Electricity

Electrical current is 220 volts, 50Hz. Two-pinned plugs with round pins are standard.

Language

French is the official language of Niger and is widely spoken.

Money

The West African CFA Franc (XOF) is the currency of Niger. Cash is king as credit cards are very seldom accepted and there are few ATMs. Euros are the best foreign currency to carry, but US dollars are also easy to exchange.

Tipping

Tipping is appreciated in Niger and, while a service charge is generally added to restaurant bills, extra tips are still appreciated. Taxi drivers, tour guides, barmen, and porters all take tips. A 10 percent tip is customary.

Health

Malaria prophylaxis is recommended for all travellers in all areas of Niger and a yellow fever vaccination is required for all travellers arriving from countries with a risk of yellow fever transmission. A meningococcus vaccination is recommended for travel during the dry season, between November and June.

Routine vaccinations and updates for hepatitis A, hepatitis B, varicella, polio, MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), tetanus-diphtheria, and typhoid are recommended. Those travellers who may be at risk of animal bites or may be coming into contact with bats should consider a rabies vaccination. Everyone 12 years of age and older should get fully vaccinated for COVID-19 before visiting.

Medical facilities are extremely limited in Niger and travellers should ensure that they have comprehensive travel insurance. Visitors should bring medication in its original packaging, accompanied by a signed and dated letter from a doctor detailing what each medicine is and why it is required. They should carry a bag of essential medical supplies as well.

Visitors should avoid drinking tap water in Niger unless it has been boiled, filtered, or chemically disinfected. They should also be wary of food from street vendors, and should only eat cooked meals while they are still hot. Raw or undercooked meat and fish should not be eaten and fruit and vegetables should be cooked or peeled.

Safety

Niger is not currently considered safe for touristic travel and most travel authorities warn against travel to the country due to the high threat of terrorism, including kidnapping, and the high crime rate. The UK Foreign Office advises against all travel outside of the capital, Niamey and, even then, that's only for essential travel. The US Department of State similarly warns that travel in Niger is risky. Terrorist groups in the region have grown increasingly bold and there have been large-scale attacks on civilian and government targets, as well as recent kidnappings of foreigners. Official roadblocks are common, especially in and around Niamey, and must be respected. Local authorities may not permit foreigners to travel to certain areas.

The crime rate is high, particularly in Niamey, with robbery and residential break-ins the most common criminal activity. Petty, opportunistic crimes such as bag-snatching are common day and night in urban areas and armed attacks are not unusual.

Banditry is a problem and road travel in remote areas should never be undertaken at night. When driving in urban areas cars should be kept locked, with windows wound up. Precautions must be taken to ensure personal safety and to protect possessions such as passports, jewellery, and mobile phones. Foreigners may also experience bribery attempts and extortion by law enforcement authorities in Niger, and should be aware of scams.

Local customs

Social etiquette and customs in Niger is split roughly in two: the country's French influence dominates in the cities while Muslim values prevail in the more rural areas. Visitors should make sure to be neat and to always cover the elbows and knees, and refrain from boisterous public behaviour or overt public affection. This is especially the case for same-sex couples as LGBTI rights are not protected.

Greetings are important in Niger. It's important to be friendly, inquire after the person's health, and refrain from contact with the opposite sex unless it is initiated from the local party. Travellers should note that people do drink in Niger, even Muslims, but should exercise caution and sensitivity in this regard. In some areas, it is frowned upon for a woman to smoke in public.

Visitors should always ask permission before taking someone's picture, and should not photograph military personnel or installations, airports, embassies, or any government institutions. It's considered rude to use the left hand when greeting, eating, or accepting gifts, as the left hand is considered unclean.

Doing business

Niger's economy is predominantly agricultural, with about 90 percent of the country's workforce engaged in largely subsistence farming. However, there is also a growing interest in the region's mineral resources. Doing business in Niger is complicated by the lack of security and infrastructure, as well as by poverty and crime.

Business etiquette is formal and dress is conservative and often traditional. Women in particular should ensure that they dress conservatively and should consider a head covering. Most offices operate from 8am to 4.30pm from Monday to Friday, and 8am to 12pm on Saturday.

Duty free

Visitors to Niger aged 18 and older may import the following goods duty free: 200 cigarettes, 100 cigarillos, 25 cigars or 250g tobacco, one bottle of wine and one bottle of spirits, and 0.25 litres perfume.

Communications

The international dialling code for Niger is +227. Due to poor line quality and limited access, landlines in Niger are unreliable and service is generally better with one of the mobile phone operators; there are multiple cellular service providers in urban areas. Internet use is gradually increasing.

Passport & Visa

All visitors must have a valid passport. It is highly recommended that travellers' passports have at least six months' validity remaining after the intended date of departure from their travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.

Entry requirements

Passports must be valid on arrival, visas required for all US citizens.

Passports must be valid on arrival, a visa required for all UK nationals.

Passports must be valid on arrival, visas required for all Canadian citizens.

Passports must be valid on arrival, a visa required for all Australian citizens.

Passports must be valid on arrival, visas required for all South African citizens.

Passports must be valid on arrival, visas required for all Irish nationals.

Passports must be valid on arrival, visas are required for all New Zealand nationals.

Useful contacts

17 (police), 18 (fire), 20 72 31 41 (medical emergencies)

Embassies / consulates in other countries

Niger Embassy, Washington DC: +1 202 483 4224.

Niger Embassy, London: +44 0207 328 8180.

Niger Embassy, Pretoria: +27 12 430 2402; +27 12 430 2337.

Embassies / consulates in Niger

US Embassy, Niamey: +227 20 72 26 61.

British Embassy, Bamako, Mali (consular assistance for Niger): +223 4497 6913.

Canadian Embassy in Bamako, Mali (consular assistance for Niger): +223 44 98 04 50.

Australian High Commission, Abuja, Nigeria (consular assistance for Niger): +234 9 461 2780.

South African Embassy, Niamey: +227 2072 6083.

Irish Embassy, Abuja, Nigeria (consular assistance for Niger): +234 9 4620611.

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