- Do not travel to Niger outside of the capital, Niamey, and areas south of Niamey in the regions of Dosso and Tillaberi, due to the high threat of kidnapping, terrorist attack, crime and the unpredictable security environment.
Do not travel to any other parts of Niger, due to the volatile security environment and high threat of kidnapping, terrorist attack and crime.
On 8 February 2018, the US Embassy in Niger issued a security alert warning that terrorists may attack targets in Diffa Region, including areas where security forces or Westerners may be present. See Safety and security.
Kidnapping is a threat throughout Niger but you are at most risk in remote regions. Foreigners have been kidnapped from their homes, vehicles and places of work. Hostages have been killed. See Safety and security.
Foreigners working in remote regions without evident security measures, such as those engaged in resources, community development, humanitarian, health and faith-based activities, are at particular risk of kidnapping. See Safety and security.
Since early 2015, the Nigeria-based militant group Boko Haram has undertaken a series of attacks in Diffa region, close to the border with Nigeria. Further attacks along the Niger-Nigeria border are likely. See Safety and security.
Cultural festivals held in north and west Africa are attractive places for terrorists and criminals to identify and target tourists for kidnapping. See Safety and security.
Only travel in daylight and in convoy. If, despite our advice, you travel outside the south-west, get professional security advice, use a reputable local guide, adopt enhanced security measures and make contingency plans. See Safety and security.
Australia does not have an Embassy or Consulate in Niger. The Australian High Commission in Abuja, Nigeria, provides consular assistance to Australians in Niger. See Where to get help.
See Travel Smart for general advice for all travellers.
Entry and exit
You'll need a visa to enter Niger. Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Niger for up-to-date information.
You'll need a valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate to enter Niger. Some airlines will require you to present a Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate before they'll allow you to board your flight out of Niger.
Yellow fever is endemic. It is a serious and potentially fatal disease that is preventable by vaccination. Read Yellow fever for information on re-entry to Australia following exposure to yellow fever.
Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months from the date you intend to return to Australia.
Your passport is a valuable document and attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. Always keep it in a safe place.
Be aware of attempts to obtain access to your passport by deception. If you are forced to hand over your passport, contact the Embassy for advice.
By law, you must report the loss or theft of your passport to the Australian Government as soon as possible. You can either:
The local currency is Benin is the Central African Franc (known as the CFA Franc, or XOF). Only change money at a reputable exchange bureau. Australian Dollars are not accepted, though $US and Euros are readily convertible to XOF. Travellers cheques can be cashed at commercial banks on production of the original purchase receipt and your passport.
Niger is a cash-based society. There are no ATMs. Credit cards are rarely accepted, even in major hotels and restaurants. Bring sufficient cash to cover your needs.
Safety and security
Terrorists groups have launched several attacks across Niger in recent years. Further attacks are likely. A terror attack could happen anywhere, at any time.
Some attacks directly target westerners, particularly those engaged in activities opposed by militant groups. Other attacks are indiscriminate and target places where large crowds gather.
In recent times, terrorist groups in the region have focused attacks on hotels, cafés and restaurants visited by foreigners. Risks of terror attack are highest outside south-western Niger.
Since early 2015, the Nigeria-based militant group Boko Haram has launched a series of attacks in the Diffa region, resulting in hundreds of deaths. Further attacks in Diffa region and elsewhere along Niger's border with Nigeria are likely.
Since 2013, militant groups (opposed to Niger's 2013 intervention in Mali) have launched attacks on government sites. Attacks are focused in the northern parts of the Tillaberi region and the western parts of Tahoua and Agadez regions. Example: an attack on a refugee camp in Tassalit, Tahoua region killed more than 20 security personnel in October 2016. Further attacks along Niger's border with Mali, Algeria and Libya – and nearby areas – are likely.
- Reconsider your need to travel to Niamey and areas south of the latitude of Niamey in the regions of Dosso and Tillaberi ('south-west Niger').
- Do not travel to any other part of Niger. If, despite our advice, you travel to these areas, seek professional security advice and have effective personal security measures in place.
- If you're in south-west Niger, make sure you have effective personal security measures in place at home and at work. Monitor local media and other sources for changes to the safety and security environment.
- Be alert to possible threats throughout the country, especially near government buildings, security installations, international organisations, diplomatic premises and police stations.
- Where possible, avoid hotels, cafés and restaurants visited by foreigners.
- If you must go somewhere popular with foreigners or another possible terror target, have a clear exit plan for if there is a security incident.
- Report any suspicious activity or items to police.
- Monitor the media for any new or emerging threats.
- Take official warnings seriously.
- Follow the instructions of local authorities.
- If there is an attack, leave the affected area immediately if it is safe to do so.
- Avoid the affected area in the aftermath of an attack because of the risk of secondary attacks.
More information: Terrorist Threat Worldwide
Westerners face a high threat of kidnapping by terrorist and militant groups throughout the country, especially outside south-west Niger. Foreigners have been kidnapped from their homes, vehicles and places of work. Foreign workers, tourists and expatriates have been targeted and hostages have been executed.
Militant groups, including Al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and al-Murabitun, are active in Niger and neighbouring countries. The terrorist group Boko Haram regularly crosses the border from Nigeria into Niger, particularly in the south-eastern Diffa region.
According to 2017 US Embassy and UK Foreign Office advice to their citizens, terrorist groups may be targeting Westerners and other international humanitarian workers in Diffa region for kidnapping. In October 2016, a US national working with an NGO was kidnapped in Abalat, in Tahoua region.
Recent reports indicate an ongoing high threat of kidnapping, particularly against foreigners:
- working in remote regions without evident security measures, such as those engaged in resources, community development, humanitarian, health and faith-based activities
- attending cultural festivals held in north and west Africa, or
- otherwise in 'Do not travel' areas.
The Australian Government's longstanding policy is that it does not make payments or concessions to kidnappers. The Australian Government considers that paying a ransom increases the risk of further kidnappings, including of other Australians.
If you decide to travel to an area where there is a particular threat of kidnapping:
- first seek professional security advice
- have effective security measures in place for your person, vehicle and accommodation.
Civil unrest and political tension
Demonstrations occur regularly and spontaneously in Niger, often near government buildings, universities and public parks. Mobile phone and internet access may be restricted during periods of civil unrest.
Political rallies and demonstrations can turn violent without warning. Security forces have forcibly dispersed protesters in recent years. Violent incidents occurred during recent national elections. Tensions remain high.
In January 2015, there were violent protests in a number of cities across Niger in response to cartoons in the French publication, Charlie Hedbo. Ten people were killed during the protests and numerous churches and foreign-owned businesses were set on fire.
Armed groups operate in the north and west. Clashes between security forces and armed groups have occurred in the regions of Agadez, Diffa, Zinder, and Maradi, and north of the city of Abalack in the region of Tahoua. Curfews are in place in many towns. Curfews can change at short notice.
- Avoid all political rallies, protests, demonstrations and other large gatherings as they could turn violent.
- If you are in an area where a protest or similar is occurring, leave if it is safe to do so.
- Monitor the media and other sources for news of planned or possible unrest. Avoid affected areas.
- Follow the instructions of local authorities.
- Comply with any curfews.
Armed home invasions, kidnapping, carjackings, muggings and other violent crimes occur frequently throughout Niger, including in Niamey. Muggings occur frequently around the Gaweye Hotel, the National Museum, the Kennedy Bridge and the Petit Marche. Criminals often work in groups and target foreigners and four-wheel-drive vehicles. Pickpocketing and other petty crime is common in Niamey.
Criminal activity can occur at any time throughout Niger but the risk of being a victim increases at night. Outside Niamey, the threat of violent crime increases significantly. Armed bandits and smugglers target travellers on roads in the northern parts of the country and in border areas.
- Carry only what you need. Leave other valuables in a secure location.
- Don't tempt thieves – avoid wearing expensive watches, jewellery and cameras and keep out of sight valuables in your vehicle and accommodation.
- Avoid carrying bags that are easy to snatch.
- Pay close attention to your personal possessions at all times.
- Avoid travelling alone or after dark.
- Do not walk at night.
- Secure your accommodation against intruders.
- Keep your car windows and doors closed and locked at all times, including when moving.
Internet scams come in many forms, including romance, friendship, business and employment opportunities. Victims have suffered financial loss. Victims who travel to ica to meet a friend or prospective marriage partner they have met online, or to seek restitution for money they have lost, are at risk of kidnapping, assault and robbery. Some victims have been killed.
Commercial internet fraud is prevalent and often originates in West African countries. Criminals have been known to seek details of 'safe' bank accounts overseas to which to transfer large sums of money (as a donation or for a percentage of the amount involved). They may also provide fake cashier cheques for 'urgent' shipments of large quantities of goods, request sizeable fees for a fake government contract and extort money from individuals they have convinced to travel to Africa for a business opportunity.
Bogus internet friendship, dating and marriage schemes operate from some African countries. These scams typically result from connections made through internet dating schemes or chat rooms. Once a virtual friendship develops, you'll typically be asked by your friend or prospective marriage partner to send money to enable them to travel to Australia. In some cases the relationship is terminated with very little chance that any funds can be recovered. In other cases, foreigners are lured to Africa to meet their friend or prospective marriage partner and become victims of crime including kidnapping, assault and robbery.
If you're travelling to Niger, your relatives and friends may receive bogus phone calls and emails from Niger claiming that an Australian traveller is in distress legally, financially or subject to a medical emergency and money is required to assist them.
Some scams involve requests to transfer money or details though the Australian High Commission in Abuja, Nigeria,or involve communication from persons claiming to work at the High Commission itself.
- Scrutinise all approaches originating in Niger (or other West African countries) from people you don't know.
- Don't send money to anyone in Niger until proper checks are made.
- Verify with the High Commission any requests to transfer money or details though the Australian High Commission in Abuja, Nigeria, before responding. See Where to get help.
- If you are the victim of a scam, get legal advice.
- Don't travel to Niger to seek restitution.
- Be careful about disclosing personal information and disposing of personal documents while in Niger.
- Tell your friends and family of the possibility of scams, including ones relating to your welfare. Advise them to treat any requests for money with caution.
- If your friends and family are unsuccessful in attempts to contact you directly and remain concerned, they can contact the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's Consular Emergency Centre (see Where to get help).
More information: Scams
Restrictions on travel
Several roads in the north are closed to tourists except with special authorisation. If you travel in the Agadez region without first getting special authorisation, you risk arrest or deportation.
A curfew on the use of motorised vehicles is in place from 20.00 to 06.00 hours in Diffa.
Local authorities are sensitive about foreigners travelling out of Tahoua to the east or north of Niger.
Unexploded munitions, including landmines, are throughout the country, including in Niamey and other major cities. The situation is particularly dangerous throughout the Talak Plains and the sparsely inhabited regions of the Agadez region, including the Djado Plateau, the Mangueni Plateau and Air Massif.
You are five times more likely to be killed in a vehicle accident in Niger than in Australia.
Except for a few main routes, roads in Niger are in bad condition or unpaved, the standard of vehicle maintenance is low and street lighting is poor. Dangerous local driving habits as well as mixed traffic, including bicycles, pedestrians, animals and tractors, make driving hazardous. Travelling at night is especially dangerous due to the added risk of banditry.
You'll need to use a four-wheel drive for any travel outside the capital.
Checkpoints are frequent across Niger, including inside Niamey. Vehicle registration and ownership papers may be requested by authorities at any time, especially on journeys outside of the main towns.
Roadside assistance is not available.
- Check you have adequate insurance cover and familiarise yourself with local traffic laws and practices before driving.
- Make sure you have adequate fuel and drinking water for your journey.
- Avoid driving at night.
- Always carry photographic identification, vehicle registration and ownership papers.
- Drive defensively.
- Keep your car windows and doors closed and locked at all times, including when moving.
- Don't stray from marked roads.
- Don't drive through a checkpoint until it is clear you have permission to do so.
In addition, if you choose to travel outside south-west Niger despite our advice:
- seek local advice on road and security conditions along your proposed route before you travel
- leave details of your travel itinerary with a reliable person
- drive only in daylight, in a convoy and with a local guide
- make sure all vehicles are well-maintained
- carry a satellite phone, sufficient supplies and a first aid kit.
More information: Road travel
You can drive in Niger with a valid Australian driver's licence and an International Driving Permit (IDP). You must obtain your IDP before departing Australia.
Check with your travel insurer whether your policy covers you when using a motorcycle, quad bike or similar vehicle. Your policy may not cover you for accidents that occur while using these vehicles. Wear, and ensure your passenger wears, a correctly fastened and approved helmet.
Taxis are old and in poor condition. Consider hiring a private car with a professional driver.
Don't use public transport due to the poor condition of roads and frequent of violent crime.
The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines. See the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Niger.
During Harmattan (December to February), when dust storms are common, flights can be re-routed due to poor visibility.
More information: Air travel
You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.
If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs can include heavy fines and lengthy imprisonment. More information: Drugs
The death penalty applies to serious crimes such as murder.
You must at all times carry either your passport with a valid visa or your residence permit.
Non-government organisations must register with the Government of Niger and must inform the authorities of their mission before commencing. If you fail to fulfil these requirements, or if you otherwise work without prior permission from the proper authorities, you could face detention and/or expulsion from Niger.
The following activities are also illegal in Niger:
- photography around military zones, military assets, diplomatic premises, radio and television stations, airports, the Presidency Building and the Kennedy Bridge in Niamey
- photography of political demonstrations or military personnel
- an "unnatural act" with a person of the same sex who is under 21 - homosexual acts are not otherwise illegal in Niger but the local community is generally intolerant of same sex relationships. More information: LGBTI travellers
Some Australian criminal laws apply overseas. If you commit these offences, you may be prosecuted in Australia. Laws include those relating to:
- bribery of foreign public officials
- child pornography
- child sex tourism
- female genital mutilation
- forced marriage
- money laundering
More information: Staying within the law
Niger doesn't recognise dual nationality. If you enter Niger with a Nigerien passport, you'll be treated as a Nigerien citizen by local authorities. This may limit the ability of the Australian Government to provide you with consular assistance if you're arrested or detained. Travel on your Australian passport at all times.
Read Dual nationals.
There are conservative standards of dress and behaviour in Niger. Take care not to offend. If you're female, wear a headscarf and loose-fitting clothing that covers the arms and legs. If in doubt, seek local advice.
Seek permission before taking the photograph of a local person.
The Islamic holy month of Ramadan is expected to occur between mid-May and mid-June 2018. During Ramadan, take care to respect religious and cultural sensitivities, rules and customs. In particular, avoid eating, drinking and smoking in public and in the presence of people who are fasting. More information: Ramadan
Take out comprehensive travel insurance before you depart to cover overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. Make sure your policy includes adequate coverage for any pre-existing conditions.
Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for your medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs. This can be very expensive and cost you many thousands of dollars upfront.
- what circumstances and activities are and are not covered under your policy
- that you are covered for the whole time you will be away.
More information: Travel insurance
Physical and mental health
Consider your physical and mental health before travelling, especially if you have an existing medical condition.
- At least eight weeks before you depart, see your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and implications for your health.
- Get vaccinated before you travel.
Not all medications available over the counter or by prescription in Australia are available in other countries. Some may be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.
Before you leave Australia, check if your medication is legal in each country you're travelling to and find out if any quantity restrictions or certification requirements apply. Consult your doctor about alternatives well in advance of travel
Pharmaceuticals are often in short supply and poor quality substitutes or counterfeits are often used.
Take enough legal prescription medicine with you to last for your entire stay so you remain in good health. Carry copies of your prescription and a letter from your doctor stating what the medicine is, how much you'll take and that it's for personal use only.
More information: Prescription medicines
Niger is listed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as endemic for yellow fever. Yellow fever is a potentially fatal viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes, which is preventable by vaccination.
Malaria and other tropical diseases are common in West African countries, including Niger.
Protect yourself against mosquito-borne illnesses:
- ensure your accommodation is insect proof
- take measures to avoid insect bites, including using insect repellent and wearing long, loose fitting, light coloured clothing
- get vaccinated against yellow fever before you travel
- consider taking malaria prevention medication
- seek medical advice if you have a fever, muscle pain, rash or severe headache.
The rate of HIV/AIDS infection is high. Exercise appropriate precautions if engaging in activities that expose you to risk of infection.
Other infectious diseases
Water-borne, food-borne and other infectious diseases (including cholera, rabies, hepatitis, meningitis, polio and, tuberculosis) are prevalent, with more serious outbreaks occurring from time-to-time. An outbreak of meningitis in March 2017 resulted in 3,036 reported cases and 179 reported deaths to 7 May 2017.
- Use good hygiene practices including frequent handwashing.
- Boil all drinking water or drink bottled water.
- Avoid ice cubes.
- Avoid raw and undercooked food.
- Don't swim in fresh water to avoid exposure to as bilharzia (schistosomiasis) and other water-borne diseases.
- Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering diarrhoea.
Medical facilities in Niamey are very limited and poor quality. Outside the capital they are inadequate to non-existent. Emergency assistance is limited, even in Niamey.
Upfront payment is usually required. If you can't pay up-front, treatment will usually be delayed.
If you become seriously ill or injured, you'll need to be evacuated to a destination with appropriate facilities. Medical evacuation can be very expensive.
Where to get help
Depending on what you need, your best option may be to contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurance provider in the first instance. Your travel insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
- Fire: phone 18
- Medical emergencies: phone (or +227-20-72-31-41) or go direct to the hospital
- Criminal issues: phone 17 (or +227-20-72-25-53) or visit the nearest police station
These telephone numbers often go unanswered, especially outside of normal working hours.
Always get a police report when reporting a crime.
Tourism services and products
For complaints relating to tourism services or products, contact your service provider directly.
Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.
Australia doesn't have an Embassy or Consulate in Niger. For consular assistance, contact the Australian High Commission in Abuja, Nigeria.
Australian High Commission
48 Aguiyi Ironsi Street
Telephone: (234 9) 461 2780
Facebook: Australia in Nigeria
See the High Commission website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.
If you can't contact the High Commission in a consular emergency, contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre in Canberra on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.
Natural disasters, severe weather and climate
The rainy season is from June to October when flooding and landslides may occur. Some roads may become impassable.
The dry season extends from November to May. During this period, Niger may be affected by Harmattan, a seasonal wind which blows a high amount of sand and dust in the air. Visibility may be severely limited and people with respiratory problems can be adversely affected.
If a natural disaster occurs:
- secure your passport in a safe, waterproof location or carry it on you at all times (in a waterproof bag).
- closely monitor local media and other sources such as the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System
- follow the advice of local authorities
- contact friends and family in Australia with regular updates about your welfare and whereabouts.
More information: Severe weather
For additional general and economic information to assist travelling in this country, see the following links.