Ranked as a developing country and consistently placed near the bottom in the United Nations Human Development Index, Niger is a small country landlocked in West Africa. Bordered by Libya, Chad, Nigeria, Benin and Burkina Faso, it has a population of 21 million people predominantly Islamic.
Niger faces serious development challenges due to its desert terrain, inefficient agriculture, high fertility rates without birth control which has resulted in overpopulation.
Its largest city, Niamey, reflects a diversity of people from different groups and regions. Historically, what is now Niger has been on the fringes of several large states. Since independence, Nigeriens have lived under five constitutions and three periods of military rule.
Despite all the challenges, Niger has a few historical sites you might want to visit.
W National Park
The W National Park continues to maintain its name as one of the most important historic sites in Niger. The park has attained the coveted UNESCO World Heritage Site tag, which is awarded on account of its unique display of transition habitats between the Savannah and the West Africa woods. The park extends into Burkina Faso and Benin. It can boast of an array of buffalos, giraffes, leopards and lions.
Who wouldn’t relish the opportunity to visit a place where two extremely diverse tribes live in harmony? Well, the Tahoua town is a place where the Tuareg Tribes of the Northern desert lands fused with the Fulani folk of the south meet. These tribes can be seen mingling, mixing, and – most importantly of all – trading their wares.
The place is also known as one of the country’s phosphate mining hubs – so don’t be surprised if there’s a clutch of the unattractive industry too.
Whenever you are in Niger, Koure is a place to visit. Admired for its giraffe numbers, its the perfect place to spot giraffes. According to research, these giraffes are the last remaining complete giraffe herd in all of West Africa.
The maze of tight-knit lanes and hidden streets weave and wind to form the hard-to-navigate heart of Zinder. Meanwhile, the Sultan’s Palace towers over the town with its great adobe architectural achievements. And that’s not even mentioning the bustling bazaar, which stretches as far as the eye can see – it’s easy to believe it was once one of the busiest camel caravan stops on the trans-Saharan route! Yep, Zinder comes top for many reasons: its rich history of French rule, tribal culture and trading; its mercantile energy; its sheer, raw African beauty.
People coming to Maradi, the third-largest city in the whole country often use Maradi as their administrative stop; to switch transports or stock up before heading out to the historic richness of Zinder, or to the Nigerian border to the south. However, those who linger will discover a town that hardly feels like any other urban destination in the nation; a place of (relative) economic prosperity and buzzing markets, oozing confidence and panache.