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Travel Notes: Africa: Mauritania Travel Notes

Mauritania Travel Notes

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Mauritania Travel and Tourism on Travel Notes


Find Mauritania Travel and Tourist Information with links to official travel and tourism websites and state resources for visitors to Mauritania.

About Mauritania

The Islamic Republic of Mauritania, a former French colony, achieved full independence on November 28th, 1960.

Mauritania Background Information

Countries neighbouring Mauritania are: Western Sahara, Algeria, Mali and Senegal.

Map of Mauritania

Weather in Africa:
Local weather forecasts for destinations around Africa.

Mauritania lies almost wholly within the Sahara; except for the southern section, along the River Senegal. Nearly half of the country is covered in sand.

The majority of the people are Moors; of mixed Arab and Berber descent.

Berber nomads, from the Sanhaja Confederation, moved into the area in the 1st millennium AD.

Initially dominating the trade between the kingdom of Ghana and North Africa, the Sanhaja destroyed Kumbi Saleh, the then capital of the kingdom of Ghana - situated in modern south-eastern Mauritania - in 1076.

The Berbers were in turn conquered by Arabs in the 16th century, and the descendants of the Arabs dominated the upper level of Mauritanian society. Arabic also displaced Berber dialects as the language of the country.

In the early 1900s French forces moved up the River Senegal and made the area a French protectorate, in 1903; and subsequently a colony of France, in 1920.


If you're travelling to Mauritania, then you will probably spend some time in the capital; situated in the west of the country.

Originally a village in the desert on the route south to Dakar, the community grew after being selected as the site of the national capital in 1957, three years before Mauritania accomplished full independence.

Hotels in Mauritania:
Find hotels in Mauritania with special online rates.

Hotels in Nouakchott

The Monotel or Mauricenter are reasonable places to stay in Nouakchott. The Hotel Wissal is also acceptable, although some  rooms have poor WiFi connection and food can be little more than average, at best. But then, you have to remember: this is Mauritania.

Hotel Mauricenter Nouakchott - Official Hotel WebsiteHotel Mauricentre on Facebook
Hotel Mauricenter Nouakchott:
Rond point Cite smar, Nouakchott, Mauritania.

Reasonable 3-star accommodation in Nouakchott with private bathroom.

Join the Meta Travel Community to add your reviews Guests at the Hotel Mauricenter Nouakchott were generally pleased with the comfortable rooms.

Other Main Towns in Mauritania

Kaedi is a farming centre on the River Senegal.

Nouadhibou is a fishing centre and seaport for iron ore exports; brought by rail from F'derik.

Travel in Mauritania

A lack of infrastructure means that many people choose to fly in Mauritania.

As with most of the West African countries shared taxis do go to the major towns, and there are two trains a day between Nouadhibou and Zouerat, near the iron ore mines of F'derik; but throw comfort out the window.

Airlines and Airports:
Air France and Air Afrique fly to Nouakchott from Paris, and Sabena serves the Mauritanian capital from Brussels. There are also regional flights from neighbouring countries and a pilgrim connection to Saudi Arabia.

Overland to Mauritania

Border crossings from Western Sahara are dependent on an army convoy, so most people choose to travel to or from Senegal.

It is theoretically possible to travel to or from Mali but the current situation needs to be checked in the capital of either country.

Adventures of Mauritania

Mauritania is beyond doubt the most dramatic country in North Africa, and one of the few remaining areas of the world which offers a feeling of medieval lifestyles.

World's Longest Train

The train carrying iron from Zouerate, to the coast at Nouadhibou, is probably the world's longest train. Its length can be as much as 3 kilometres and the 700km journey takes around 12 hours.


Adrar is the Berber word for plateau, and that's what this region is. The brown landscape has patches of green after the rains.

The official languages of Mauritania are Arabic and French, although Poular, Wolof, and Soninke are also considered national languages.

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