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.

The climate is hot and dry in the north but with heavy summer rainfall in the south. Southern and watered regions support various 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 are employed in subsistence agriculture, with the raising of livestock being the primary activity. Niger has valuable mineral reserves, most of which have not been 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.

Google maps™ Niger

Niger is a dry country. Although four-fifths of its land is covered by desert, its remaining topography is diverse, including plains, plateau regions, and mountains. The country can be divided into three major regions: the arid, inhospitable deserts to the north and northeast, a transitional Sahelian region in the center, and a small fertile area in the south, between the Niger River basin in the southwest and the Lake Chad basin in the southeast.

The Ténéré Desert that lies to the east of the mountains and the Talak to the west have vast expanses of shifting dunes (called ergs) where no vegetation grows and other dunes anchored by sparse, scrubby vegetation.

Niger is landlocked – no access to the sea.

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