Characterised by a landlocked mass of desert dunes and savannah, former French Niger is a sub-Saharan region that boasts gorgeous natural attractions such as black volcanic mountains, national parks, lush oases and unique wildlife. However, those adventurous travellers wanting to explore Niger’s well-kept secrets should expect some encounters with armed bandits before reaching them.

Positioned along the Niger River’s Niamey northern part is Niamey. This thriving city boasts a modern downtown area and vibrant surrounding communities. The markets in Niamey are popular with visiting tourists and locals alike. Situated just outside Niamey is W National Park, which is home to prolific birdlife and wildlife including: jackals, elephants, lions, buffaloes, baboons and hyenas.

The capital city of the ancient Tuareg region, Agadez, is a must-see. The historic city of Agadez and its surrounding caravan trading region offer many locally produced leather goods as well as silverware. The Ayorou region of Niger is an ideal location for bargain shopping and houses an old trading settlement near the Mali frontier.

Guided nature tours are the best way to take in what Niger has on offer. You’ll have the option enjoying the country’s mountains by trekking their high summits or appreciating the impressive views by taking a ride along the winding roads. The lush vegetation and wild animals in Niger can be explored at any of the nature gardens and parks.

Niger is reachable by air via the country’s main international air hub in Niamey, Diori Hamani International Airport. Getting around Niamey isn’t always easy as certain highways and roads are closed to tourists. Many routes require travellers to have special authorisation, making travelling with a local guide wise. Bus transport may be an option if you have time to wait hours for the next departure. Car rental is available but you’ll need to hire a tour guide for touring Niger.