Ayorou is a river-side town three hours from Niamey with a colorful, laid-back Sunday market. It makes either a great day trip or overnight from Niamey.
Ayorou is 206 kilometers (3 hours) north of Niamey on the route past Tillaberi. The bus company Africa Assalaam, just off of Rond Point Yantala on the Tillaberi road, runs shuttles up there from Niamey.
See and Do
Market: Wander to your heart's content. The market has a big mix of cultures and a selection of goods not available in Niamey or elsewhere. People are a degree calmer and more polite than in other markets, making for a very pleasant morning.
Hippo and island tours: From the hotel you can arrange a motorized or non-motorized pirogue ride to see the hippopotami and islands. Many boat operators will offer their services. One decent guide is Ilou Anafiyou, who gives a 3-hour motorized pirogue tour of hippopotami and two island villages, bargained down to 20000F. (96-11-39-52, 96-08-71-25, or firstname.lastname@example.org, though he’ll be away June-Nov 2008.) A motorized pirogue may allow you to get to the less-visited islands upon request. Ilou can also arrange a tasty dinner for your group, bargained down to 1,250/person.
Eat and Drink
Street food is your best option. There is also one bar/restaurant in town. Or, guys at the hotel may be able to arrange a dinner. The bar/restaurant has Biere Niger (which is good), Flag beer, Cokes, etc. On the street you can find people selling local sugary drinks, tasty but at your own risk as far as water quality is concerned.
There is one hotel in town, and it is decent, with beautiful river views and shaded areas to have a coke and relax. The hotel has rooms for 10000F and up (but if you pay extra for a fan or A/C remember that power generally gets cut at midnight) or you can camp for 3000F. Camping includes nothing – no tent, mattress, water, or luggage storage. For a different tack, it looks like there is a nice French-run campement on a private island downriver.
No internet in town as of 2008. Good phone reception.