The Republic of Niger is a country in Western Africa, named after the Niger River. The territory is landlocked, bordered on all sides by the countries Algeria, Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin, Nigeria, Chad, and Libya. It is the largest nation in West Africa, lying over a land area of almost 1,270,000 square kilometres, over 80% of which is covered by the Sahara desert. The capital and commercial centre of Nigeria is Niamey, but other good places to visit are Zainder, the cultural capital, Ayorou for picturesque views of the River Niger and the best markets in the country, and Agadez, home to a beautiful palace and several mosques.
Where to go
Guérewol festival - The Guérewol festival is an annual traditional courtship by the Wodaabe (Fula) people. The cultural event is held in Abalak in Tahoua region or In'Gall in Agadez Region. In this ceremony, young men dress in elaborate ornamentation and traditional face paintings, and exhibit their skills to catch the attention of marriageable young women.
Cure Salée Festival - Another interesting festival in Niger is Cure Salee, meaning Salt Cure, or Festival of the Nomads. It is an annual gathering of the Tuareg and Wodaabe peoples in the town of Ingall. The festival marks the end of the rainy season, normally sometime in the last two weeks of September.
Agadez Mosque - Agadez Mosque is a mosque made of clay, originally built in 1515. It was restored in 1844 and remains to be a prominent mosque in the Agadez today.
Niamey Grand Mosque - Niamey Grand Mosque, or Grande Mosquée, is the largest mosque in Niamey, a gift to Niger from Qadafi. There is a guardian who can give tours in the Mosque, wherein visitors can climb up the minaret. There is no payment for the tour, but visitors will need to 'donate whatever you think is appropriate'. However, be aware that you will have to pay three times: the first is donation for the upkeep of the mosque, second is a small donation for the women's room of the mosque, and third is a tip for the tour guide.
Fly off to the city of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia for a short-haul trip. Explore the crowded and chaotic, yet entertaining Addis Mercato, which is said to be the largest open air market in Africa. Visit one of the best known places of worship and icons of the city, St. George's Cathedral, right beside a museum that displays memorabilia of the ancient church, as well as a collection of religious writings, Ethiopian crosses, and clothing.
Unfortunately, the primary airport in Niger does not serve long-haul destinations. The farthest destination is Paris, just over five hours away.
How to get out
The primary airport serving Niger is Diori Hamani International Airport. It operates flights to Abidjan, Algiers, Ouagadougou, Paris, Addis Ababa, Lomé, Casablanca, Bamako, Dakar, Istanbul, and Cotonou. Airlines that use Diori Hamani International Airport are Air Côte d'Ivoire, Air Algérie, Air Burkina, Air France, ASKY Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, Royal Air Maroc, Sénégal Airlines, Turkish Airlines, and Westair Benin.
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