Transport in Niger is composed of the transport systems and methods used in this landlocked nation, with cities separated by huge uninhabited deserts, mountain ranges, and other natural features. A poor nation, Niger's transportation system was little developed during the colonial period (1899–1960), relying upon animal transportation, human transportation, and limited river transportation in the far south west and south east. No railways were constructed in the colonial period, and roads outside the capital remained unpaved. The Niger River is unsuitable for large-scale river transportation, as it lacks depth for most of the year and is broken by rapids at many spots. Camel caravan transportation was historically important in the Sahara desert and Sahel regions which cover most of the north. Taxis are available in Niamey. They run at a fixed price for a short journey around the downtown area, or more to go across the whole city. Taxi drivers may charge inflated prices for tourists, so it is expected that you haggle with them to get the lowest price. There are no railroads in Niger, it is only possible to travel long distances of the country by bus. Niger has a recently introduced bus service along major routes in the country, connecting larger cities and towns. Prior to this, and still in operation, are private minivans. These smaller vans are notoriously unreliable and uncomfortable, and can take a long time.