Wonders of Niger

Ténéré Desert
Ténéré Desert. / Matthew Paulson, Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

WorldBlue  Highlights

For the most part, Niger is covered with desert. While some parts of the country have a monotonous landscape, there are surprising landmarks. The most amazing wonders of Niger are:

  • Historical desert cities and towns. There are several old cities, towns, and villages in the country with well-preserved traditional architecture. Some are abandoned (Djado and Djaba) and now are exotic ruins in the middle of the desert. Others are alive (Agadez, Fachi, Zinder) and to an outsider may look like living open-air museums.
  • Adobe buildings. World’s tallest adobe structure – Agadez Mosque with its 27 m tall minaret – is in Niger. There are many other interesting buildings from adobe in the country.

Map with the described wonders

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WorldViolet Top 19 wonders of Niger

Geological wonders

Orida Arch


Free standing natural arch – a loop of sandstone, rising from the desert sands.

Timia waterfall


Seasonal waterfall in guelta (seasonal stream) in the cliffs of Timia oasis.

Timia Falls, Niger

Biological wonders

Tree of Ténéré (sculpture)


Metal sculpture in the site where was standing lonely tree, reportedly – the loneliest tree in the world. This Acacia was standing 400 km from the nearest tree until it was knocked down by a car in 1973.

L'Arbre du Ténéré in 1939, Niger. Once the loneliest tree in the world.


Fossil graveyard in Tenere desert that contains bones of extinct animals. An amazing find is the fossils of Sarcosuchus imperator, the most terrible crocodile in the world that lived some 112 million years ago.

Suchomimus tenerensis dinosaur, Gadoufaoua

Archaeological wonders

Dabous giraffe carvings


World’s largest single petroglyph. Unique life-sized rock carvings of two giraffes that were created some 8 – 10 thousand years ago. The quality and detail of the carvings are exceptional. The largest giraffe is 5.4 m tall. The site contains hundreds of other petroglyphs. Niger is very rich with prehistoric cliff art and there are countless sites with petroglyphs, including very interesting and somewhat mysterious round-headed people in Tageuit.

Dabous giraffes - world's largest prehistoric petroglyphs in Niger
Ukhuse Oke footprints


Giant prints of human foots in granite surface.

Bura site


Prehistoric (first millenium AD) necropolis with coffins that are adorned with interesting terra cotta statues. Site contains burial mounds, shrines, ancient dwellings. This site has given name to local archaeological culture – Bura culture.

Gobero site


The oldest known graveyard in the Sahara was used already sometimes around 8,000 BC. Here have been found remnants of extinct animals, human remains, and many interesting artifacts. The site was inhabited for some 5 thousand years.

Architecture wonders

Agadez Mosque


Large clay building, originally constructed in 1515 and restored in 1844. Mosque has a 27 m tall minaret – the tallest adobe structure in the world.

Agadez Mosque - tallest adobe structure in the world
Zinder Palace


Palace of the local sultan, a large building in traditional local style, built from adobe.

Zinder Palace


Tuareg city, founded before the 14th century AD. Historical quartals of this desert city are built from adobe and soil, several buildings have outstanding architecture – such as the mosque with the tallest adobe structure in the world.

Zinder historical centres


A historical desert city that evolved in the 18th century. Two districts in the city – Birni and Zengou – contain many historical buildings. Birni (Birini) contains Zinder Great Mosque and Zinder Sultan’s Palace, but Zengou (old Hausa settlement) – many examples of the vernacular architecture. City has numerous mudbrick buildings.

Zinder Old city, Niger
Djado ruins and Djaba ruins


Ruins of an amazing, fortified hilltop towns in Djado Plateau.

Ruins of Djado, Niger
Madarounfa Lake


Around this lake are 99 graves of Muslim saints. Site of legends about unusual events, e.g. gatherings of light on Thursday evenings.

Yamma Mosque (Yaama Mosque)


An unusual building, constructed in 1962 and later in traditional style, from adobe. Building has elaborate structure of central dome and four minarets. Local architect Elhadj Mamoudou dit Falké has built several similar mosques in this area.

Fachi fortified village


Fortified citadel of Fachi village has tall walls and inside it are located granaries to provide food in a case of siege. Village was fortified to repel the raids of Tuaregs and others.

Assodé ruins


Ruins of a historical Tuareg capital in Aïr mountains, founded around the 11th century AD, declined in the 18th century AD and abandoned since 1917. Ruins of a 30 m long mosque.

Tunguma Stone


Traditional stone of judgment that can be approached only by certain, authorized people. According to local traditions, it moves towards the one who asks, of the answer is positive and moves away, if negative. This site has many legends, including legends about the nearby burial of the legendary first queen of Saraounia. This area is the last stronghold of the Hausa animist religion.

Agadez Palace


Massive building from adobe, palace of local sultan.

WorldYellow Recommended books

Niger: The Bradt Travel Guide

This first English-language guide to the Saharan country of Niger spans the densely populated regions of the south–a colorful melting pot of cultures–and the hostile desert landscape of the north–featuring some of the most stunning sand dunes in Africa. Transport options for travelers are a particular feature of the guide–including long-distance connections to neighboring countries, river trips on the River Niger, and camel trekking in the Massif de Aïr and Ténéré desert regions, home to the nomadic Tuareg people.

Lost Cities of AfricaNiger tourism: Sahara tour, in Niger republic

Overview of Niger republic: Niger has been inhabited by humans since at least 10000 BC, and has been part of many major West African empires throughout its history. Though today, Niger is situated within the Sahara Desert, its early terrain featured fertile grasslands and a variety of wildlife, and became the arid desert it is today beginning around 5200 BC.

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