Prepping for a trip to Mauritania? Well, buckle up, because this North African gem is packed with unique spots just waiting for you to discover.
Figuring out the perfect Mauritania itinerary can feel like solving a puzzle, ’cause there’s so much to see and do! On your first visit, you’ll definitely want to dive into what makes Mauritania shine bright.
Now, instead of pyramids, think vast deserts with mysterious ancient cities like Chinguetti. Imagine swapping out Nile cruises for epic train rides on one of the world’s longest iron-ore trains. And instead of the Red Sea, picture endless sandy dunes that look like they’ve been painted with gold.
We’ve spent our fair share of time wandering through Mauritania, and we’ve gathered up loads of tips and spots to share. So, whether you’ve got a week, a bit more, or even two whole weeks, we’ve got your back!
Ready to kickstart your Mauritania adventure? Let’s map out the ultimate journey together!
Best Time To Visit Mauritania
Mauritania has this mix of desert vibes and cool coastal breezes. Most of the country feels like a grand desert adventure, especially the deeper you go.
The top pick? Many travelers love heading there between November and April. Why? The sun’s out but it’s not too sizzling—just warm and lovely. But heads up, since it’s the popular choice, it means more folks around and prices might be a tad higher.
Now, if you’re a fan of super sunny days, May to August is SUNNY with capital letters! It’s hot, but hey, less crowd. And if you fancy a mix of both, fall could be your sweet spot.
How To Move Around Mauritania
Mauritania is pretty spread out, so figuring out how to travel is key. To zip between the big spots like Nouakchott in the south and Nouadhibou in the north, flying might be your best bet to save on time. But, if you’re up for a different kind of journey, why not hop on a train? Especially the epic one that goes through the desert!
For instance, to experience the real Mauritania vibes, think about taking the scenic routes like the desert tracks between Chinguetti and Atar.
Traveling solo or prefer company? You can totally explore Mauritania on your own, but if you’re a fan of easy-peasy travel, considering a group tour or a pre-planned trip is a cool idea. Especially if it’s your first time dipping your toes into this sandy wonderland.
Thinking of how long to stay? A whole 2 weeks gives you loads of time to soak in all the big spots and chill out a bit. But hey, if you’ve got just a week or ten days, no worries! We’ve got the perfect plans laid out for you in this guide.
Read more: How To Get To Chinguetti?
Is Mauritania A Safe Destination?
I know Mauritania sounds like an intriguing spot on the map, and it’s always cool to learn about new places. But, you know how sometimes, there are parts in a video game where it’s just super tricky, and it’s better to wait until you’re more leveled up? That’s kinda where Mauritania is at right now for travelers.
Sometimes, people gather for political events or demonstrations, and it can get unpredictable. The local experts and leaders suggest staying away from these crowds and always listening to their advice.
And here’s the biggie: there are some risks in Mauritania right now, like the danger of bad folks doing things like kidnapping or causing harm. It’s a bit like that ‘boss level’ in games that you’ve gotta be super prepared for.
5 Days In Mauritania Itinerary
Okay, so if you’re sprinting through, you can get a sneak peek in just 5 days. It’s kinda like watching the movie trailer – super cool, but there’s way more to the full story. If you can, try hanging out for a week or even two! Trust me, the adventures waiting there are totally worth it.
Day 1: Nouakchott – The Capital’s Charms
Kick off your Mauritanian adventure by landing in the heart of the country, Nouakchott. Once you’ve checked into your digs and freshened up, it’s time to dive straight into local life. Make your way to the bustling Port de Pêche, where you’ll be captivated by the sight of fishermen hauling in their daily catch.
As evening sets in, let the city’s rhythm guide you. Meander through the central streets and savor a delightful Mauritanian meal, introducing your taste buds to the flavors of the land. Wrap up your day soaking in the capital’s lively atmosphere.
Day 2: Chinguetti – Desert’s Doorstep
Rise and shine early for a scenic drive to the desert town of Chinguetti. Often referred to as the “seventh city of Islam”, Chinguetti is a gateway to Mauritania’s desert wonders. Once there, lose yourself in ancient libraries filled with age-old manuscripts.
Feel the weight of time as you walk through stone houses and narrow lanes, all echoing tales of historic trade routes and bygone eras. As the sun sets, find a cozy spot to gaze at the vast desert skies, with stars shining brighter than you’ve ever seen.
Day 3: Terjit Oasis – Nature’s Surprise
Today’s journey takes you to the Terjit Oasis, a real-life desert miracle. Nestled amidst golden sand dunes, this green haven is the perfect escape from the desert heat. Splash in the cool waters, rest under palm trees, and enjoy a picnic with some local delicacies. Engage with nomadic families, often eager to share stories, and maybe even a cup of mint tea. Return to Chinguetti for the night, reflecting on the day’s adventures.
Day 4: Nouadhibou – Coastal Wonders
Switch from desert landscapes to coastal panoramas by heading to Nouadhibou. This coastal city is known for its serene beaches and the iconic shipwreck bay. Spend your day exploring the coastline, maybe catching sight of a seal or two.
Dive into the local seafood cuisine, with flavors so fresh, they’ll dance on your palate. As night falls, enjoy the gentle lullabies of ocean waves, setting the tone for a restful sleep.
Day 5: Banc d’Arguin National Park – Birdwatcher’s Paradise
Your last day is reserved for the UNESCO World Heritage site, Banc d’Arguin National Park. This park is a mosaic of sand dunes, coastal swamps, mudflats, and shallow coastal waters. But the real stars here are the birds.
Whether you’re an avid birdwatcher or just a curious traveler, the sheer number and variety of migratory birds here will leave you spellbound. After a day of feathery encounters, head back to Nouakchott, where you can catch your return flight or spend one more evening reminiscing about your whirlwind Mauritanian journey.
Mauritania is a treasure trove of experiences, and while our itinerary is super packed, it’s designed to give you the most out of your limited time. It’s honestly bustling from dawn till dusk! To make the most of each day, you’ll need to have private transport. Think of it as your magic carpet – zipping you from one breathtaking spot to another efficiently. Remember, this itinerary aims to let you soak in as much of Mauritania as possible in a short span.
8 Days In Mauritania Itinerary
Mauritania it’s a vast place, and trust me, you’d be surprised how far apart some spots can be.
Now, if you’re thinking of a quick peek into Mauritania, like say, 8 days, that’s kind of like trying to complete a game on speed run. Sure, you’ll see some cool places, but there’s a chance you’ll miss out on other awesome stuff. But hey, if a week is all you’ve got, we can totally make it work!
Day 1: Arrive in Nouakchott
Day 2: Nouakchott – Visit the Port de Pêche & National Museum of Mauritania
Day 3: Drive to Atar – Explore ancient Chinguetti and its libraries
Day 4: Adventure in Adrar Plateau – Desert trekking and seeing the Terjit Oasis
Day 5: Travel to Banc d’Arguin National Park – Birdwatching and local fishing villages
Day 6: Drive to Nouadhibou – Visit Cap Blanc (White Cape) and Iron Ore Train experience
Day 7: Nouadhibou – Explore the markets & local life, then return to Nouakchott
Day 8: Depart Nouakchott
If you’ve only got a week, you’re in for a whirlwind tour, kinda like trying to beat your favorite game on fast-forward mode.
You’re going to see some super cool spots Mauritania is famous for, but keep in mind, it’s just a sneak peek. There’s so much more to explore!
Ever heard of those epic desert treks here? It’s a bit like Egypt’s Nile River Cruise but on sand. If you’re short on time, hopping on one of these desert journeys is an awesome way to see a lot while you’re moving from one place to another.
We’ve tried exploring Mauritania in all sorts of ways: on our own, with a group, and even on desert caravans. If you decide to skip the desert trek, you might miss out on some hidden gems like the ancient city of Chinguetti. And, squeezing in spots like the Banc d’Arguin National Park? You might have to strategize a bit, like planning your next move in a board game.
But honestly? If time’s super tight, I’d say go for the desert journey. It’s like an all-in-one Mauritania experience!
So, ready to pack and play? Let’s dive into Mauritania together!
Day 1: Arrive in Nouakchott
Touchdown in Mauritania’s capital, Nouakchott. After settling into your accommodation, take an evening stroll at the lively markets, soaking in the city’s mix of tradition and modernity. Maybe sample some local street food!
Day 2: Nouakchott – Port de Pêche & National Museum
Start your day at the bustling Port de Pêche, where you can see fishermen bring in their catch. In the afternoon, dive into Mauritania’s rich history at the National Museum, showcasing ancient artifacts and exhibits about nomadic culture.
Day 3: Drive to Atar – Chinguetti Exploration
Today, head to Atar. After some rest, explore the UNESCO World Heritage site of Chinguetti, often called the “7th Holy City of Islam.” Wander around its ancient libraries and marvel at the city’s architecture.
Day 4: Adrar Plateau Adventure
Embrace your inner adventurer by exploring the Adrar Plateau. Trek through the dunes, and find hidden oases like Terjit, a green haven amidst golden sands. Feel the cool water and relax under palm trees.
Day 5: Banc d’Arguin National Park – Birdwatching Extravaganza
This national park is a haven for bird enthusiasts. Spot various migratory birds and discover how local Imragen people have a unique relationship with the birds and the sea. Visit fishing villages and learn about their centuries-old fishing techniques.
Day 6: Nouadhibou – Cap Blanc & Iron Ore Train
Head to Nouadhibou, Mauritania’s economic capital. Visit Cap Blanc, a peninsula known for its stunning sea views. In the evening, get a thrilling experience by observing the Iron Ore Train, one of the world’s longest trains.
Day 7: Nouadhibou – Local Life and Return to Nouakchott
Experience a day in the life of Nouadhibou. Walk around the local markets, trying out the delicious seafood. In the afternoon, drive back to Nouakchott, where you can relax and maybe catch a local music performance.
Day 8: Depart Nouakchott
Before you say goodbye to Mauritania, grab some last-minute souvenirs and perhaps enjoy a traditional Mauritanian breakfast. Then, head to the airport, taking with you memories of a lifetime!
Ideal 2 Weeks in Mauritania Itinerary
Ready for an epic two weeks in Mauritania? Trust me, two weeks is like the golden ticket – just right to get a taste of all the cool stuff without feeling too rushed.
With two weeks, you’ll not only dive deep into the heart of the desert but also kick back and relax by the Atlantic coast. Think of it like having your cake and eating it too!
And, you know what’s a must-see? Nouadhibou up in the North. It’s kind of like Egypt’s Alexandria but with a Mauritanian twist. It’s where the desert meets the sea. The mix of local and Berber history here is super cool, and you’ll totally feel that blend of cultures.
Day 1: Arrive in Nouakchott
Day 2: Nouakchott – Explore the lively markets and Port de Pêche
Day 3: Nouakchott – Day trip to Terjit Oasis
Day 4: Drive to Chinguetti – Tour the ancient libraries and city architecture
Day 5: Chinguetti – Explore the surrounding Adrar Region and desert
Day 6: Desert Trek – Venture deeper into Mauritania’s golden dunes
Day 7: Desert Trek – Experience life in a desert oasis
Day 8: Drive to Nouadhibou – Visit Cap Blanc (White Cape)
Day 9: Nouadhibou – Relax by the Atlantic coast
Day 10: Nouadhibou – Another day of beach relaxation
Day 11: Morning at the beach then drive back to Nouakchott
Day 12: Nouakchott – Explore areas like Ksar and the city’s modern architecture
Day 13: Nouakchott – Day trip to Parc National du Banc d’Arguin for birdwatching
Day 14: Depart Nouakchott
While I’m suggesting you hang out in Nouadhibou, mostly ’cause it’s easier to get to, you could also think about spending more time in places like Nouakchott or Chinguetti.
Now, between you and me, Chinguetti has this cool, laid-back vibe. Plus, the ancient libraries there? Totally rad! If you’re into more straightforward spots, Nouadhibou might be your jam. It’s a bit simpler than busy Nouakchott, which feels kinda like a big city.
Day 1: Arrive in Nouakchott
Touch down in Mauritania’s bustling capital, Nouakchott. Get settled in your accommodation and then maybe take a relaxed evening walk, sampling the vibrant atmosphere and trying some local delicacies.
Day 2: Nouakchott – Markets and Port de Pêche
Dive into the local culture by exploring the city’s bustling markets. Later in the day, visit Port de Pêche, where you can watch local fishermen bring in their daily catch and perhaps taste the freshest fish you’ve ever had.
Day 3: Nouakchott – Day Trip to Terjit Oasis
Venture out to Terjit Oasis, a lush green haven nestled amidst the vast golden dunes. Enjoy the cool waters and relax under the shade of palm trees.
Day 4: Drive to Chinguetti – Ancient Libraries and Desert Architecture
Head to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Chinguetti. Spend the day getting lost amongst ancient manuscripts in the city’s historic libraries and admiring the timeless desert architecture.
Day 5: Chinguetti – Adrar Exploration
Discover the beauty of the Adrar Region surrounding Chinguetti. From dune-filled horizons to historic caravan routes, feel the essence of Mauritania’s desert heritage.
Day 6: Desert Trek – The Heart of the Dunes
Dive deeper into the Mauritanian desert, experiencing the tranquility and vastness of the dunes. Set up camp under the stars and enjoy traditional music by the campfire.
Day 7: Desert Trek – Oasis Life
Continue your trek and stumble upon hidden oases. Experience the hospitality of the nomadic communities living in these pockets of green amidst the desert.
Day 8: Drive to Nouadhibou – Cap Blanc’s Beauty
Travel to Nouadhibou and visit Cap Blanc, the stunning peninsula known for its sea views and shipwrecks. Watch for seals lounging on the shorelines!
Day 9: Nouadhibou – Atlantic Relaxation
Kick back and unwind on the pristine beaches of Nouadhibou. Maybe try your hand at some water sports or just enjoy the sun and surf.
Day 10: Nouadhibou – Beach and Local Life
Another glorious beach day! Later, wander through the city, interact with the locals, and explore the marketplaces, tasting the rich flavors of coastal Mauritania.
Day 11: Morning at the Beach, then Drive to Nouakchott
Soak up the morning sun on the beach before making your way back to Nouakchott. Reflect on your adventures as the landscape shifts from coast to city.
Day 12: Nouakchott – Ksar and Modern Explorations
Discover the old town, Ksar, with its narrow alleys and rich history. Later, explore Nouakchott’s modern side with its broad avenues, parks, and architecture.
Day 13: Nouakchott – Parc National du Banc d’Arguin
Dedicate a day to birdwatching in this national park. The place is a haven for migratory birds, and you might even spot some playful dolphins in the bay.
Day 14: Depart Nouakchott
Before bidding farewell to Mauritania, grab some souvenirs and perhaps relish a traditional Mauritanian breakfast. Then it’s time to head to the airport, taking memories of a grand adventure with you.
So, when we’re talking about Mauritania, it’s kinda like opening up this epic treasure box. Sure, you can get a sneak peek in just 5 days, but if you’ve got 2 weeks? Oh boy, that’s the magic number to really dive into all its awesomeness.
Whether you’re traveling on a tight budget with a trusty backpack, or looking to splurge a bit on some luxuries (or hey, maybe you’re somewhere in the middle), Mauritania’s got something special for everyone.
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!