The Great Tour of the Aïr Mountains

The Great Tour of the Aïr Mountains

West Africa's Niger is largely a Sahara desert, but surprisingly there is also a high mountain range, called the Aïr. The mountain range has several peaks reaching 1800 metres above sea level, with the highest reaching 1944 metres. The mountains are interspersed with deep valleys where the local Tuareg population practises agriculture and livestock farming. In these areas, in addition to camping, you will find interesting villages, the high sand dunes of Arakao and, of course, the beautiful mountain scenery and the friendly mountain people.

Less than 20 years ago, the Sahara and the Aïr Mountains in Niger were still popular destinations, but the Tuareg rebellion, which began and ended days ago, has driven all tourists away. Nowadays, tourists are expected to return.

This itinerary starts and ends in Niger's largest city in the Sahara, historic Agadez, where the traveller will either arrive by air from the capital Niamey or our guide will pick you up by car for an additional fee.

Day 1

Arrival in Agadez, the heart of the Sahara, from where we start our journey by off-road vehicle towards the Aïr Mountains. The car is packed with tents for overnight stays, food, drinks and other necessities. The journey will be made privately in a convoy of several cars, as the state of Niger requires military personnel to secure our passage just in case. Security services are included in the price of the trip and their necessity depends on the region and the time of the trip. Because of the convoy and the cost involved, this trip is best suited to a minimum of six participants.

We set off towards the village of Iferouane on the northern edge of the Aïr Mountains.

Days 2–3

We explore the Tuareg village of Iferouane, before heading to the sand dunes of Chiriet, also known as Adrar Chiriet.

Day 4

Today we visit a caldera on the east side of Mount Aïr, apparently belonging to an extinct volcano. In and around the caldera, the massive Arakao sand dunes have been formed over time and are unrivalled in the Sahara.

Days 5–6

We travel from the sand dunes of Arakao towards the village of Timia in the central Aïr Mountains. Surprisingly, there is even a waterfall near the village, with water at least during the rainy season and immediately after it ends. But you can still swim in Timia, as the waterfall drains into the guelta, a pool of water that holds water all year round.

Day 7

We return to Agadez, an ancient caravan town and crossroads of trade routes. We explore the UNESCO World Heritage-listed old town and its magnificent clay architecture. We will visit the 16th century Grand Mosque and its 27-metre minaret, the Sultan's Palace, the house of German explorer Heinrich Barth and many other interesting sights, including the camel market.

Day 8

The trip ends today and we hope you have enjoyed the Aïr Mountains with us.

General information about the tour

Price: inquire with us

The price of the trip includes:

  • All accommodations
  • All transports
  • All entrance fees
  • English-speaking local guide
  • Security services where they are mandatory
  • Meals and bottled water
  • Visa invitation letter

Not included in the price:

  • International flights and travel from Niamey to Agadez either by land or by air
  • Visa
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses, such as souvenirs and tips