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Niger River Has Been a Major Trading Centre

Aug 18, 2007
Niger has borders with Libya and Algeria to the north, Chad to the east, Nigeria and Benin to the south, and Mali and Burkina Faso to the west.

The capital, Niamey, stands on the north bank of the Niger River and has long been a major trading centre on this important navigable waterway.

The river meanders for 500km through the south western corner of the country. To the east is a band of semi arid bush country along the border with Nigeria, shrinking by 20km every year as over grazing claims more land for the Desert, which already occupies over half of Niger.

This desert is divided by a range of low mountains, in the eastern foothills of which lies the city of Agadez. Surrounded by green valleys and hot springs amid semi desert, this regional capital is still a major terminus for Saharan caravans.

The desert to the west of the mountains is a stony plain hosting seasonal pastures.

To the north and west are mostly vast expanses of sand. There is arable land beside Lake Chad in the extreme south eastern corner of the country.

The Hausa people live along the border with Nigeria and most are farmers. The Songhai and Djerma people live in the Niger valley and exist by farming and fishing.

The Manga live near Lake Chad and are well known for their colourful ceremonies in which pipes and drums accompany slow, stately dancing.

A passport is issued to you by your home country as proof of citizenship. Visas are stamped into your passport to allow you entry into other countries. Although there are exceptions, you are usually required to display your passport when entering or leaving a country. Once you arrive at your destination, carry a photocopy of your passport and keep the original in a safe place.

A visa is an endorsement or stamp entered into your passport by a foreign government. It allows you to enter that country for a specific reason and period of time. Start applying for visas as soon as your passport is available so that all your documentation is completed well before your departure date. To receive a visa you need to send your passport to an embassy or consulate of the country you want to visit. Most countries have embassies and consulates worldwide, and travel agents can usually tell you where the nearest ones are located. Keep in mind that your passport may be tied up for days or weeks until the paperwork is done, so plan accordingly. In addition, some countries require proof of yellow fever vaccination before they will issue you a visa. The amount of time spent mailing your passport to the various agencies involved can really add up if you are visiting several countries. Plan ahead if possible. If you only have a few weeks to prepare, a commercial visa service can often speed up the process.
About the Author
Douglas Scott works for The Rental Car Hire Specialist. and is a free lance writer for The Nigeria Rental Site
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