Niger — Weather
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. In the extreme south and west, the climate turns near tropical around the Niger River basin, with flourishing green vegetation. 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.
Average daily maximum temperatures in Niger fall between 88°F and 106°F, although dropping to much cooler temperatures at night, falling below 68°F. This stark difference can catch many visitors out, particularly as the country is so hot during the day. Generally the country is very hot, with plenty of sunshine, earning the country the nickname the ‘frying pan of the world’. For cooler temperatures you can seek the higher altitude of the mountainous Air Massif region, where highest daytime temperatures rarely exceed 77°F, although this will still feel warm because the air is dry. The highest peak in Niger measures over 6,634ft, is called Mont Idoukal-n-Taghes, and is situated almost in the exact center of the country. To the east and north of these mountains is the start of the Sahara desert zone.
Rainfall varies across the country although is extremely low. In the far eastern desert area, rainfall is minimal, at less than an inch every year. Towards the central Air Massif mountainous region rainfall gets to around 10 inches every year, although this decreases as the altitude drops to Agadez, which is more of a savanna climate. The south and west of Niger experiences the most rainfall, up to 30 inches annually. The capital city, Niamey, sees about 22 inches of rain every year.
Best Time to Visit Niger
If visiting the south and west of the country, there is a slightly increased wet season between June and September. Not so much additional rainfall is experienced, but the air becomes humid and heavy, making it uncomfortable. Preceding this wet season is the hot season, with day time temperatures sometimes exceeding 104°F it is also an uncomfortable time to be visiting Niger. The cool season commences around October and lasts until March, where temperatures generally peak at 86°F, so you may wish to plan to visit the country during this time.
November is usually clear and sunny, with pleasant temperatures, so is often a good time to visit. In August and September there are a few traditional festivals you may wish to see, albeit the weather is hotter and stickier during this time. Hotel prices do not particularly fluctuate through the year, since Niger does not really experience a tourist ‘high season’, although always be sure to check when local holidays and ceremonies are held as this could have an impact on making accommodation arrangements.