About Niamey

The American International School of Niamey is located on the US Embassy compound in the neighborhood of Koura Kano. We are located between the US Embassy and the French Embassy and across the street from the US Residence. The street is Rue des Ambassades. In addition to the school the site also supports the American Rec Center open to members and their guests.

You'll be pleasantly surprised to find that the people of Niamey are friendly and willing to help. You'll soon see Niamey is one of the most exotic capitals in Africa. Camels are spotted daily carrying a jostling load of bundles of firewood or piles of straw matting. The Inhabitants are diverse. Coastal West African, Tuaregs (the famed blue men of the Desert), Arab traders , Hausa, and Djerma, all can be seen throughout the area. Around town traffic is light by West African standards. Most newcomers are surprised by how green the city and countryside can become in the rainy season. In the evening you can pull up a seat on the terrace of the Grand Hotel overlooking the river, sip a cool drink, and watch the sun sink colorfully below the horizon.

Niamey is not a large city and day to day life takes on slow pace and rhythm of it's own. Most of the main streets are paved with side streets sand or gravel. Getting around is easy by car, just remember to avoid the potholes.

Getting out of the city is easy, security permitting, and there are ample opportunities for day trips picnicking along the Niger river, looking for giraffes just outside of town, or camping at the wildlife preserve Park W, home to elephants, lions, buffalo, antelope, and exotic birds - less than three hours away.

The Country - Area and Geography

The Republic of Niger covers 1,268,550 km² and is larger than Texas and California combined. Landlocked, it is bordered by seven countries – Algeria and Libya to the north, Chad to the east, Nigeria and Benin to the south, Burkina Faso to the southwest, and Mali to the west. Niger is in the heart of the Sahel, the traditional zone between the tropical west African coast and the Sahara desert. Northern Niger is part of the Sahara. Vast expanses of Rocky and sandy wilderness broken only by occasional oasis. "Sahel" actually means shore in Arabic. From north central Niger to the north east corner are the Air and Djado mountains with peaks rising to 1850m while partially arable savannah is found south of the 15th parallel.

Niger's capital city near Niamey sits on the banks of the Niger River, which flows through most of West Africa and is the 10th longest river in the world and the third longest in Africa.

Climate

Niamey's climate varies with distinct seasons. April and May are the hottest months with noontime temperatures often rising above 48°C in the shade. Direct sunlight can be intense during this period and night temperatures remain above 27° C. In June the first rains come to the first landscape and with them the planting of millet and sorghum, the major food crops. Niamey gets an average of 55.8 cm of rainfall between June and September normally in short torrential downpours preceded by high winds and dust or sandstorms. At this time the surrounding countryside takes on a verdant hue as the crops and the native grasses begin to grow.

The rainy season is followed by a short period of hot humid weather in October during which temperatures range between 15°C in and 45°C. From November to March the weather is dry and can get quite chilly in the mornings and nights. During this season clear days are interspersed with hazy overcast skies caused by the hamattan– a hot and dry wind carrying dust from the Sahara. The dust usually stays at higher altitudes creating slightly overcast skies; the hammock, however it can occasionally cause localized dust storms.

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