Niger

Driving Directions Niger

NIGER is a landlocked republic in West Africa, just south of the Tropic of Cancer. Over half of the country is covered by the encroaching Sahara Desert in the north while the drought-stricken Sahel grasslands lie to the south. In the extreme southwest corner, the River Niger, an essential navigable waterway, flows southeastwards for 483 kilometers or 300 miles, cutting off Niger’s far western territory.

Driving Directions



Lake Chad lies in the extreme southeast. The Tenéré Desert (part of the Sahara) is alternately stony and sandy and interrupted by plateaux and mountains rising to 2,022 meters or 6,634 feet. In the foothills of the mountains, in the heart of an oasis, lies the old city of Agadez, which is still a crucial desti­nation for Saharan traders.

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The climate is hot and dry in the north but with heavy summer rainfall in the south. Southern and watered regions support a variety of vegetation, including forest trees, while the grasslands have some bushes but are mainly dry.

Wildlife includes the large African species, such as elephant, giraffe, lion, and buffalo, as well as reptiles and birds.

Almost all people employed in subsistence agriculture, with the raising of livestock being the primary activity. Niger has valuable mineral reserves, most of which have not exploited, and there is some small-scale manufacturing in the capital, Niamey.

Niger has recovered from disastrous droughts and exports cotton and cowpeas, although uranium is its main export. More recently, there has been further unrest involving the Tuareg people who wish for an independent state.

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