Location: Places >> Africa >> Sub-Saharan Africa >> West Africa - Afrique de l'ouest
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Travelling to Niger and Mali from Nigeria
Posted July 18th, 2012 - 8:09 pm by from Cape Town, South Africa (Permalink)
Hello

I'm a South African freelance journalist intending to travel to Niger, and then Mali, from Nigeria.

I have a work trip to Lagos scheduled for 5-11 August. I'd like to fly from Lagos to Niamey, travel by land to Gao-Bamako, then fly back to Johannesburg from Bamako.

However, trying to find a direct flight from Lagos to Niamey is proving quite difficult. For some reason, I keep getting error messages with the airline websites I've tried.

Questions:
How do I get a flight from Lagos to Niamey?
Should I consider travelling by bus? How long/safe/comfortable is the trip?
How safe & comfortable is the bus journey from Niamey to Gao?
Is it safe for a female foreign journalist to travel to Timbuktu, and from there to Bamako?
Are there buses still running on this route?

Last year I covered the Egyptian uprisings and travelled to Libya as soon as Benghazi was free. In 2006 I travelled alone to Lebanon post war to report on the aftermath.

While I'm keen to travel to Mali & Niger to report on humanitarian issues, I do want to hear from those of you who live there, and who'd best be able to advise me.

Lastly, I'd like recommendations for a fixer/translator please.

Hope to hear from the group.

Thanks!

Bibi-Aisha


Posted July 19th, 2012 - 9:03 am by from Maradi, Niger (Permalink)
hello
flights between Lagos and Niamey are difficult, but try to take a bus to cotonou, there are comfortable company who travel each day. cotonou, flights are more regular in Niamey and much cheaper. and is 100km from lagos lagos
of niamey there are many transport companies that connect each morning gao, with the current crisis I do not know if they respect departures. but I will, if you want to take some information for you in this direction.
according to some unofficial sources, if you respect certain rules of conduct (religious veils ....) you should not have too much problem, but again, I'll let myself get information directly from individuals who go there frequently.

Posted July 19th, 2012 - 12:36 pm by from Lagos, Nigeria (Permalink)
hi Aisha,

i have experienced this issue when i was new to the route going for a project within this part of west Africa, so let me help you out on your questions:

1. yes you can get a flight from Lagos to Niamey (Via Abuja or Lome), Airline? Asky Air. they are affiliated with Ethiopian Air. the flight will be from Lagos to Abuja or Lome/Togo and then to Niamey. check the website of the Airline: http://flyasky.com
you can also fly with Air Burkina, but you have to get this through an agent cos you will a flight from Lagos to Accra/Ghana with Air Nigeria and then Air Burkina from Accra to Ouagadougou/Burkina Faso and then Ouagadougou to Niamey (Although you might spend 12hours in transit in Ouagadougou, Airline will lodge you in a hotel on their bill)

2. considering traveling by bus? well not a bad idea but long i will tell you cos i have used that too. if you consider that, then i will prefer you either take a bus from Lagos to Accra/Ghana (preferable ABC transport, the best with comfort from Lagos to Accra) which should be an 8hours trip. then from Accra to Niamey (the bus service i know through this route is 'great imperial express') which should be a 30 hours trip. i prefer to use from Accra to Niamey, but there are also lots of bus services going from Cotonou/Benin or Lome/Togo to Niamey but i have never tried from these locations. but if you intend using this location, then you also take the ABC as it also goes to these locations and from there you take a bus to Niamey (duration of trip is almost 30 hours also). i can also say the route is relatively safe as i have had traveled this route by bus with some Europeans in the bus too.

3. there are bus service going from Niamey to Gao, the ones i know are Sonef tansport, Rimbo transport and Air travelers. i cannot tell of the safety or comfort because its a route i have not been to

4.Mali is presently in a political crisis now and Timbuktu in particular is experiencing crisis, so i cant say much about this.

hope i have helped in my little way to give guidance on how to get to Niamey from Lagos.

cheers
Mark

Posted July 20th, 2012 - 10:30 am by from Cape Town, South Africa (Permalink)
Moctar and Mark, thank you both for your thoughtful responses. You are both well-versed!

I enjoy road travel, and I'm thinking I should plan a full West Africa road trip for the future-as a tourist.

I have to skip Niger, since I can't get a visa here in South Africa, and it will take over a week to get it in Abuja.

So now I'll just fly from Lagos to Bamako. I've spoken to a few Malians, and if it's relatively safe (I'm a journalist who's okay with taking calculated risks) I'll travel North.

Mark, I've tried Asky, Air Nigeria, Arik Air, Ethiopia Airline, Kenya Airways (flight price is ridiculous) Cameroon Air, all of which show up on flight search engines. But when I'm on their sites-nothing.

I'll hand it to a travel agent to book the flights.

Thanks guys!