Run The Planet is proud to introduce our new affiliate Run.com, the best running route resource on the web. If you are looking for a new Niamey running route, or want to share your favorite Niamey running routes with the rest of the word, Run.com is the place to be.
Don't run in Niger. I lived in Niamey, the capital city of Niger, for six years, from 1990-1996. Niamey, Maradi, Zinder, and Agadez are the largest cities in Niger. Don't run in any of these cities. If you must run, drive out of town and run along the side of the road, there is never much traffic. In Niamey, some people like to drive out of town towards Dosso (East) and look for giraffes. You can pick up a guide along the paved road, and for $5-10 (negotiate before picking him up), he can take you to the country side, providing you have a four wheel drive, and look for giraffes, and walk around out there. Why shouldn't you run in Niger? It's hot!!! Too many expats have suffered heat exhaustion, stroke and death because of the heat 10 out of 12 months of the year. All of Niger is hot and dry. Always drink plenty of filtered water. Some people try to run/walk at night, when it cools down a bit. The lighting in all of these cities is very poor. If you end up in an alley or wrong part of town, you could easily get mugged. Running even walking around town, is hazardous due to open sewers, broken sidewalks, garbage, dogs, goats, other animals, etcetera. Taxi drivers are hazardous to pedestrians. Children will follow you and taunt you. The two months that it is relatively warm, December and January, it is too dusty (harmattan dust, wind, etcetera) to be outside running around. You'll choke to death. Unless you run (walking would be better) along the side of the road, most of Niger is sand, so running and even walking in sand is unpleasant. Along the roads, ironstone or laterite rock has been laid down for road bed construction. This offers some support, but could also cause you to trip and fall - falling and hurting yourself in Niger, could be a catastrophic nightmare for you! Don't run in Niger. Health services are poor to non-existent. Never run around any markets: the only Nigerien people who run are thieves. If you run around a market area you will naturally be suspected of stealing something - then run for your life. Niger is 95% Muslim. Running or walking in shorts or tank tops is offensive to most Nigeriens. Dress modestly - this means long pants, or long skirts, no halter tops, no tank tops - or suffer the consequences. In Niamey, there is a walking club. Contact the U.S. embassy consulate office for an update. In Maradi, the French club used to sponsor walks. If you are going to walk or run (God forbid) go in a group of three to five people. Don't take any valuables, but do take a piece of identification, because the police will likely stop you. In Niamey, I know that some touristy people like to run and or walk along the two corniche roads (along the river) north and south of the J.F. Kennedy bridge. These are isolated roads, and home to many would be bandits and thieves. Run/walk here at great risk. In Niamey across the Niger river, on the road to Burkina Faso, there are two butte like hills. This is a favorite place for walkers. Again, don't go there alone. South of Niamey, about 5 miles, there is an eucalyptus reforestry project, several hundreds of acres. People like to walk there, but again, don't go alone. North of Niamey, at Boubon (you need a car to get here) there is a tourist restaurant on an island in the Niger river. You can walk around there. If you're staying at a hotel in Niger, negotiate a guide at the front desk, who will help you get around town. The guides will walk with you, but they will not run with you. Do not negotiate with any kids or teenage men outside the gates of your hotel, as you will likely become their next victim... Always negotiate the price of any services you ask someone to do for you. If you don't, then once their service is completed, they will demand an enormous sum of money that will create all kinds of problems for you. How is your stress? If you are walking around town and get yourself in some kind of argument or feel threatened, you can usually hail a taxi. Get in regardless of which direction he is going. All the taxis go from and to designated taxi stops, such as hotels, mosques, markets. Once you get to one of these places pay your fare, and then you can negotiate with that taxi driver or another to get you back to your hotel - usually you will pay anywhere between 200-500 FCFA (700 FCFA = $1 USD) for a shared taxi (three to five people per taxi). If you want to be in your own taxi around town, you'll pay about 1,000-5,000 FCFA one way. Always negotiate the price of the taxi before getting in, unless of course you're in a life threatening or otherwise unpleasant situation. If you have a local guide they can negotiate taxis for you. Take a taxi in town - don't run or walk in town. Remember, always drink lots of filtered water in Niger. The dry climate sucks you dry even though you will not notice any sweat on your body or clothes (except when it rains in Niger, maybe in July and August, then it is unpleasantly hot and humid). Bottled water is very expensive. Tap water can give you bacterial diarrhea. Niger is only for the hardy traveller. Neophytes to how one travels/lives in Africa will suffer in Niger. Niger is not a tourist-friendly country (few amenities such as hotels, restaurants, etcetera) however, there are a number of tourists who come to Niger... go figure - it is a beautiful country and most of the Nigerien people are indeed wonderful! Again, in case you haven't gotten the message: don't run in Niger!