Niamey : The Agricultural Village of the Maouri

Niamey : The Agricultural Village of the Maouri

Niamey is the capital of Niger in West Africa and also its largest city. It lies along the Niger River mainly on its left bank and is a modern, lively, and cosmopolitan city. It originated as an agricultural village of the Fulani, Maouri, and Zarma people. It later became the capital of the nation in 1926 when the French colonial government moved its center of operations from Zinder, another major city in Niger. Its population is approximately 2 million people most of whom are youths seeking employment opportunities. Although it was founded in the 1700s, it gained its status as an important city when the French colonial government developed a post there in the late 1800s. Its growth to the big city it is today is attributed to the discovery of uranium in the country and the wealth accrued from mining it. It is the administrative, economic, and cultural capital of the nation and as a result, the best place to embark on a tour of this beautiful nation.

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Niamey : The Agricultural Village of the Maouri

1. Musée National Boubou Hama

Photo by Jean Rebiffé

Musée Nationale Boubou Hama in Niamey is the national museum of Niger and also one of the best museums in the West African region. Located in a park, it covers around a hundred acres and also has a zoo within its grounds. It was founded in 1959 as Musee National du Niger but was later rechristened in 2008 in honor of Boubou Hama, a famous Nigerien scholar, and politician. The museum houses several collections including prehistoric fossils and artifacts that date back to a period when the Sahara was green a stark difference to the desert of today. The museum also has a large area dedicated to displaying the national heritage.

2. Grand Mosque of Niamey

Located along Islam Avenue in Niamey is the Grand Mosque which was built in the 1970s with support from the Libyan government. It is the largest mosque in the city and features a magnificent green dome, beautiful latticed archways, and a towering minaret that is 173 steps to the top. The reward for the climb is a beautiful panoramic view of the city and the Niger River in the distance. Guided tours are available but make sure to visit during prayer hours.

3. Cap Banga

Cap Banga is located on a small island on the Niger River not far from the town center. It is an excellent place to enjoy the evening with friends and family. The tiny oasis restaurant offers the best panoramic view of the river while one is dining in an ambient atmosphere. It is a nice place where one is treated to the best sunset view in the city. The island is accessible by motorized boats operated by the center from the embarking point on the left bank of the river where there is dedicated parking for visitors. With an extensive menu and a variety of drinks to cater for every palate, it is a must visit.

4. Village Artisanal

Located within the national museum is the Artisan’s Center, a workplace for many crafts folk specializing in different crafts. It is an enlightening place as one can observe the artisans as they go about their work. These artists specialize in arts passed down from one generation to another resulting in unique pieces symbolizing the heritage of the people. There are traditional weavers, jewelry makers, brass workers, and leather workers. All these items are available for sale at friendly prices.

5. Ferme Youyou

Ferme Youyou is a privately-owned educational and ecological farm located in the Lamorde neighborhood in Niamey. The owner, Mr. Dan Dobi Yacouba developed the farm as a means to inspire people to love and preserve nature. It is one of the best centers of attraction of the city, a perfect association of poultry farming, agriculture, breeding and fish farming. It is a lovely outdoor space for fun and games ideal for a family outing. It features a zoo, children’s playground, and a beautiful pond. The zoo is home to a variety of animals including crocodiles, a jackal, monkeys, and many more. The farm is also described as a paradise of birds as many species of different colors and sizes are found here. The farm grounds can also be hired for private functions and corporate events.

6. Grand Marche

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Grande Marché is the largest market and shopping center in Niger. It has often been referred to as the commercial center of the country as goods from across the nation and abroad are available in both wholesale and retail. The market also has a rich history having been established in 1950 and even surviving a fire in the 1980s. It is a vibrant place full of color and a variety of stalls to cater for the needs of every shopper. The traditional craft center is especially popular among tourists as a variety of ornaments and decorative pieces are available at friendly prices. It is a nice place to spend time walking around while enjoying the sights and sounds of the capital.

7. Centre Culturel Franco-Nigerien (CCFN)

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Centre Culturel Franco-Nigerien (Jean Rouch) is located across the street from the Musee Nationale Boubou Hama and features a library, cybercafé, and a bar. The center also offers French and Nigerien language courses. Its entry into this list, however, is courtesy of the musical acts, films, plays, and debates that are occasionally staged. The center also features an exhibition hall, outdoor theatre, amphitheater, auditoriums, and a cafeteria. If you find yourself in town when no event is scheduled, the library and the bar are still a great place to spend your time learning about this beautiful nation. It is also a beautiful place to make new friends as it is frequented by locals and expatriates who are all welcoming.

8. River Niger

Photo by Homo Cosmicos/

The Niger River is often referred to as the green lifeline of the Sahel region. There are two bridges across the river; the Kennedy Bridge and the Friendship Bridge. The river is a source of food and income for many Nigeriens, and as it passes through the city limits, one should at least spare a moment and take in the view of this majestic river. There are many riverside hotels to aid you in doing just that while enjoying tantalizing dishes and drinks. The river is home to wild hippopotamuses primarily on the southern bank. One can embark on a boat ride on the river or try to negotiate a camel ride. It is also a lovely way to see the sunset over the water’s edge.


Those who have had the opportunity to visit Niamey leave with a fond memory of a welcoming city engaging at every turn. This city at the edge of the Sahara is one of the most beautiful cities in Africa and one needs only visit to attest to this fact.