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Niamey has been the capital of Niger since the French moved the administration there from Zinder in 1926. In 1940 Niamey was just a small town of some 2000 people, but nowadays it's a sprawling city with well over half a million inhabitants. The bulk of the city was built in recent times and there are many modern buildings in town. Money from the city's fast expanse came from uranium sales, mainly during the 1970's. But although Niamey is in the fast lane, live is actually quite relaxed in the capital. As with many Sahelian cities it is easy to get lost in Niamey. It is best to use the Grand Marché as a focus point, when wandering through the city. Otherwise you can always ask someone for directions. Niamey has a real desert town ambience and its friendly people will help you out.

Since Niamey is a fairly new city; there is not a whole lot to see for travelers. Some of the most interesting sites include the Grand Marché on Boulevard de la Liberté in the city center. It burnt totally in the mid 1980's, but has since been rebuilt and it is one of the best markets in Western Africa, although it is quite expensive. The beautiful couvertures Djerma are sold there as well. There is also a Petit Marché where more interesting items are sold.

The modern Grande Mosquée was paid for by Lybia. It is 1œ km north of the Grand Marché. The Musée National du Niger is 1œ km south of the Grand Marché, towards the Niger River. It has an exhibition on traditional lifestyles and local costumes and implements. Niamey's zoo is included in the museum's premises. There is also an artisans' area, where handicrafts are manufactured that are sold to the museum's visitors.

Horse and camel races are held in the hippodrome on many Sundays throughout the year. Accommodation is quite expensive in Niamey and most hotels are clustered around the southwestern side of the Grand Marché. Most restaurants are found in that area as well. You can also try local foods from one of the markets. Niamey has a great choice of nightlife. There is a campsite southwest of town on the road to the airport. The main bridge crossing the Niger River is called Pont Kennedy. Niamey straddles the Niger River and is located in the southwestern corner of Niger.


Miscellaneous Information

Latitude:    13 31 N
Longitude: 2 06 E
Elevation:  216 m (709 ft.)

Population: 500,000
Cost-of-living compared to Washington D.C.: 140%

Hours from UTC: 1
Daylight savings time: n/a

City phone code: Not required
Country phone code: 227

Average Weather Patterns

January24.2°C (75.6°F)n/a
April33.6°C (92.5°F)0.8 cm (0.31 in)
July28.9°C (84°F)13.2 cm (5.2 in)
October30.8°C (87.4°F)1.3 cm (0.51 in)

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