West African country of Mauritania is an intriguing and distinctive holiday destination with a wide range of activities and sights to experience. Mauritania is the perfect place for adventurous tourists looking for an adventure off the beaten road because of its untamed landscapes, wide desert, and rich cultural heritage. If you want to travel to this amazing country, you need to read this Mauritania travel guide!
Planning Your Trip
You must carefully organize your trip since Mauritania is a unique tourist destination if you want to ensure a secure and enjoyable vacation there. So, bear the following in mind:
When to visit Mauritania
The colder months of November to February are the ideal time to travel to Mauritania. Sandstorms and other weather-related dangers are less likely during this season, and the temperatures are more moderate and comfortable for outdoor activities.
How to get to Mauritania
Mauritania is easily accessible by air, with several international airlines offering flights to Nouakchott, the capital city. Alternatively, you can enter the country by land from neighboring countries, but it’s important to research border crossing requirements and safety precautions.
To enter Mauritania, the majority of visitors will need a visa. It’s critical to research the most recent regulations for visas and the application process well before your trip. The majority of nationalities can purchase an entry visa for 55 euros. The money must be brought in precise cash.
Health and safety tips
Even though Mauritania has a low crime rate, visitors should nevertheless exercise caution to protect themselves. It’s also critical to be aware of health dangers like malaria and to take the appropriate preventative measures, like as vaccines.
Top Attractions and Activities
Mauritania is a country with a rich history and culture, as well as unique landscapes and natural wonders. Here are some of the top attractions and activities that should be on your list when visiting Mauritania:
- Nouakchott, the capital city: This bustling city offers a glimpse into modern Mauritanian life, with a range of restaurants, markets, and cultural landmarks to explore.
- Banc d’Arguin National Park: Located on the Atlantic coast, this protected area is a bird-watcher’s paradise and offers opportunities for eco-tourism and cultural experiences with local fishing communities.
- Chinguetti, a historic town in the desert: This ancient town is a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to a rich history of Islamic scholarship and architecture.
- The Sahara Desert and its attractions: The vast Sahara Desert offers opportunities for camel trekking, sandboarding, and star-gazing under the clear desert skies.
- Beaches and water activities: Mauritania’s coastline offers pristine beaches and opportunities for swimming, surfing, and fishing.
- Cultural experiences and festivals: From traditional music and dance performances to annual festivals celebrating local culture and traditions, Mauritania offers an array of cultural experiences that are not to be missed.
Adventure and genuine experiences are promised when traveling to Mauritania. There are lots of options available, whether you want an opulent stay or a classic desert camp experience.
Hotels in Mauritania have contemporary amenities like air conditioning, private bathrooms, and Wi-Fi if you’re seeking a more urbane experience. Budget hotels in Mauritania start at roughly $30 per night, while luxury hotels can cost up to $150 per night, depending on the location and level of sophistication. The El Khaima City Center Hotel in Nouakchott and the Hotel Tasiast in Nouadhibou are two awesome accommodations in Mauritania.
Anybody looking for a unique desert adventure will find that desert camps offer an outstanding experience. The opportunity to experience genuine Bedouin hospitality is provided by these camps, which are frequently situated in the middle of the desert. In Mauritania, there are two renowned desert camps: Tergit Desert Camp and Saharaoui Camp.
Mauritanian cuisine is a mix of Arab, Berber, and West African influences, resulting in a unique and flavorful cuisine. Here are some of the most popular foods and drinks to try in Mauritania:
- Thieboudienne: This is the national dish of Mauritania and consists of fish (usually red snapper) cooked in a tomato-based sauce and served over rice with vegetables. It’s a must-try dish for seafood lovers.
- Couscous: In Mauritania, couscous is a common dish that is frequently eaten with vegetables and a tomato-based sauce. This recipe is pleasant and filling, making it ideal for lunch or dinner.
- Thé Touareg: Traditional green tea, mint, and sugar are used to make this beverage. It is a mainstay of Mauritanian culture and is frequently offered as a gesture of friendliness.
- Mechoui: This is a traditional roasted lamb dish that’s often served at special occasions like weddings or festivals. The lamb is slow-roasted for hours, resulting in tender and flavorful meat that’s perfect for sharing with friends and family.
- Chakchouka: Tomatoes, onions, peppers, and eggs are used to make this spicily flavored vegetable dish. In Mauritania, it’s a well-liked breakfast option that frequently includes bread.
- Boulette: These spicy sauce-topped meatballs are created from ground lamb or beef. They’re a common street item and make for an easy and delicious snack.
When it comes to dining in Mauritania, there are plenty of options available, from street food to upscale restaurants. Prices vary depending on the type of establishment, with street food options starting at around $1 and upscale restaurants costing upwards of $30 per meal.
How To Move Around
Exploring Mauritania’s transportation options can be an exciting adventure for travelers looking to immerse themselves in the country’s culture. From public transportation to private car rentals, there are plenty of ways to get around and see all that Mauritania has to offer.
One little-known aspect of the public transportation system in Mauritania is that it has a distinctive payment mechanism. Instead of paying a set fare, passengers bargain with the driver for a rate based on where they are going. First-time visitors may find this difficult, but it’s a terrific way to explore the nation’s unique culture and interact with residents.
In Mauritania, the most common form of public transportation is the “bush taxi.” These are shared taxis that typically seat around 7-8 people and operate on set routes. While they’re cheap (a typical fare is around $2-3), they can be uncomfortable and unreliable. However, they’re a great way to get around if you’re on a budget and don’t mind the crowds.
But if you want (and you should) explore remote areas of the country, you need to hire a private car with driver. Prices vary depending on the length of the trip and the type of vehicle, but expect to pay around $50-100 per day.
Cultural Tips and Etiquette
Before traveling to Mauritania, it is essential to grasp the country’s cultural practices and traditions. The following advice can help you have a more pleasurable trip:
- Dress conservatively: Mauritania is a predominantly Muslim country, so it’s important to dress modestly and avoid revealing clothing. Women should cover their shoulders and wear long skirts or pants, while men should avoid shorts and sleeveless shirts.
- Show respect for elders: In Mauritania, respect for elders is highly valued. When meeting someone older than you, it’s customary to greet them first and use formal titles such as “maître” or “cherif.”
- Practice good table manners: If you’re invited to a Mauritanian home for a meal, it’s important to practice good table manners. Traditionally, Mauritanians eat with their right hand, so make sure to follow suit. Additionally, it’s considered impolite to leave food on your plate, so be sure to finish what you’re served.
- Learn some Arabic phrases: While French is the official language of Mauritania, Arabic is widely spoken. Learning a few Arabic phrases such as “salam alaykum” (hello) and “shukran” (thank you) can go a long way in showing respect for the local culture.
Mauritania is a fascinating travel destination that offers a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. From the Sahara Desert and Banc d’Arguin National Park to the historic town of Chinguetti and the capital city of Nouakchott, there’s something for everyone in this amazing country.
Though Mauritania might not be as well-known as some other places, it is a hidden gem that is begging to be discovered. Travelers are guaranteed to get a memorable impression of Mauritania because of its distinctive cultural practices and traditions, breathtaking landscapes, and friendly locals.
So if you’re looking for an adventure and a chance to immerse yourself in a new and exciting culture, then Mauritania is the perfect destination for you. So pack your bags, book your trip, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in this amazing country.
I’m a total Africa enthusiast! I’ve been exploring this amazing continent for years and I can’t get enough of its diverse cultures, stunning landscapes, and incredible wildlife. From hiking through the savannahs to sampling local cuisine, I’m all about immersing myself in everything Africa has to offer. I’m constantly on the lookout for new and exciting experiences, and I love sharing my passion and knowledge with fellow travel lovers. If you’re looking for an adventure like no other, Africa is the place to be, and I’m here to help you make the most of it!