This beautiful country named after the Niger River in West Africa, mostly covered by the Sahara Desert. The gateway to this desert is Agadez which is also a Niger’s most fascinating city. Apart from this is Air Mountains and Tenere Desert which is one of the most spectacular sights. If you wanted to explore the museums, there is always the Musee National du Niger which could show you the different Niger before and now. Lastly, there are the different culinary pleasures for the foodies which they could have near the shores of the Niger River in Niamey. These different experiences are worth remembering and will always remind you to keep coming back to the experience the beauty of Niger once again.
Niger – Important and interesting Facts
- Zinder was the former capital of Niger before Niamey was declared as its official capital in 1926. Zinder, formerly also spelled Sinder, is the second largest city in Niger, with a population of 170,574 by 2005 was estimated to be over 200,000. It is situated 861 km east of the capital Niamey and 240 km north of the Nigerian city of Kano.
- Niger is primarily divided into seven regions and one capital district. Niger shares its territorial boundaries with seven other African countries. They being Nigeria, Chad, Algeria, Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin and Libya.
- Niger is a developing country. It ranks 167 out of 169 countries in terms of the United Nations’ Human Development Index (HDI). The GDP of the country is 10.75 billion dollars and the economy is based primarily upon internal markets, subsistence agriculture and export of raw commodities. Japan, Nigeria, France, Algeria and Belgium are the main trading partners of the country. Niger exports Uranium ore, livestock, cow peas and onions while it imports machinery, food, vehicles and petroleum.
- The country of Niger is one of the hottest countries in the world and is famously nicknamed as ‘Frying Pan of the World’. It can get hot enough to make raindrops evaporate before they hit the ground. Niger possesses a sub-tropical climate, with the majority of the land mass dominated by an arid, desert environment, making the country hot and dry. There is also an area of Niger with rolling savanna grasslands, in the south, turning into hilly terrain in the north. In the south east of the country, the portion of Lake Chad which Niger shares with neighboring countries also has a cooling and moist effect on the climate, which is otherwise constantly hot and dry.
- Greboun is the highest point in Niger. It stands approximately 6,379 feet (1,944 meters) tall. Mount Greboun is a 5,592 ft / 1,705 m mountain peak in Agadez, Niger. Based on peakery data, it ranks as the 6th highest mountain in Agadez and the 6th highest mountain in Niger. The nearest peaks are Ihouilene, Ilem, Essa, Tamazour, Tchiouanki, and Adrar Temouroudout.
- Niger is home to one of the world’s largest protected reserves, the Air and Tenere Natural Reserves, which is the refuge for animals like addax, Cheetah, Oryx and the gazelle. This is the largest protected area in Africa, covering some 7.7 million ha, though the area considered a protected sanctuary constitutes only one-sixth of the total area. It includes the volcanic rock mass of the Aïr, a small Sahelian pocket, isolated as regards its climate and flora and fauna, and situated in the Saharan desert of Ténéré. The reserves boast an outstanding variety of landscapes, plant species and wild animals.
- Agadez is the largest city in the country of Niger. Agadez in Niger is important and famous as a market town of the country. Agadez Attractions include the Mosque of Agadez which was built in the 16th century. Agadez is also a center of transportation of uranium, which is mined in the area. The other attractions of Agadez include the central market, the Sultan’s Palace. There is a camel market in the city. The tourists to Agadez can also visit the shops were silver articles are sold. In Agadez another interesting spot is the Croix da Agadez. The metal works which are available in the Artisan Center is also very famous in the city..
- The Nigerian flag is perfectly square in shape and the colors of orange, white and green stand for the Sahara desert, purity and innocence, and green vegetation and fruitful agricultural areas of the country respectively.
- Tuareg and Inadan men wear veils. Although the Tuaregs are Muslim the women do not cover their faces. The Tuareg are best known for the men’s practice of veiling their faces with a blue cloth dyed with indigo. Early travelers’ accounts often referred to them as the “Blue Men” of the Sahara Desert, the region where many Tuareg live. It is believed that the Tuareg are descendants of the North African Berbers, and that they originated in the Fezzan region of Libya. They later expanded into regions bordering the Sahara, bringing local farming peoples into their own society.
- A dinosaur named Nigersaurus has been discovered in Niger. It had a long neck and a mouth like a hammerhead shark with up to six hundred teeth for grazing ferns. Nigersaurus is a genus of rebbachisaurid sauropod dinosaur that lived during the middle Cretaceous period, about 115 to 105 million years ago. It was discovered in the Elrhaz Formation in an area called Gadoufaoua, in the Republic of Niger.
Niger – Cool, Fun, and Funny Facts
- The North is covered by semi deserts and large deserts and the South is dominated by Savannahs. Wildlife includes buffaloes, elephants, West African lion, Northwest African cheetah, roan, antelopes and warthogs.
- There are many dinosaur remains in an area of the Sahara in Niger. Fossils of dinosaur-era crocodiles found in Sahara. Five exotic crocodiles that lived alongside the dinosaurs 100 million years ago, including one sporting boar-like tusks and another with a duckbill snout, have been discovered in the Sahara.
- Niger is a country in the African continent that abounds in wildlife. Parks in Niger act as reserves and conservation areas for these wildlife species. Many animals in the African forests have become rare and endangered species and are protected in these national parks in Niger. The national parks in Niger are evidence of bio-diversity at its best. National Parks of Niger National parks of Niger are a treasure house of various species of fauna. There are two national parks in Niger that are worth-mentioning-the Abaaba National Park and W National Park. These national parks have also become a center of tourist attraction in the country.
- The Niger has one of the most unusual routes of any of the major rivers in the world. It starts approximately 150 miles from the Atlantic Ocean (240 kilometers). Instead of flowing to the nearby Atlantic Ocean it instead heads inland, away from the sea into the Sahara Desert. It turns sharply near the city of Timbuktu and heads to the Gulf of Guine
- Tunguma Stone in Dosso, near Lougou is a traditional stone of judgement, which can be approached only by certain, authorized people. According to local traditions it moves towards the one who asks, of the answer is positive and moves away, if negative. This site has many legends, including legends about the nearby burial of legendary first queen of Saraounia. This area is the last stronghold of Hausa animist religion.
- Tree of Ténéré (sculpture) in Agadez. Metal sculpture in the site where was standing lonely tree, reportedly – the loneliest tree in the world. This Acacia was standing 400 km from the nearest tree until it was knocked down by a car in 1973.
- Madarounfa Lake in Maradi, around this lake is 99 graves of Muslim saints. Site of legends about unusual event such as gatherings of light on Thursday evenings.
- The lowest point is the Niger River that has an elevation of 200 meters and the highest point is Mont Idoukal-n-Taghes in the Air Mountains at 2,044 m. Niger River, principal river of western Africa. With a length of 2,600 miles (4,200 km), it is the third longest river in Africa, after the Nile and the Congo. The Niger is believed to have been named by the Greeks. Along its course it is known by several names. These include the Joliba (Malinke: “great river”) in its upper course; the Mayo Balleo and the Isa Eghirren in its central reach; and the Kwarra, Kworra, or Quorra in its lower stretch.
- The Niger has one of the most unusual routes of any of the major rivers in the world. It starts approximately 150 miles from the Atlantic Ocean (240 kilometers). Instead of flowing to the nearby Atlantic Ocean it instead heads inland, away from the sea into the Sahara Desert. It turns sharply near the city of Timbuktu and heads to the Gulf of Guinea.
- Unlike the Nile, the Niger is very clear. This is because its source contains very little silt. The countries of Niger and Nigeria get their names from the river. Between Segou and Timbuktu the gradient of the river decreases drastically and forms the Inner Niger Delta. The delta is approximately the size of the country Belgium. The decrease gradient causes the flow of the river to slow down resulting in numerous marches, lakes, and streams. In this area about two thirds of the rivers potential flow is lost, leaking into lakes and marches. When the region floods, during the rainy season, excellent conditions for fishing and farming are created.
Niger– History and Cultural Facts
- In 1926, Zinder was the former capital of Niger before Niamey was declared as its official capital. Niamey is the largest city of Niger. It was probably founded in the eighteenth century. It became an important center during the French colonial period. Niger is located in the pearl millet growing region. It has an estimated population of 774,235 and covers an area of 92.4 square miles.
- The national day of Niger, also known as the republic day, is celebrated on December 18. Since 1958, December 18 has been a historic day though it was not declared a national festival until 2005. This day commemorates the founding of the republic and the creation of presidency of Niger.
- The emblem of Niger depicts a four-part flag draping in the orange, white and green. In the middle, a white shield is placed. On the shield there are four golden symbols. In the middle, there is a sun, to the left there is a vertical spear with two crossed Tuareg swords, to the right there are three pearl millet heads and at the bottom is a Zebu head. Beneath the shield and the flags, there is a ribbon bearing the name of country in French: Republique du Niger. It was adopted in 1959.
- There are several old cities, towns and villages in the country with well-preserved traditional architecture. Some are abandoned such as Djado and Djaba and now are exotic ruins in the middle of desert. The Djado Plateau lies in the Sahara, in northeastern Niger. It is known for its cave art, but is now largely uninhabited, with abandoned towns and forts still standing and visible. Others are alive such as Agadez, Fachi, and Zinder and to outsider may look like living open-air museums. Agadez is also known as the gateway to the desert, on the southern edge of the Sahara desert. While, Fachi is an oasis surrounded by the Ténéré desert and the dunes of the Erg of Bilma in eastern Niger, placed on the western edge of the small Agram mountain outcropping. Lastly, Zinder is the second largest city in Niger, It is situated 861 km east of the capital Niamey and 240 km north of the Nigerian city of Kano.
- Bura site – Tera. Prehistoric (first millenium AD) necropolis with coffins which are adorned with interesting terra cotta statues. Site contains burial mounds, shrines, ancient dwellings. This site has given name to local archaeological culture – Bura culture.
- Dabous giraffe carvings in Agadez is World’s largest single petroglyph. Unique life-sized rock carvings of two giraffes created some 8 – 10 thousand years ago. The quality and detail of carvings is exceptional. Largest giraffe is 5.4 m tall. The site contains hundreds of other petroglyphs. Niger is very rich with prehistoric cliff art and there are countless sites with petroglyphs, including very interesting and somewhat mysterious round-headed people in Tageuit.
- Gobero site in Agadez is the oldest known graveyard in the Sahara, was used already circa 8,000 BC. Here have been found remnants of extinct animals, human remains and many interesting artefacts. Site was inhabited for some 5 thousand years.
- Zinder historical centres in Zinder is a historical desert city which evolved in the 18th century. Two districts in the city such as Birni and Zengou contains many historical buildings. Birni (Birini) contains Zinder Great Mosque and Zinder Sultan’s Palace, but Zengou (old Hausa settlement) have many examples of vernacular architecture. City has numerous mudbrick buildings.
- Assodé ruins in Agadez is ruins of historical Tuareg capital in Aïr mountains, founded circa 11th century AD, declined in the 18th century AD and abandoned since 1917. Ruins of 30 m long mosque.
- Yamma Mosque (Yaama Mosque) in Tahoua is an unusual building, constructed in 1962 and later in traditional style, from adobe. Building has elaborate structure of central dome and four minarets. The local architect Elhadj Mamoudou dit Falké has built several similar mosques in this area.