Planning on a visit to Mauritania for your holiday? Get the most out of your vacation by exploring the best things to do in Mauritania and the best places to visit in Mauritania below. Wondrous Drifter is a Web 3.0 startup in the tourism industry that aims to disrupt the industry as a whole by utilizing Web 3.0 technologies.
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A good starting point for your journey to other enthralling places
Atar is the doorway to the Adrar Plateau and the location where travelers come to organize their excursions to the desert-cloaked medieval caravan settlements such as Chinguetti.
The town is located in the middle of Mauritanian territory. Still, it is also close to the Western Saharan border, making it a great place to shop for traditional Mauritanian items.
Because of its proximity to both a major airport and a major regional hospital, Atar is becoming an increasingly important location.
There are a few markets in Atar that a person looking for souvenirs would find interesting.
Bargaining is expected in these markets, where prices are typically lower than in Chinguetti.
Day tours from Atar allow visitors to explore many of the region’s oases and other natural attractions.
If you are in the mood for some excitement, you can go into the market, where you will almost certainly be approached by accommodating drivers who are eager to show you the places that they think are the most interesting.
Address: Saharan Mauritania, Mauritania, Sahel, Africa
Banc d’Arguin National Park
See a wide variety of birds and be awestruck by their majesty.
Banc d’Arguin is a beautiful sanctuary, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of the world’s largest bird sanctuaries. It is a must-see for birdwatchers.
Mauritania’s furthest northernmost tip is home to the Bay of Arguin and its remarkable biodiversity, as seen by the staggering number of migratory birds that pass through every year.
In the shallows, you can witness pelicans, sandpipers, terns, flamingos, and the largest breeding birds in West Africa!
The traditional Imraguen people can often be seen bobbing on pirogues between the sand islets and the lapping waves of the Caribbean Sea.
To see the park’s inhabitants up close and personal, tourists can sign up for a boat tour.
There is a lot more to Mauritania than the desert when you think of it, and the curious tourist should take advantage of it!
Address: Northwestern Mauritania
The Sahara’s ever-changing dunes give way to this unexpected sight.
Chinguetti is a ksar, also known as a Berber medieval commercial city, found in the north of Mauritania on the Adrar Plateau to the east of Atar.
It was formerly a significant commercial stopover between the Mediterranean Sea in the north and the sub-Saharan Desert in the south, and today it is a location with hauntingly vacant alleys that have been chiseled and chipped by the winds.
It was founded in the 13th century as a hub for many trans-Saharan trade routes. This modest city still attracts a small number of visitors who appreciate the city’s sparse architecture, beautiful scenery, and historical libraries.
Many houses in the city have been abandoned because of the threat of the desert encroaching on the city’s western border.
People from all over the country come to see these medieval fortresses built with bricks by the Berber and Almoravid tribes, and they are some of the most popular tourist attractions in the country today.
A historic dry-stone mosque with a square minaret capped with five egg finials is one of the town’s most notable structures, a former French Foreign Legion castle and a towering water tower.
Chinguetti has several activities and attractions that are suitable for families, so be sure to include them in your vacation plans.
Address: Chinguetti, Mauritania
Diawling National Park
The Diawling National Park is another of the birding hotspots in Mauritania, and it is a little green enclave that is located deep in the country’s southwestern corner.
Several groups of people made a living off of the park before it was declared a protected area. This area was mostly used for fishing, farming, tourism, and cattle-rearing.
Pelicans, Sudanese golden sparrows, northern pintails, and pink-hued flamingos are just a few of the exotic birds that can be found in this area, making it an excellent place to come to observe the fascinating avian life of West Africa.
In addition, it is well-known for its expansive acacia woods and packs of golden wolves, as well as its variety of riparian habitats, where crocodiles may be found coexisting with ducks and hippos along the muddy banks.
Even though attempts to restore and conserve the park are ongoing, it continues to draw tourists even though few hotels are available to meet their needs.
Address: GP79+J23, Diamer, Mauritania
Check out the gallery that showcases the work of artists from all around Mauritania.
The L-shaped room is less than 500 square feet in total, yet the quality of the work on show is astounding.
Artwork by Mauritania’s best artists fills the space at regular intervals.
To name just a few, there’s Mamadou Anne, whose semi-abstract pieces often feature his trademark creatures emerging, or Désirée Trotha, a photographer who portrays life in the capital city of Mali, Nouakchott, or Nancy Abeiderrahmane, a painter who shows glimpses of desert life and its subtle colors.
Most of the time, the artists whose work is on show at Zeinart are in attendance and happy to answer questions from guests.
Permanent displays of jewelry, masks and other objects from the region are also on display and for sale in the gallery, which features more than just temporary exhibits.
Nouakchott continues to bustle outside the gates of Zeinart’s groomed garden as if it were a completely different world.
Don’t forget to add this attraction to your itinerary, and be prepared to be stunned by the beauty of what it has to offer!
Address: Ilot C، Nouakchott, Mauritania
Iron Ore Train
A ride on the Iron Ore Train is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the desert uniquely.
Public transportation is nonexistent in Mauritania because the roads are typically just dusty and twisting trails. That is unless you count the Iron Ore Train, which is quite the spectacle.
The Iron Ore Train – known as the Train du Desert in Mauritania – has been in service since 1963, transporting ore from the Saharan town of Zouérat to the port of Nouadhibou on the Atlantic coast.
Every day, a 3km-long train departs from Nouadhibou and heads to Choum. There are approximately twenty old, rattling automobiles and wagons in the area.
Taking the train necessitates some preparation. Make sure to pack at least 3 liters of water for each person and a few snacks that are easy to consume.
A few layers of clothes are also necessary for the evenings and nights, which can be significantly colder than the daytime temperatures.
For the 13-hour journey over the harsh desert terrain, you’ll need eye protection like goggles to keep the sand and dust out of your eyes.
So what are you waiting for? Start making an unforgettable travel experience!
Address: Zouérat, Mauritania
Explore the place where the desert meets the savannah.
It is located on the right bank of the Senegal River, near the point where the Gorgol River flows into Senegal.
It is necessary to travel to the southwestern corner of the country to see another instance of urban greenery like the one that can be found in the town of Kaédi.
Even though this is one of the few locations in Mauritania where farming is a remote possibility, it is in no way even close to being considered a productive region.
There is a large marketplace here, just like in most of the country’s border towns.
It is loaded with brightly colored things from the agriculturally rich south and earthy crafts from the desert-like north.
For hundreds of kilometers along the river, the terrain is dominated by vast stretches of barren countryside that are interspersed with little communities.
Kaédi, a compact city consisting of a few roads that converge and branch off from the central market, is one of the major communities that can be found along this stretch of territory.
Domed circular structures and vaulted passageways made the hospital complex look like something from a science fiction novel.
It feels like you have traveled to a different place when visiting Kaédi.
Address: Kaédi, Mauritania
Take the opportunity to walk on the sands of the world’s hottest desert.
The desert occupies one-fourth of the landmass of Africa and is home to a diverse array of arachnid and reptilian animals, in addition to human civilizations.
A significant majority of the population of Mauritania was traditionally nomadic before the widespread drought that afflicted a big region of the African continent in the 1970s and encompassed much of the Sahara desert during that time.
The Arabic word ṣaḥrā, which means “desert,” is the origin of the word Sahara. The adjective Ashar, meaning “desert-like,” is connected to the noun Sahara and describes the region’s reddish hue.
Both sunrise and sunset provide unique perspectives of the sandy landscape; make sure to have lots of water and sun protection with you.
At the oasis or from sporadic herders passing by with their animals, you can gain insight into the way of life and the challenges faced by people who make their home in the desert today.
The path is known as the “Road of Hope” and is where you should go.
The town’s location, which is only a short distance from the border with Mali, has ensured that it has always been a popular stopover for merchants traveling between the coast of West Africa and the interior of the continent.
The city is divided into ten different districts, or quartiers, with the Edelibu Quartier located northeast of the road being the oldest. The lone neighborhood to the south of the road is called Shovia Quartier, built in the 1950s.
Today, it is also recognized as a destination that promotes the “old brousse,” which is the traditional way of life in the countryside that the people who originally inhabited Mauritania lived.
That means you’ll get neighborhoods made up of decaying mud-brick homes, dusty streets, and charming people who live a humble life.
If you are interested in getting a taste of the old nomadic lifestyle that once controlled Mauritania’s regions, then perhaps the windswept town of Néma is the place for you.
Address: Hodh Ech Chargui Region, Mauritania
Living on a spit of desert land that sticks out into the Atlantic Ocean, have a visit here!
Mauritania’s second-largest city, Nouadhibou, is about 480 kilometers north of the country’s capital, Nouakchott.
The fishing industry of Mauritius is centered in the town of Nouadhibou, which serves as its nerve center.
Its docks appear to go on forever and are located along the bustling town’s southern edge, home to a forest of sails and thousands of skiffs bobbing in the water.
These leave the city every day to pursue their quarry in the Atlantic. In contrast, other industries in the city include the processing of iron ore as it is brought in by caravans from mining locations in the desert.
Nouadhibou’s natural mangroves, sun-kissed beaches, green sea, and mild summer weather are just a few of the reasons why the city is a popular tourist destination.
It has many activities geared toward nature lovers, including fishing, kiteboarding, and bird watching.
A few kilometers away from Nouadhibou is the Banc d’Arguin National Park, which has been included on the list of World Heritage Sites.
The rusted colossuses of decrepit liners in Nouadhibou Bay and the setting sun at Cansado on the sea should not be missed.
Address: Dakhlet Nouadhibou, Mauritania
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Learn about the charmingly mysterious atmosphere of this place.
Nouakchott, which means “place of the winds,” is a huge, hazy capital city covered with dust and is crowded with horn-honking traffic and deteriorating low-rise dwellings.
In contrast to the sun-baked Berber caravan communities of the great Sahara, where most travelers are traveling or have been, the city’s earthy vibes and unpretentious attitude may also have something to do with the city’s popularity.
Avenue Gamal Abdel Nasser is a major thoroughfare in Nouakchott that is surrounded by trees and begins at the airport, and travels in a northeasterly direction through the city center.
There are currently over two million people living in this metropolitan area that was originally designed to house only 15,000 people!
These activities invigorate the shanty towns and nomad barrios, while the famous fish market in Nouakchott remains a must-see attraction for visitors.
Every morning, salty pirogues full of fish and seafood come from the Atlantic Ocean. Sellers haggle, and people go about their daily lives.
Buy and try out their fresh fish and seafood as their market’s main goods!
Address: Nouakchott, Mauritania
An old-fashioned ghost town at its finest.
Travelers must travel a long and winding way to reach the dust-covered village of Ouadâne, located at the end of a long and winding road leading from the capital, Nouakchott, all the way into the heart of the Mauritanian Sahara.
Visiting this village’s meandering streets and alleyways will give you a flavor of living in the dry and harsh environment that the desert is known for. Although it is sparsely populated, this town is well worth exploring.
You might run into a Berber nomad selling his handicrafts here and there, which could make for charming keepsakes and presents to take home with you.
Even though this place is technically still inhabited, most of the natives have already packed up and moved on to more welcoming peaks.
When the dusty winds blow and the heat of the midday sun reaches its peak, it is simple to understand why this is the scenario.
Visitors interested in learning more about the nation and its past can try it by visiting the town’s museum.
Address: Ouadâne, Mauritania
This is unquestionably one of the most fascinating and remarkable attractions in Mauritania.
Oualâta is located in the desert and is recognized as a component of the renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Sahara Desert (the ancient Ksours of the Sahara).
To get an authentic taste of Moroccan architecture, explore the centuries-old sandstone frontispieces, which have intricate Berber and Moorish patterns carved into the lintels and mantelpieces, as well as earthy arabesque motifs.
As you enter the town, the red mudbrick homes that are decorated on the interiors and exteriors with beautiful paintings will immediately catch your attention.
There is a little museum, in addition to a library where ancient Islamic manuscripts can be found.
In the surrounding area, there are several rock drawings and archaeological sites.
It would be a shame to depart without first taking a walk around the crumbled old town or gazing up at the towers of the magnificent Oualâta Mosque.
Address: Oualâta, Mauritania
Port de Peche
See fishermen bringing their daily catch in Port de Peche, a beach and lively fishing wharf in the city’s central neighborhood.
A hive of activity erupts around the dock, and the long, sandy beach as fishermen haul in their heavy nets or bring their catch in brightly painted boats.
Porters take the load from boats, emptying crates of fish onto donkey carts or carrying them on their heads, and carry them off to stands where they will be processed, gutted, and filleted before being displayed for further sale or to dry.
Bring your own fishing gear or buy some from one of the businesses that are located nearby if you plan on doing the work yourself.
During the hot days, weekend evenings significantly increase the number of people present here. Due to the presence of strong currents, swimming is not advised.
Check out the largest fishing port in Nouakchott, with pirogues of all shapes, sizes, and colors on display.
Address: Nouakchott, Mauritania
Ride a camel
Experience the never-ending sandscapes in a one-of-a-kind style!
Riding a camel across the desert is a lovely experience that will help you stay rooted in the here and now like few other things can.
You will be surrounded by breathtaking dunes that roll and tumble, and the Bedouins will bring you tea and chat with you the entire time.
Tourists can hire camels and local guides to accompany them on their journeys via the historic commercial routes that existed before European settlement.
This tour can be organized in Chinguetti. And from there, the journey from Chinguetti to the oasis town of Terjit is a distance of one hundred kilometers away.
One of the most unforgettable experiences you will ever have is traveling through the Sahara Desert on a camel and spending the night in a desert camp, sleeping under the stars.
Begin your adventure and travel like the Mauritanians with camels!
A chaotic mix of close-knit alleyways and run-down neighborhoods.
Sélibaby is another city that may be found with its feet firmly planted in the more tropical areas of the African Sahel, deep down on the southern border of the country and near the border with Senegal.
Because of its university and its brand-new regional medical facility, which both received funding from the Chinese government (as did many other recent developments in this region of Africa), the location exudes a certain level of vitality.
It is also an ideal location for continuing trips into the southern half of Mali, which is just east.
It is also in the jungle-side settlements of Senegal, which begin with the town of Bakel, which is located just across the Senegal River to the south.
Address: Guidimaka Region, Mauritania
Find serenity and tranquility in Terjit Oasis.
Relax on a vibrant hand-woven rug while you take in your surroundings, which include a stream, palm trees, and the company of curious people.
As a patch of lush greenery amidst the arid wastelands on the outskirts of the Sahara, it emerges from the dry, cracked desert as a melange of verdant date palms and bubbling streams.
The tents that are located in the oasis provide shade from the scorching heat, making it the ideal location for enjoying a meal or reading a book during a picnic.
You have the option of spending the night in one of the bungalows that are located on the grounds.
You are also welcome to pet the camels in the makeshift zoo that serves as the entry to the oasis.
You can eat at the campground or bring your own food. However, they do offer modest cooked meals.
Travelers who are looking for a unique experience are drawn to this oasis town because of its charming small-town atmosphere.
Address: Terjit, Mauritania
It would be a shame to miss out on the local delicacies when visiting this beautiful country!
Thieboudienne, pronounced Che-bu-jin, is a traditional dish from Senegal that is also eaten in Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Guinea, and The Gambia.
It is possible to trace its roots back to the 16th century. Thieboudienne is said to have been invented or at least popularized by Penda Mbaye, a well-known nineteenth-century cook.
There is only a little evidence of this legendary Penda Mbaye, but there are numerous oral traditions about her.
Fish and rice are the main ingredients in this seaside cuisine.
The dish’s accompanying sauce is flavored with tomatoes that are brilliant and aromatic, and they have a taste that is sweet, rich, and tangy all at the same time.
After you’ve finished this meal with some sweet Mauritanian tea, you’ll know that it’s the kind of meal you’ll want to have again and again.
Give it a shot and see if it satisfies your cravings for some of the local cuisines they’re so proud of!
Fans of architecture shouldn’t miss the opportunity to visit a village that has been abandoned for the most part.
The vernacular architecture of the older buildings makes for an interesting sight, and many of the older homes are still in existence and in relatively good condition.
The usage of different colored quarry stones is something that is unique to this town and adds a dash of color to the otherwise monochromatic atmosphere.
The Tichit minaret is the most prominent structure in the region, and walking is a delightful way to get to know the rest of the town.
If you look up, you will be able to see the soaring tower of the Tichit Mosque, which is crowned with crenulations and inlaid with unique triangular window spaces (it’s possibly the most famous mosque in the country).
Once you’ve had a chance to explore Tichit’s historic city, look at the innovative utilization of colored quarry stones.
Discover a lot more on your visit!
Address: Tagant, Mauritania
Explore the heart of Mauritanian mining!
In terms of population, Zouerate is the most populous city in northern Mauritania.
The climate is characterized by high temperatures and low humidity throughout the year.
The northernmost region of the country, nestled between the massive beige and brown cliffs of the Tiris Zemmour mountains, has long been known for its closeness to some of Africa’s most valuable mineral resources.
A small amount of iron ore was discovered in 1952 near the peak of Kediet ej Jill. Three mine sites, Tazadit, Rouessa, and Fderîck, are mostly utilized for iron ore mining.
This is why there is a continual stream of convoys making their way south to the ports along the coast, as well as why factories and refineries are spitting smoke and dust into the air.
If you visit this town, you’d be better off just taking a peek at the hard-working nature of the people.
Are you still on the fence about visiting Mauritania? Visit why visit Mauritania at least once in your lifetime here.
Address: Tiris Zemmour, Mauritania