Trans-Sahel: Ancient Capital of Zinder and Lake Chad 7 Day

From USD $3,499.00
  • Duration: 7 Days (approx.)
  • Product code: ntt-en-niamey-1
Once the center of a flourishing cultural and capital sultanate, Zinder lies along the major trans-Saharan and Trans-Sahelan trade routes of Africa's past. Kano in Nigeria lies to the south, Lake Chad and the meeting of Cameroon, Chad, and Niger to the east, and the road east is peppered with traditional architecture, proud chiefs, the real Sultans that rule over affairs on the trade routes, held higher than Islam, to this day.

Diffa and Lake Chad are the farthest eastern stretches of Niger. Lake Chad is receding every year to the dismay of 20 million people who directly depend on it. The lake is famous the world over for its center of geopolitical intrigue and for the vast diversity of Sahel cultures that emanate from it.


Day 1: Arrive Niamey

Arrive in Niamey, pickup at airport and transfer to tourist hotel. Dinner at Maki 2000, the best restaurant in Niamey for a newcomer. (D)

Day 2: Depart Land Cruiser for Zinder, Stop at Villages

Today after breakfast we start our long trek to the old capital, stopping at Maradi and vital trade towns along the way, and local villages with earthen materials used to construct all aspects of town design and structures of architecture. Mud mosques, adobe homes, huts with river-reed fronds, dug wells, and pastoral life. The best onions in the world, sought after by Europe and a long haul to get, are grown here, as well as peanuts. These are largely the 2 only main crops in Niger. Everything else is imported. Arrive in the evening in Zinder and enjoy dinner. (B, L, D)

Day 3: Visit Zinder

Today after a brisk breakfast and coffee, visit the magnificent and unique Sultan's Palace, still active and in use, and see his ministers presiding over affairs and trials in the kingdom of Zinder., his  harem of 400 wives, dungeons where multiple levels of offenses would get you thrown in rooms with no light, with no company, or in the company of thousands of crawling stinging scorpion! Examine doors with every metal plate forged in a different tribute area, a pedestal where an infamous Sultan killed his mother to usurp power, and the sultan's enormous car collection, Gaze finally at the best view of the city, from atop the palace, overlooking the minarets and mud houses, and the intricate carved doors, glazed windows, and otherworldly architecture of Zinder Nigerien tradition. In the afternoon pay a visit to the Alternative Radio Station, Citizen Space, which gives voice to the poor people of Niger, attention to positive and salient development issues, and injects the airwaves with the true beats of Niger's local innovative and infectious music scene.

Day 4: Visit Diffa, Rivers and Dunes Picnic, Maine Village

With the morning convoy, head east for the 5 hour drive to Diffa, the last remote desert outpost before the frontier with Nigeria, Chad, and Cameroon, and the Lake that links all 4. You will bare north and left off the road for a detour to some of the more scenic reaches of the Sahel and Eastern Niger. Stopping at a dune range near Maine, a small desert village, head into  a stark silent and dark night on the dunes under a crystal clear night sky, where you'll sleep tonight.

Day 5: Lake Chad Visit, Return to Diffa

Today you'll be driving through the morning to reach the shores of Lake Chad, one of Africa's most important and controversial lakes, which borders 4 countries and feeds millions. Return to Diffa City for Overnight in an enclosed 3* hotel and dinner.

Day 6: Visit Goure, Return to Zinder

Spend the day on the road and in the villages, with a focused stop in the splendid town of Goure for a look at the local markets and architecture, and a meeting with the local store owners and chiefs that preside over the local economy and pace of life. Make it to Zinder where you will check into the Gamzaki Hotel and go out for a closing dinner.

Day 7: Final Day – Drive to Niamey, Departure

The remainder of the today will be spent driving surely, safely, and slowly to Niamey. 700 km.


Includes all transport, all breakfasts and some dinners, permits, entrance fees, taxes, vehicle, and accommodation in safari-style lodges, villages, and tourist hotels (where applicable). Alcoholic drinks are extra.