree Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit), you will need plenty of water.