At a Glance
Dates: January 14th - January 25th, 2023
Extension: We do not currently offer any extensions to this itinerary.
Prices: £5,050 pp sharing (with a £300 single supplement), excluding international flights.
In a sentence: Vast tracts of Niger are unexplored and as wild as Africa gets, and this tour takes intrepid clients deep into the country's desert interior - an expedition truly unlike any other.
Niger is truly a destination unlike any other. Much of the country's desert interior is uninhabited and wild, forming the very last stronghold for a wide array of ultra-rare species that roam the dunes, including addax, scimitar-horned oryx, dorcas gazelles and desert-adapted cheetah. Further south, Niger also boats the only remaining population of West African giraffe, stoically protected by the local community. In the far south-west of the country, the desert gives way to savanna and the mighty Niger river. Here, it is the famous Parc W that offers the best game-viewing, as a part of the excellent 'WAP' complex shared with Benin and Burkina Faso. Cheetah, lion, elephant and even manatee can be seen here, although visitors currently cannot access the park due to terrorist activity. Whilst the centre of the country is stable, it is worth noting that Niger remains unstable in many areas and visits should be undertaken with an adventurous spirit and recognition of the dangers of travel in this part of the world.
On arrival into Niamey you will be met by your tour leader and local guide and transferred to your hotel on the banks of the River Niger. The remainder of the day is at leisure, but we recommend enjoying the spectacular sunset from the hotel terrace this evening.
Niamey & Koure
This morning we have the opportunity to take in the bustling city of Niamey, with visits to the national museum and the central market. After lunch, we will make the c.80km drive to the village of Koure. Here the local communities have worked together over the course of decades to protect a small herd of West African giraffe, the last members of this subspecies on the continent. With once as few as 10 giraffe left, there are now several dozen, and sightings are guaranteed as the giraffes feed around houses and with livestock. Whilst not the most wild experience in Niger, it is truly humbling to be in the presence of such a rare subspecies. After the chance to photograph the giraffes, we will return to Niamey for the night.
Early this morning we will transfer to Niamey's airport for our 7am flight with Niger Airlines to the town of Zinder. The flight itself lasts for around 1 hour and 40 minutes in a Fokker 50. The day will be spent exploring the town, paying visits to the town's historic markets, the old town and the house of the Sultan of Damagaram. We will overnight at a basic but comfortable hotel in the old town.
Days Four to Five
Tesker & Termit Massif
We now depart Zinder to the north, heading through open desert and past the massif of Koutous, a well-known bird-watching site, to the town of Tesker. Here we will go through formalities with local officials before heading on to the truest wilderness of the region, the Termit Massif. Each night will be spent under canvas.
Days Six to Seven
The next two days are dedicated to the exploration of this remote and impressive wilderness. The other-worldly volcanic landscape can be explored on foot in the early morning and late evening, and we have the opportunity to traverse this area at night in search of rare wildlife. Wildlife densities are extremely low here, but we stand a chance of spotting fennec fox, Rueppell's fox, sand cat, wild cat and even cheetah after dark. The biggest prizes though would be the extremely unlikely sightings of addax or even the possibly-extirpated scimitar-horned oryx that once roamed the reserve in great numbers. On our second day in the reserve, we will traverse part of the Erg of Bilma, a vast dune sea that stretches as far as the eye can see. Each night will be spent under the stars above the Sahara.
Days Eight to Ten
Tanout & Agadez
We now begin the long drive across the dunes to the main arterial route to Agadez. Keep your eyes peeled for caravans of camels traversing the desert during the day, and for striped hyena around camp each night. On our arrival into Agadez, you will spend a welcome night at a local hotel.
A full day allows us to explore Agadez' beautiful historic sites, or simply to rest after a busy tour.
Our return flight to Niamey departs at 10.40, lasting for around two hours. We recommend flights leaving Niamey later than 15.00.
Please be aware that whilst we make every effort to follow the above itinerary as closely as possible, circumstances may
occasionally arise that mean the tour deviates from the itinerary.
Dates and Prices
This tour will run in January 2023, aiming to take advantage of the dry season when wildlife populations congregate around water sources, and when days are cooler. The tour will run from January 14th to January 25th.
The cost of this trip is £5,050 per person excl. flights. This includes all meals, accommodation and wildlife-focussed activities. Drinks are not included. We regret that we must levy a single supplement of £300 pp for this trip. To secure a booking, a deposit payment of £2,500 must be paid.
Flights and Visas
Pictus Safaris do not offer flight booking services. However, we do recommend the use of travel comparison websites such as skyscanner.net or momondo.com to identify the best fares, and then booking with the airline directly where possible. This will reduce the likelihood of complications and fees should any issues with your booking arise. If you wish to spend an additional night in Niamey at the beginning or end of your tour, we can arrange this for you at an extra cost. We strongly recommend booking flights leaving Niamey after 15.00 on your return, if leaving on the same day that we return to Niamey to avoid disruption to your plans.
British nationals do require a visa to enter Niger. Clients of other nationalities are advised to check well before travel whether they require an entry visa. Details of the process of obtaining a tourist visa for Niger will be provided to you upon booking. The cost of a Niger entry visa for UK citizens is £265 - this must be obtained from the Nigerien embassy in Paris in advance of travel. We recommend using a third-party service provider to secure your visa for you.
Weather and What to Bring
The weather in Niger in January is mild and dry, with maximum temperatures of around 28 degrees Celsius. At night, temperatures will drop to around 12 degrees Celsius.
A full packing list will be circulated at least two months prior to departure. Pictus Safaris will be able to provide one extra set of binoculars and two spotlights per group, and clients are welcome to bring additional camera, videography and scope equipment should they wish to. Please note that the use of drones is not permitted in many protected areas. We strongly recommend bringing comfortable, loose-fitting and neutral-coloured clothing on safari - please do not bring camouflage clothing. We recommend against dark coloured clothing (e.g. black or dark blue) as this attracts biting flies. Worn-in hiking boots with ankle support are a must, as are sunglasses, sun protection and a hat.
Do also remember to budget for any expenses not included in the cost of the trip, including for gratuities and additional activities. We recommend bringing US Dollars and Euros.
Safety and Security
The security situation in Niger is poor. Whilst the areas visited by this tour are currently stable, the threat of kidnapping and terrorism remains high and clients must have robust travel insurance in place before joining this tour.