Niamey is home to some who are very affluent and who enjoy higher standard of living, including very nice quarters that include air conditioning; and to others who are disadvantaged living in hut-type accommodation.
Situated on the bank of the river Niger, Niamey has a village feel despite its size, as many of the streets are not paved. Animals are a common sight on the streets, adding to the rural feel. The main language spoken is French, so expats have the opportunity to inject a little ‘je ne sais quoi’ into their overseas experience. Few people speak English, so ensure your language skills are relatively comprehensive before planning relocation.
For expats who enjoy exploring the history of life in their chosen city, the National Museum of Niger is a great place to start. It offers foreigners a taste of traditional dress for native people, historical details on traditional industries, as well as a zoo and an artisan market. Grande Marche is a famous market enjoyed by those living in Niamey for its diverse range of foods, crafts and much more.
People who enjoy the outdoors can take advantage of the two national parks in the city: the W National Park, and Abaaba National Park. Tourists and those living in Niamey can enjoy a guided tour of West Africa's last remaining giraffe herd, approximately forty minutes outside of the city. Some of the hotels offer the opportunity to enjoy sporting activities such as swimming and tennis, and there is a riding school for those who enjoy engaging with horses. Football is a nationally popular sport, and you can go to watch matches at the stadium or join a local team.
There are several good schools in the area, such as the School La Fontaine and Sahel Academy. Sahel Academy is an international Christian school, originally founded to cater for the children of missionaries. Expats living in Niamey can take advantage of private schooling at the American International School. The school is home to children of 19 different nationalities, classes are small to allow for more focused attention and the school follows the US education model from kindergarten right up to the twelfth grade. Higher education in Niamey includes Abdou Moumouni University and the Higher Institute of Mining, Industry and Geology.
There are some public hospitals in the city; however, these are best used only in an emergency. If visiting a public hospital, you should be prepared to pay in full before receiving any treatment. Most expatriate residents make use of the private clinics dotted around the community, where care is outstanding and you can expect a private room that features air conditioning. People generally pay a deposit on arrival, and settle the balance at the end of their stay. They provide their own food for the duration of treatment, so be sure to plan for this in advance. Medical and dental treatment is offered at competitive prices in comparison with US or Western services, so expats are unlikely to find it expensive compared to overseas.