Niger only seems to make the news for negative reasons: its recent coup, the Tuareg Rebellion, a devastating famine. But visit this desert republic and you'll find a warm and generous Muslim population and superb tout-free travel through ancient caravan cities at the edge of the Sahara.
To the north, the stark splendour of the Aïr Mountains hides Neolithic rock art and stunning oasis towns. Within the expansive dunes of the Ténéré Desert you’ll find dinosaur graveyards and deserted medieval settlements. Head south and the ancient trans-Saharan trade-route town of Agadez and the sultanate of Zinder are home to magnificent mazes of mudbrick architecture. For nature lovers, there’s the fantastically diverse Parc Regional du W and herds of wild giraffes at Koure.
The security situation meant that much of Niger was off limits to travellers at the time of writing. Attacks against foreigners have occurred across the Sahel, and the threat of kidnapping remains high.