N'Guigmi

Overview

Introduction

Located in the farthest reaches of eastern Niger, N'Guigmi is the last town on the dirt road to Chad. It's a gray, dusty frontier outpost that feels very much like the end of the road. The market to the south does a big trade in camels, because the area is primarily populated by nomadic people, the Canori and Toubou. The Toubou, who are particularly imposing, produce interesting leather and metal work, including sharp knives in colorful red scabbards that the men wear strapped on their arms. There are a couple of bars in N'Guigmi, but no hotels—it is possible to camp out in the police compound. The French volunteers in N'Guigmi over the past several years have been known to welcome the odd visitor.

The greatest attraction of N'Guigmi is its proximity to the Tal Desert, which lies three hours by camel to the northwest. It's fairly easy to rent camels and a guide for a fascinating journey out to a pristine area of endless tall dunes and majestic silence. This excursion, however, is definitely for the seasoned traveler. 575 mi/925 km east of Niamey.

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