Desert tourism has collapsed in the Aïr-Tenere, now a major people-smuggling corridor
No reports of anyone crossing from Algeria for years.
Some have managed to get as far as Agadez from the south.
Niger CFA XOF exchange rates. In some places you can pay in euros.
Price of fuel
Diesel 600 CFA/litre, petrol 636 CFA.
French, Hausa. Arabic is less useful than you think.
Needed by all except some EU countries. Consulates include, Amsterdam, Brussels, Bonn. Only for locals in Tamanrasset. Note the varying requirements on vaccination certificates, return tickets and bank statements.
With a vehicle buy a laissez-passer (local vehicle carnet) and insurance (both cover the whole CFA zone). Arlit to Agadez and southwards: no more escorts, but this was all before the fall of Libya which changed everything up here.
Desert pistes east of Agadez (Aïr; Ténéré; Djado)
Even in the good years people got occasionally robbed in the Aïr, and travellers have long required a guide and permits costing from €50 a day in your car or at least three times that in his own car. Landmines in the Aïr are said to have been cleared, but the risk of banditry remains high. No one has been here for years but, as described in the book, the Tenere Loop (as followed on the Eclipse in 2006) remained one of the best two-week tours in the Sahara. The run down from Bilma to Nguigmi and Lake Chad is initially through heavy dune fields but Lake Chad has seen Boko Haram activity in recent years.