Niger — Travel Tips
The official language of Niger is French, since it spent a great deal of the 20th century under French colonial rule. There are also six recognized, indigenous languages spoken: Hausa, Fulfulde, Gourmanchéma, Kanuri, Zarma, and Tamasheq although French is the second language spoken by all of the population, and the first by many. Basic English may be spoken in tourist areas, although you would be better off trying to speak basic French in order to communicate your needs.
The currency of Niger is the West African franc, which is also the currency of seven other independent African states: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Senegal, and Togo. You can freely use this currency in each of these nations, although if returning to other countries you should exchange it to US dollars, euro, or pounds sterling, since it is unlikely you will be able to find anywhere that will accept it. Niger has had operational ATMs since 2010, although they are rare and you are much better off seeking a cash advance or exchanging currency in a bank. Credit cards are rarely accepted since Niger is mostly a cash-based economy. You should always travel with the amount of cash you need, although this does present security concerns so every precaution should be taken.
The time zone for Niger is GMT+1. This is the same as continental Europe, although no daylight saving is observed in Niger and time remains consistent throughout the year.
Electricity in Niger runs at 220-240V/50Hz variable. You may need a transformer if your electrical appliance differs from this standard (most North American appliances run at 110-120 volts). The country uses a rounded, two-pinned European style plug with no grounding pin. There is also the type E and F styles of plug in use, also commonly found in Europe. You will need an adaptor if your plug does not meet these standards.
The international dialing code for Niger is +227. Niger has an underdeveloped cellular telephone network, with about 900,000 telephones in use by a population of over 16 million. Niger is a large, mainly rural country, and it is unlikely you will be able to get a connection outside the capital city. Broadband internet is also considerably underdeveloped in Niger, with only an average of around 40,000 internet users for the total population of 16 million. Again, it is unlikely you will receive any internet at all outside the capital city.
Duty-free goods can be purchased at Diori Hamani International Airport and Mano Dayak International Airport. If you are traveling to the US you are allowed to import one liter of alcohol and 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, or four pounds of tobacco.
Office National du Tourisme: http://www.niger-tourisme.com/
Consulates in Niger
American Embassy, Niamey: +11-227-2073-3169
Canadian Embassy, Niamey: +11-227-7536-8687
French Embassy, Niamey: +11-227-2072-2431
National Hospital Niamey: +11-227-2072-2326