Niamey is the capital and largest city in Niger and has a population of about 750,000 inhabitants. The city is located on the banks of Niger River, mostly on the east bank and is the administrative, cultural and economic center of the country. It is an attractive city with lots to see and do and generally offers good facilities for travellers, both budget and upmarket. The Niger National Museum, the Niger riverbanks with the possibility to dine on a boat, several markets and a traditional wrestling area will keep most travellers busy for a day or two. The city is easily reached by plane or bus.
Niamey has a hot and generally dry desert climate with a short rain season from June to September when there can be severe thunderstorms with occasonial floodings. Rains can be unpredictable though and sometimes the rainy season means just a few showers now and then. Average anual rainfall is around 200 mm. The coolest time is between November and February with warm and dry weather. Temperatures generally are still over 35 degrees Celsius though. March to June are very hot in the entire country with average daytime temperatures of 40 degrees Celcius or more, but temperatures of over 45 degrees Celsius are not unheard of. Nights are warm to very warm. Only November to February has nights of roughly 15 to 18 degrees, but in the hot season temperatures at night average over 25 degrees Celcius.
Diori Hamani International Airport (NIM) near Niamey receives a good number of international flights. Destinations include Bamako, Cotonou and Tripoli with Afriqiyah Airways, Algiers with Air Algérie, Ouagadougou and Paris with Air France, Abidjan with Air Ivoire, Dakar with Air Senegal, Casablanca and Libreville with Royal Air Maroc and Basel with Hello AG.
Point Afrique has flights between Paris/Marseille and Agadez/Niamey.
Buses travel between Niamey and Cotonou in Benin, taking 14 hours for the journey. Crossing is at the Gaya/Malanville border where otherwise you can take a moto and walk across if you don't feel like doing the whole trip in one stage. On both sides, there are bush taxi's.
Buses and minibuses also travel between Niamey and Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso, taking around 10 hours. Crossing is at Foetchango, west of Niamey.
There are two weekly trucks between Niamey and Gao in Mali, taking up to 30 hours across bad roads.
Buses and bush taxi's connect Niamey to other destinations in Niger, including Zinder and Agadez.
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