There are two types of travelers in this world: the ones who do research on their future destinations, however meager their research might be, and those who just purchase the plane ticket and go to a foreign country the next day.
Needless to say, the ones that fall into the second category expose themselves to a lot more risks that those who actually know what the situation is in the countries that they want to visit.
Africa has a bad reputation among tourists for multiple reasons which range from medical to political. Now, if you want to go to Niger, you should think twice before doing so and we’ll let you know why in the remainder of this brief – but concise – guide.
Our Niger safety guide will contain Niger safety travel tips for those who have never been to this country. Although we will give an answer to the question “Is Niger safe to visit?” you will undoubtedly be able to answer it yourself.
Highest Risks in Niger
Overall Risk in Niger: HIGH
Niger is currently one of the most dangerous countries in Africa and the government has issued alerts for tourists and recommended that if they do decide to travel there, they should stick mainly to the capital, as the rest of the country is extremely unsafe.
According to the 2017 Crime & Safety Report, criminality has been on the rise in Niger. Armed robberies, pickpocketing and other petty crimes, as well as carjacking and kidnappings are more frequent that they used to be in the previous years.
So, a preliminary answer to “How safe is Nigeria for tourists?”, informed by what we’ve gathered until now, is quite bleak. Nigeria is not a safe country. If you take a look at the crime reports, you’ll see that terrorism has increased too and that pretty much all governments started to warn tourists against visiting this country.
Theft Risk: HIGH
Pickpocketing is extremely common in Nigeria, especially in the larger cities. Thieves take advantage of the crowds of tourists and can get away unbelievably easy. On one hand, that’s due to the poor response of the police. On the other hand, it’s due to the thieves’ skills, perfected throughout the years.
Thieves tend to operate at night and will not be ashamed to assault people in order to get what they want. Sadly, this has become a normal practice in Niger and this, among other things, accounts for the fact that the entire country of Niger is under a red travelling code.
The main touristic points are squirming with petty criminals. The National Museum, for instance, is a well-known hub for common robberies which occur both in broad daylight and at night.
Don’t walk alone, especially during the night, and leave your valuables at the hotel when you want to visit another touristic attraction. If you want to take pictures, you should consider relying on that of your phone.
Scamming Risk: HIGH
The piracy and the bootlegging of goods is a common thing in Niger. Keep in mind that if you buy something there that’s been pirated, you might face a pretty large fine upon returning in your own country.
Refrain from buying things from street vendors, especially if the prices are too good to be true. Getting a taxi fare can be a potentially financially ruining thing to do, as drivers have a habit of overcharging foreigners.
You should be familiar with the fact that Niger is called the “Scamming capital of the world”. Did you ever receive an e-mail from the daughter/son of some illustrious prince? That’s right, that kind of e-mail originates from Niger.
Kidnapping Risk: HIGH
How safe is Niger for tourists from this point of view? In a nutshell, it’s possibly one of the most extreme countries you can go to. We’ve talked about the governments having issued all sorts of alerts for Niger: this is at the top of the list.
Kidnapping is a common practice even in Niamey. In the other cities the risk is so great that all tourists, regardless of the countries they come from, are advised not to go to Niger at all.
Expats have been kidnapped for ransom, which is the primary reason for kidnapping in Niger. Do not travel at night, anywhere. Also, it should go without saying that traveling to Niger alone is absolutely forbidden.
Rape Risk: MEDIUM
Is Niger safe for solo women travelers? Well, since it’s not safe for anyone unless travelling in a convoy, the answer is “No”, Niger is not safe for lone women travelers. Africa is extremely known for its rape culture and Niger is not an exception when it comes to frequent assaults on women.
To make facts even worse, child trafficking is very common in Nigeria. Rape and trafficking kind of go hand in hand in Africa. Women are not advised to travel alone to Nigeria. They better not travel there at all.
While it is true that local women are more targeted in rape cases than the foreign ones, this is no assurance that you’ll be completely safe and sound. Please think very well before you decide to go to Niger alone. Pretty much all agencies will make you reconsider, anyway.
Terrorism Risk: HIGH
Terrorism in Niger stems from both Al Qaeda, which needs no introduction at this point, and various Nigerian rebellious groups. Political protests are frequent and may erupt at any point. Armed attacks usually occur at the border with Mali but similar cases have been reported all throughout the country.
Tahoua, Abalak and Agadez are red-lit areas in Niger. In these areas, the threat of terrorism is so high that tourists are not allowed to go there. Governments have specified that only officials can travel to these cities.
Perhaps you can provide the question of is Niger safe to visit on your own. Niger is evidently an extremely hazardous country that has all the things that should make a tourist go to another country instead.
Keep in mind that there are plenty of unexploded landmines throughout Niger, therefore you are highly advised to travel on the highways only.
Risk for Women Traveling Alone: HIGH
Assaults, rapes and thefts are daily business in Niger. Do not travel to Niger alone under any circumstances, no matter how much of a daredevil you think you are. Usually, our Niger safety travel tips would include advices like: call the police if you feel followed, stay at a reputable hotel and travel only by daylight, but since things couldn’t be worse in Niger, we’ll give you only this advice: do not go there alone.
Risk for People Travelling With Children: MEDIUM
People are prohibited from travelling to certain areas of Niger. If they plan on travelling there with their children, their vacation is out of the question. Child trafficking is thriving there and you’re better safe than sorry.
Africa, in general, is a place that you should keep your children out of. There are plenty of other countries where you could take your children with you, and those in Africa are not on the list.
Moreover, Niger, like most African countries, has a very faulty healthcare system. If your kids fall ill, you might need to travel hundreds of miles to the closest hospital. The road conditions leave a great deal to be desired, as well.
Natural Risk Disaster: MEDIUM
Niger is known for frequent flash floods. In 2017, over 50 people died after heavy rains. Floods affect the capital of Niamey, as well, not only the isolated rural areas where you’d expect to see floods taking the huge toll they’re usually known for.
Storms and heavy rains, therefore, should be cause for concern. Make sure that the weather will be nice if you plan on going to Niger.
Vaccines for Niger
The following vaccines are required for travelers to Niger:
- Hepatitis A and B
- Yellow fever
- Typhoid fever
Keep an eye on the news to make yourself familiar with the situation in Niger. Africa has its fair share of endemics and you certainly don’t want to find yourself in the middle of an ongoing one.
If extreme health alerts are issued, you will not be allowed to travel to the areas where the endemics have been reported.
The Bottom Line
We wish that our Niger safety guide had a better conclusion, but we need to be realistic. Niger is currently a manifold threat for tourists: the risk of terrorism is high and it keeps on increasing by the year, scamming and theft are common practices and women are not safe at all.
Again, we’d like to mention that many governments won’t allow tourists to go to Niger as of now. Go on the website of the government to get the latest news and keep yourself posted on the situation.
We hope that you’ve found our Niger safety guide helpful and that you’ll stay away from Niger until it’s safe to go there again.