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Niger Travel Information

The Basics

Time

Local time is GMT +1.

Electricity

Electrical outlets in Niger usually supply electricity at between 220 and 240 volts. British and Indian three-pinned plugs with flat or round pins are standard.

Language

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

Travel Health

Malaria prophylaxis is recommended for all travellers in all areas of Niger. A yellow fever vaccination is required for all travellers arriving from countries with a risk of yellow fever transmission, and is recommended for all areas south of the Sahara Desert in Niger. A meningococcus vaccination is recommended for travel during the dry season, between November and June. Vaccinations are also recommended for hepatitis A, hepatitis B and typhoid. Those travellers who may be at risk of animal bites or may be coming into contact with bats should consider a rabies vaccination. It is generally advised that travellers be up to date on vaccinations for polio, MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) and tetanus-diphtheria.

Medical facilities are extremely limited in Niger and travellers should ensure that they have comprehensive travel and health insurance. All required medications should be brought along in their original packaging, accompanied by a signed and dated letter from a doctor detailing what each medicine is and why it is required.

Tap water should never be drunk in Niger unless it has been boiled, filtered or chemically disinfected. Travellers should 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.

Tipping

Tipping is appreciated in Niger. A service charge is generally added to restaurant bills, but this doesn't necessarily mean no tip is expected; a 10 percent tip is customary.

Safety Information

Niger is not currently considered safe for touristic travel and most travel authorities warn against travel to the country due to the high threat from terrorism, including kidnapping, and the high crime rate. The UK Foreign Office advises against all travel to the following areas: all areas north of the city of Abalak, including the Air Massif region; the province of Agadez; areas of Tahoua province north of Tahoua city, including the city itself; the area of Tillaberi province north of Niamey; areas near the Nigerian border in the Diffa, Zinder and Maradi provinces. The UK Foreign Office advises against all but essential travel to the rest of the country, including Niamey. 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 like 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 like 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 are, perhaps, a little two-sided - in the cities, the country's French influence predominates; while in the more rural areas, Muslim values prevail. To be safe, visitors to Niger should dress neatly and modestly at all times (making sure to cover their elbows and knees), and should refrain from boisterous public behaviour. Greetings are important in Niger: be friendly, and inquire after the person's health. Note that people do drink in Niger, although they aren't technically allowed to, so exercise caution and sensitivity in this regard. In some areas, it is frowned upon for a woman to smoke in public. Always ask permission before taking someone's picture, and do not photograph military personnel or installations, airports, embassies or any government institutions. Always use your right hand when greeting, eating, or accepting gifts, as the left hand is considered unclean.

Business

Niger's economy is predominantly agricultural, with something like 90 percent of the country's workforce engaged in farming, largely of a subsistence type. Doing business in Niger is complicated by the lack of security and infrastructure and 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. Generally office hours are 8am to 12pm and 3pm to 6pm Monday to Friday, and 8am to 12pm on Saturday.

Communications

Due to poor line quality and limited access landlines in Niger are unreliable and service is generally better with mobile phone operators. There are multiple cellular service providers in urban areas. The international dialling code for Niger is 227. Internet use is gradually increasing and internet cafes can be found in Niamey and other cities. Some hotels provide internet access.

Duty Free

Visitors to Niger age 15 and older may import the following goods duty-free: 200 cigarettes/100 cigarillos/25 cigars/250g tobacco, one bottle of wine and one bottle of spirits, 0.5 litres eau de toilette and 0.25 litres perfume.

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