Bush taxis leave early from the Wadatta gare in Niamey, 1,750F per person in a minivan or slightly more in a station wagon. Or, you can rent out an entire station wagon for 20,000F one-way. One decent driver is Oumarou, 96-62-73-96.
See and Do
Sunday is market day in Balleyara, a 2-hour drive from Niamey. The spectacular market gets going at about 10am. Balleyara is known across West Africa for having one of the largest animal markets. It also has a very lively regular market with a mix of Zarma, Bella, and Fulani cultures.
Traditional hand-woven wedding blankets in bright colorful patterns: 7000F-20000F depending on size and complicated weaving.
Black etched wooden bowls: 500-1000F for small, 1500-2500F for medium, and 3-4500 for large, depending on negotiating skills and number of foreigners in the group (the more foreigners, the higher the price).
Carved spoons, available from the same guys as the black etched wooden bowls: 150-250F depending on size and quality.
Pagne fabric 5000F for 3 pagnes (6 meters) or 2000F for 1 pagne (2 meters). Enitex brand from Niger is less: 4000F for 3 pagnes or 1500F for 1 pagne.
Eat and Drink
Street food stands are your best option. You can also find delicious local bread and sweet bread. On the main road just outside the market are a couple of boutiques that serve food such as rice and sauce, omelette sandwhiches, etc. Filtered water is for sale for 25F each, known as "Purewater."
There are no hotels in town but there is a new campement/resort about 3km before town, with all the amenities.
However, you could also visit Balleyara as just a day-trip from Niamey.
No internet yet in Balleyara (as of 2008). Good cell phone reception.