Niger travel guide
One of the world’s poorest nations, Niger might be a challenging destination to travel around, but rewards abound for those willing to persevere. And with political stability returning to this West African nation, it is slowly opening up to tourists.
A country shaped by Saharan trade routes, visitors came and went through this land for centuries, leaving behind them a wonderful fusion of Arab and African traditions.
Agadez and Zinder sprung up along these now defunct routes and today these cities retain their ancient mercantile charm. Comprised of beautiful adobe dwellings, their labyrinthine streets are home to bustling markets, which sell pottery, leather and other decorative pieces. Zinder is also renowned for its extravagant Ramadan festival, during which horsemen can be seen riding through the streets in the most flamboyant fashion.
Unlike Agadez and Zinder, Niger’s capital, Niamey, was never a site of trans-Saharan trade, and remained relatively unimportant until the 20th century. It continues to be possibly the least-hurried and most relaxed capital in the region. Situated on the lush banks of the Niger River, from which the country takes its name, Niamey is the commercial centre and a great place to delve into local life.
Niger’s biggest cultural event, however, occurs out in the desert town of Ingall. At the end of the rainy season the town’s population of 500 swells to several thousand as Tuareg and Wodaabe nomads attend the annual Cure Salée festival. The centrepiece is the Wodaabe gerewol, during which unmarried men adopt extravagant makeup and sing rhythmic chants in the hope of impressing a future bride.
Naturalists are also well catered for in Niger, which is home to a number of national parks, most famously W Regional Park, a haven for lions, leopards, elephants, baboons and much more. Ultimately, though, it’s Niger’s ancient cities, time-honoured festivals and nomadic culture that make this friendly country so beguiling.
1,267,000 sq km (489,191 sq miles).
20,715,285 (UN estimate 2016).
14.2 per sq km.
President Mohamed Bazoum since 2021.
Prime Minister Ouhoumoudou Mahamadou since 2021.
Coronavirus travel health
Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Niger on the TravelHealthPro website
See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Airports in Niger reopened on August 1 2020 and some commercial flights have resumed. Check with your travel company for the latest information.
Entry and borders
See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in Niger.
Returning to the UK
When you return, you must follow the rules for entering the UK.
You are responsible for organising your own COVID-19 test, in line with UK government testing requirements. The Ministry of Health website provides details (in French) of where to go for testing in Niger.
Be prepared for your plans to change
No travel is risk-free during COVID. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.
If you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to stay where you are until you test negative. You may also need to seek treatment there.
Plan ahead and make sure you:
- can access money
- understand what your insurance will cover
- can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned
Travel in Niger
Air borders reopened on 1 August 2020 and international passenger flights have resumed. Flights within Niger remain limited.
International roads are open at border points.
Most hotels are open. Some have social distancing measures in place but adherence to social distancing and COVID-19 preventive measures varies.
Public places and services
Restaurants, shops and bars are open.
Healthcare in Niger
Medical facilities are poor. Serious medical treatment would require evacuation to Europe. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.
Private hospitals and clinics are available, such as Polyclinic Magori (+227 20741291, or +227 20743347 in an emergency) and Clinique Gamkalley (+227 96964886, or +227 20734639 in an emergency).
You should contact your insurance and/or medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.
COVID-19 vaccines if you live in Niger
Wherever possible British nationals should aim to be vaccinated in the country where they live. As further information is available about the national vaccination programme, this page will be updated. Sign up to get email notifications.
British nationals can receive vaccinations under the Nigerien COVID-19 vaccination programme at the UN Clinic in Niamey (including second doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine).
The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is the UK authority responsible for assessing the safety, quality and efficacy of vaccines. It has authorised the Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines for temporary supply and use in the UK. Find out more about MHRA approval for these vaccines.
British nationals living overseas should seek medical advice from their local healthcare provider in the country where they reside. Information about vaccines used in other national programmes, including regulatory status, should be available from the local authorities. This list of Stringent Regulatory Authorities recognised by the World Health Organisation may also be a useful source of additional information. Find out more information about the COVID-19 vaccines on the World Health Organization COVID-19 vaccines page.
For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.
Levels of crime, especially in the capital Niamey, are high. Thefts, robberies and residential break-ins can occur at any time. The main type of incident for which British nationals need consular assistance in Niger is theft. Take sensible precautions to keep important items like money, passports, jewellery and mobile phones safe. The areas around the Gaweye Hotel, National Museum and Petit Marché in Niamey are particularly prone to muggings and you should not walk alone there, or cross the Kennedy Bridge over the River Niger on foot at any time. Walking at night is dangerous due to the lack of street lighting.
Car thieves often target off-road vehicles. Make sure car doors are locked at all times.
Banditry, smuggling and other criminal activity is common in border areas (particularly Maradi, Tillabéri and Diffa), especially after dark.You should take special care and avoid crossing borders during the hours of darkness.
There have also been incidents of Nigeriens being killed in the course of hold-ups and robberies on public transport buses travelling between Tahoua and Agadez and between Agadez and Arlit.
British nationals are increasingly being targeted by scams. The scams come in many forms: romance and friendship, business ventures, work and employment opportunities, and can pose great financial risk to victims. You should treat with considerable caution any requests for funds, a job offer, a business venture or a face to face meeting from someone you have been in correspondence with over the internet who lives in West Africa.
Travel around Niger can be difficult, and conditions are poor for overland travel. You should take all necessary safety precautions, especially outside of main urban areas, have confidence in your security arrangements and maintain a high level of vigilance.
Avoid all travel between towns at night. Seek local advice and use local travel agents and guides when travelling outside main towns and in desert areas. An approved local travel agent can arrange all the necessary permits for your journey and leave details of your itinerary with the local authorities. Travel in convoy and carry an independent satellite phone when travelling off the beaten track. You should prepare well in advance and make sure you have a sufficient supply of drinking water and food.
Northern and eastern Niger
Local authorities are extremely sensitive about foreigners travelling out of Tahoua to other parts of Niger in the east and the north. There is a risk of arrest and deportation for even enquiring about travel to Agadez, given the security situation in that region.
The following roads in northern Niger are permanently closed to tourists, except with special authorisation:
- Chirfa (Djado) / Djanet (Algeria)
- Achouloma (north Djado) / Salvador Pass (Libya)
- Adrar Bous (north Aïr) / Djanet (Algeria)
- Adrar Bous (north Aïr) / In Azawa (Algeria)
- Agadez / Arlit / Iferouane
- Agadez / Tahoua
The MNJ armed group has launched attacks in the north including the use of land mines, and Islamist terrorist groups have previouslylaunched attacks in Agadez, Arlit and against a prison in Niamey.. Attacks against tourists are known to take place at El Meki between Agadez and Timia. The Aïr and Ténéré regions are particularly prone to attacks.
A curfew has been implemented in the whole of the Diffa region since 2014. As of 19 April 2019, this prohibits the movement of motorised vehicles from 8pm to 6am. There is also a general curfew from 10pm and 6am.
A state of emergency has been in place in the urban municipality of Tillabéri since February 2019. The movement of motorcycles and cars is banned from 7pm to 6am, and the movement of pedestrians is banned from 10pm to 6am. Public meetings are banned, unless expressly permitted by the authorities. Defence and security forces are authorised to carry out searches, and to check identities, both day and night.
Following an incident on 9 August 2020 which killed six French nationals and 2 Nigeriens in Kouré, Tillabéri, a state of emergency is in place for the whole of Tillabéri apart from Niamey.
A state of emergency has also been in place in Ouallam, Ayorou, Bankilare, Abala and Banibongou (Tillabéri region) and Tassara and Tillia (Tahoua region) since March 2017.
A state of emergency is in place in the states of Borno and Yobe in Nigeria, which border Niger.
In October 2020 an American was kidnapped (and later rescued in a US military operation in Nigeria) in Massalata near the border with Nigeria.
You can drive in Niger using an International Driving Permit (IDP) for up to 3 months. If you’re staying longer than 3 months, you will need to get a Niger licence.
If you’re driving on an IDP, you should have the 1968 version IDP to drive in Niger. 1949 IDPs previously issued by the UK may no longer be accepted in Niger. You can only get IDPs over the counter from 2,500 UK Post Offices. You will not be able to buy an IDP outside the UK, so get one before you travel.
You should carry car registration documents with you at all times.
The main roads between Niamey and other large towns are generally satisfactory by African standards, but some roads are pot-holed. Driving standards are poor. Vehicles are often poorly lit at night and there is little street lighting. There have been reports of land mines being used in Burkina Faso on the road between Ouagadougou and Niamey. Seek local advice before making this journey.
Buses operate on routes between Niamey and other large towns, but distances are long and buses are prone to mechanical failure. There have also been incidents of Nigeriens being killed in the course of hold-ups and robberies on public transport buses travelling between Tahoua and Agadez and between Agadez and Arlit.
Taxis are available but are often in poor mechanical condition. Driving standards are poor.
In the case of an accident, you should go immediately to the nearest police station to file a report: remaining in the location of the incident risks being taken to task, sometimes violently, by the local population. Medical help in the event of an accident is likely to be limited.
As of 2 April 2021, the President of Niger is His Excellency Bazoum Mohamed, of the PNDS political party.
Protests, marches and demonstrations can occur with little prior notice and can be violent. If you become aware of any nearby protests, marches or demonstrations, you should move away from the area immediately, as the atmosphere can change quickly and without warning.
Niger has contributed troops to the UN Peacekeeping Mission (MINUSMA) in neighbouring Mali and is committing troops to the regional fight against Boko Haram.
If you are in Niger and need consular assistance, call the British High Commission in Accra on +233 302 213 200 or +44 1908 516666. If you are in the UK and worried about a family member in Niger call 020 7008 5000.
Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Niger, including in Niamey. There is particular instability in the Tillabéri region of Niger, near the country’s borders with Mali and Burkina Faso. There is also particular instability in Diffa, near the Lake Chad Basin. There is also a threat of retaliatory attacks due to Niger’s participation in the French-led intervention in Mali and due to its involvement in the regional fight to counter violent extremist groups.
Attacks could be indiscriminate. You should be especially vigilant in places frequented by Westerners such as banks, bars, hotels, night clubs, restaurants, airports and other transport hubs, places of worship (particularly churches), national parks and nature reserves, supermarkets, and businesses with Western interests. Foreign or local government facilities and large crowds may also be a target. You should monitor developments, be alert to announcements and remain vigilant at all times. Take particular care during religious and public holiday periods.
The government declared a state of emergency on 3 March 2017 in Diffa region, in Ouallam, Ayorou, Bankilare, Abala and Banibongou (Tillabéri region) and Tassara and Tillia (Tahoua region). This was in response to an escalation in terrorist attacks, especially in the Tillabéri region.
There have been multiple recent attacks in Niger, particularly in the Diffa and Tillabéri regions. Notable recent attacks include:
- On 21 March 2021 over 137 people were killed in attacks in the Tahoua region
- On 16 March 2021 over 58 people were killed in attacks in Banibangou in the Tillabéri region
- On 2 January 2021 over 100 people were killed in attacks on two vilages (Tchoma Bangou and Zaroumadareye) in the Tillabéri region
- On 21 December 2020, terrorists killed 7 Nigerien soldiers in an encounter in the village of Taroum, in the region of Tillabéri
- On 12 December 2020, terrorists killed 35 people in the village of Toumour in the region of Diffa, close to the border with Nigeria.
- On 9 August 2020, gunmen killed 8 people, including 6 French nationals, at a giraffe reserve in Kouré
- on 9 January 2020, terrorists killed 89 Nigerien soldiers at their base in Chinegodrar, Tillabéri
- on 10 December 2019, terrorists killed 71 Nigerien soldiers at their base in Inates
There is also a risk of terrorist attacks in the Parc du W, which is tri-national and shares an open border with Benin and Burkina Faso. Terrorist activity is increasing in south-eastern Burkina Faso, including confirmed terrorist attacks in the Parc. The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) therefore advise against all travel to the Parc plus the contiguous Dosso and Tamou hunting zones.
There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria.
There are a number of terrorist groups active in the region. These include Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen (JNIM), Islamic State West Africa (ISWA), Islamic State Greater Sahara (ISGS), Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Al Murabitoun, Ansar Dine and Boko Haram. These groups are capable of carrying out attacks and kidnaps over long distances. Kidnapping for ransom is the primary source of finance for Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen (JNIM). Criminal gangs also carry out kidnapping for terrorist groups in return for financial rewards. Read more about the threat from terrorism in the Sahel region.
Westerners have been kidnapped in Niger and the wider Sahel region, including in Niamey and the north and west of Niger. In October 2020 an American was kidnapped (and rescued shortly after) in Massalata near the border with Nigeria. In September 2018, a Catholic priest was kidnapped in Makolondi, 125 km southwest of Niamey. An aid worker was kidnapped in the Tillabéri region of Niger in April 2018.
If you’re working or travelling in Niger, you should be aware of the risk of terrorist kidnapping. You should maintain a high level of vigilance at all times, including when travelling, in crowded public places, including camps for displaced people, religious gatherings and insecure spaces like places of worship, markets, shopping malls, hotels, bars, night clubs, restaurants, nature reserves and national parks, and transport hubs. You should make sure you have carefully considered the threat and have reasonable, proportionate mitigation measures in place.
British nationals are viewed as legitimate targets, including those engaged in tourism, humanitarian aid work, journalism or business sectors. If you’re kidnapped, the reason for your presence is unlikely to serve as a protection or secure your safe release.
The long-standing policy of the British government is not to make substantive concessions to hostage takers. The British government considers that paying ransoms and releasing prisoners builds the capability of terrorist groups and finances their activities. This can, in turn, increase the risk of further hostage-taking. The Terrorism Act (2000) makes payments to terrorists illegal.
Niger is a Muslim country. You should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times and be aware of your actions to ensure that they do not offend, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious areas.
In 2021, the holy month of Ramadan is expected to start on the 12 April and finish on the on 11 May. See Travelling during Ramadan.
Do not photograph military or government installations.
You should carry some form of identification at all times. This would normally mean your passport or residence permit. If you drive outside the main towns, the likelihood of having to produce some form of identification is high.
If you commit a criminal offence you will be subjected to local law. Local prison conditions are harsh.
There is no law criminalising homosexuality in Niger. However, there are laws under the Penal Code of 1993 covering ‘public outrage against modesty’ and ‘immodest/unnatural acts’. An ‘unnatural act’ with a person of the same sex who is under the age of 21 can be punishable by a fine of 10,000 to 100,000 francs and up to 3 years imprisonment. Although we are not aware of any prosecutions under this legislation, attitudes within society towards LGBT people can be discriminatory. You should exercise discretion. There are no laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and no legal recognition of same-sex couples. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.
The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.
The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.
Entry rules in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)
Entry to Niger
Entry to Niger is only permitted for Nigerien nationals, persons with valid residency and foreign nationals with valid visas.
Testing on arrival
- if you are eligible for entry, you will need to present a negative COVID-19 test certificate less than 72 hours old to the airport authorities, or be tested at the airport. If you test positive for COVID-19 upon arriving in Niger you will have to isolate in government facilities for 14 days
- you will be subject to temperature checks upon arrival
If you are staying in Niger for less than 7 days, you will need to take a COVID-19 test on arrival and self-isolate until you have received the results of the test. If your test is negative, you can end the self-isolation. If you are staying in Niger for more than 7 days, you will have to self-isolate at your final destination (home, hotel) for seven days. On the seventh day of self-isolation you will need to take a second COVID-19 test; if the result is negative you can end self-isolation and if the result is positive you will have to follow government isolation procedures.
A negative COVID-19 test (less than five days old) is required upon departing Niger.
To receive the test make an appointment with the Centre de Recherche Medicale et Sanitaire Niger (CERMES).
You are advised to ring one of the following numbers between 8am and 5:30pm: 20752040, 20752045, 88526448, 80090111.
You must take identification and evidence of your flight to the appointment. The test will cost 30,000 CFA.
Regular entry requirements
You will need a valid visa to enter Niger. You should apply for a visa from the Nigerien Embassy in Paris (154 rue de Longchamp, 75116 Paris; telephone: +00 33 (1) 4504 8060).
Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. No additional period of validity beyond this is needed.
UK Emergency Travel Documents
UK Emergency Travel Documents are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Niger.
Yellow fever certificate requirements
All arrivals in Niger require a yellow fever certificate. Check additional requirements by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website
Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Niger on the TravelHealthPro website
See the healthcare information in the Coronavirus section for information on what to do if you think you have coronavirus while in Niger.
At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.
General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.
The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).
In the 2010 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic the UNAIDS/WHO Working Group estimated that around 53,000 adults aged 15 or over in Niger were living with HIV; the prevalence percentage was estimated at around 0.8% of the adult population compared to the prevalence percentage in adults in the UK of around 0.2%. You should exercise normal precautions to avoid exposure to HIV/AIDS.
Medical facilities are poor, even in Niamey. Serious medical treatment would need evacuation to Europe. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.
Private hospitals and clinics are available, such as Polyclinic Magori (+227 20741291, or +227 20743347 in an emergency) and Clinique Gamkalley (+227 96964886, or +227 20734639 in an emergency).
You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.
The rainy season in Niger is from May to November. Torrential rains can cause floods and landslides. You should monitor local weather reports and expect difficulties when travelling to affected areas during this season.
Niger is a cash based society. Credit cards are rarely accepted even in hotels and restaurants frequented by international clients. There are few ATMs. Banks accept travellers’ cheques. You will have to produce your passport and the receipt for the cheques from the issuing bank.
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).
Foreign travel checklist
Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.
The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.
When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.
Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.
Refunds and cancellations
If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.
For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Registering your travel details with us
We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.
Previous versions of FCDO travel advice
If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice Team a request.
If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry.We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.