Niger is Africa’s 6th largest country and its annual Gerewol is a must see cultural event. Learn more fun facts about this interesting country.
1. It’s a landlocked country in West Africa and the 6th largest country on the continent.
2. Its capital and largest city is Niamey.
3. Major languages: French (official), Arabic, Buduma, Fulfulde, Gourmanchéma, Hausa, Kanuri, Zarma & Songhai, Tamasheq, Tassawaq, Tebu
4. Major ethnic groups: Hausa (55%), Zarma-Songhai (21%), Tuareg (11%), Fula (7%), Kanuri Manga (6%)
5. Major religions: Islam (99%), Christianity and traditional beliefs (1%)
6. It was named after the Niger River.
7. Over 80% of its land area lies in the Sahara Desert and its climate is mostly very hot and dry.
8. Its people are called Nigeriens (as compared to the Nigerian people of Nigeria).
9. Humans have inhabited the territory of modern Niger for millennia; stone tools, some dating as far back as 280,000 BC, have been in the northern Agadez Region.
10. It gained independence from France in August 1960.
11. Its biggest cultural event is the annual Cure Salée Festival, in late September. The centerpiece is the Gerewol, where unmarried Tuareg and Wodaabe men adorn traditional face painting and fancy dress, and gather in line to dance and sing chants in the hopes of finding a wife.
12. There is a limited tourism industry, but it is opening up and centers around national parks and wildlife, desert landscapes, ancient cities, festivals and culture. Attractions include the W National Park, Termit & Tin Toumma National Nature and Cultural Reserve, the last West African giraffe herd in Koure, the ancient palace, central market and labyrinth alleyways of Agadez, and the markets, museum and palace in Zinder.
13. Things to see and do in Niamey include the small and grand markets, the National Museum, botanical gardens and zoo, the Great Mosque, the Hippodrome (where camel and hippo races are held), and sailing on the Niger River.