In February 2022, I’ll be main a workforce expedition to Mauritania. Just a few spots left!
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get a visa, price range & prices, COVID-19 shuttle restrictions, cultural info, transferring round, the way to to find lodging, best studies and extra. That is essentially the most complete and epic information for touring to Mauritania to be had on the web.
If I needed to say one reason why to discuss with Mauritania, I’d say that few nations on this planet really feel as uncooked.
Till the center of the 20 th century, when the French had been ruling the rustic, as much as 90% of all Mauritanians had been nonetheless wearing out a nomadic, pastoralist way of life.
That wasn’t a very long time in the past.
Lately, many from that technology are nonetheless alive, so their tribal machine and standard existence are totally visual, no longer handiest in faraway Sahara cities reminiscent of Tidjikja, however even essentially the most cosmopolitan other folks of Nouakchott will put on conventional garments and feature a haima deep into the desolate tract as their moment place of dwelling.
Backpacking round Mauritania, touring just like the locals do, is one of the best ways to witness the unspoiled Mauritanian way of life. If you’re fortunate, you’re going to shuttle in a neighborhood pick-up loaded with camels, or goats within the worst-case situation, and taking a destroy in a Bedouin camp the place you’re going to be introduced some zrig (fermented yogurt) is sort of assured.
In Tidjikja, I as soon as met a Mauritanian who had lived and labored in america for nearly 10 years. He determined to go back to his hometown and, with all of the cash he stored, he purchased tens of camels.
Like within the outdated instances, that is the most productive industry – he stated. He was once one of the most richest males on the town now.
After which there’s the desolate tract. Mauritania is just about two times the scale of France, but lower than 5 million other folks are living unfold throughout the ones intensive arid plains, most commonly composed of breathtaking desolate tract landscapes, but to be explored via the typical traveler.
Mauritania was once at the approach of turning into a mass tourism vacation spot (relatively-speaking) however unlucky occasions associated with the war with the Sahel put an finish to the trade.
Alternatively, Mauritania remains to be there, expecting to be found out via the rawest adventurers.
Search for all of the puts to discuss with? Take a look at my 2-week itinerary for Mauritania
On this Mauritania shuttle information you’re going to to find:
COVID-19 shuttle bans
Perfect time to discuss with
Trip insurance coverage
Most sensible studies
Is it protected
Solo feminine shuttle
Cash, price range & prices
COVID-19 shuttle necessities for Mauritania
Mauritania is these days open for tourism with 2 Coronavirus-related restrictions:
1 – For visiting Mauritania, you should have a unfavourable PCR take a look at issued no later than 72 hours sooner than your arrival.
2 – For exiting Mauritania, you’re going to additionally wish to be in ownership of a unfavourable PCR take a look at, which you’ll be able to do FOR FREE in Nouakchott, on the health facility positioned proper in entrance of the Nationwide Health center Heart. That is the actual location.
For that, it is very important deliver your passport (at the side of a replica) and your flight reserving main points.
Needless to say they handiest do 300 assessments an afternoon, from 8am to 10am, roughly, so you have to be there as early as conceivable. I arrived at 7:15am and was once the forty eighth at the record.
You’ll choose up your effects at the similar day at 8pm, or the day after at 10am.
Upon my arrival in Nouakchott, I met one traveler who had examined sure and all he needed to do was once a 14-day quarantine in any resort of his selection, at his personal expense, after all.
Trip Insurance coverage for Mauritania with COVID-19 protection
IATI Insurance coverage is likely one of the few suppliers that provides complete Coronavirus protection, no longer handiest relating to remedy, but additionally cancellations prices if you examined sure sooner than departure.
And no longer handiest this, however it’s one of the most few insurance coverage suppliers that provides protection for touring to Mauritania.
Readers of In opposition to the Compass can get an unique 5% cut price.
get a vacationer visa for Mauritania
Lately, almost all nationalities can get a visa on arrival in Mauritania, legitimate for 1 month.
The visa prices 55€ or 60USD, and it applies to each airports and land borders.
Some vacationers have just lately reported the immigration officer soliciting for a 20€ further charge, claiming it was once a essential charge to pay for purchasing their passport again.
Clearly, this can be a rip-off and, for those who enjoy a equivalent factor, document it to the government in an instant.
shuttle to Mauritania
Touring to Mauritania via airplane
Nouakchott and Nouadhibou have essentially the most transited global airports, and I selected Nouakchott as a result of flights had been inexpensive.
I flew to Nouakchott by means of Dakar (Senegal) with Air Senegal, however you’ll be able to to find some direct flights from Europe, particularly from France and the Canary Islands (Spain).
Then again, the airport of Atar – capital of the Adrar area, the place maximum touristic websites are – has direct flights from Paris and a few different French towns.
Touring to Mauritania overland
Mauritania stocks a border with:
- shuttle to Mauritania from Morocco (Western Sahara) – A very easy border to go, the access level being the nearest Moroccan town to Nouadhibou. This border, then again, is these days closed because of COVID-19. Right here’s a border crossing document.
- shuttle to Mauritania from Algeria – The Algeria-Mauritania border is these days closed to foreigners because of protection considerations.
- shuttle to Mauritania from Mali – After my travel to Mauritania, I went to Mali however I flew there, for the reason that embassy informed me the land border was once quickly closed because of COVID-19. In customary instances, it’s open however do take a look at the newest safety replace, since maximum embassies declare the border spaces aren’t fully protected, even if all vacationers I met who crossed them stated it was once simply wonderful. Learn my Mali shuttle information
- shuttle to Mauritania from Senegal – An excessively transited border totally open to all vacationers, Rosso being the commonest access level, additionally notorious for its a lot of scams. As a substitute, skilled vacationers suggest going thru Diama.
Perfect time to discuss with Mauritania
Unfold throughout probably the most driest plains within the Sahara, Mauritania may simply be considered one of the freshest nations on Earth, alongside with Sudan and Saudi Arabia, with overwhelmingly killing summers.
For my part, I will’t stand the warmth, so my recommendation is to indisputably keep away from coming in the summertime months, the most productive season for backpacking in Mauritania being from November to March.
I used to be backpacking in Mauritania there within the month of February and, right through the day, the solar was once already beautiful harsh, with temperatures averaging 30-35ºC.
Nights and early mornings had been roughly cold despite the fact that (15ºC), so do deliver some small garments, particularly if you’re making plans to journey the Iron Ore teach.
Trip insurance coverage for Mauritania
For Mauritania, get IATI Insurance coverage:
- Covers shuttle in Mauritania (which is unusual)
- Probably the most few suppliers with complete COVID-19 protection
- They have got quite a lot of other plans for all sorts of vacationers: from households to backpackers
- Excellent for long run journeys (as much as 1 yr).
- Readers of this weblog can get a 5% unique cut price
Most sensible Studies in Mauritania
Driving the Iron Ore teach
Each and every unmarried day of the yr, a 2.5km lengthy teach departs from the faraway Sahara city of Zouerat and travels 700km around the Sahara desolate tract to the coastal town of Nouadhibou, transporting loads of tonnes of iron ore.
As hardcore because it sounds, vacationers can get on best of the teach and shuttle alongside the 18-hour adventure.
This is likely one of the best causes to discuss with Mauritania, and one of the most easiest touring studies I’ve ever had.
Learn right here in regards to the complete enjoy.
Visiting the rawest Sahara villages
As I stated within the creation, Mauritania is a in particular uncooked nation and visiting a number of villages deep within the Sahara seems like touring again in time.
I strongly suggest Tidjikja.
Seeing the most important concentrations of camels ever
From Oman to Sudan, striking out with camels has develop into a very important a part of my travels around the Center East, however I believe the camel marketplace that takes position within the town of Nouakchott has the most important focus of camels I’ve ever witnessed.
Exploring the vastest Sahara
Mauritania is a far-flung land house to jaw-dropping desolate tract situations that just a small bunch of vacationers have had the risk to find.
Helpful books for making plans your travel to in Mauritania
West Africa shuttle information via Lonely Planet
An invaluable e-book for West Africa overlanders – with a bankruptcy totally devoted to Mauritania – however keep in mind that it comprises shuttle guides to 18 other nations, so imagine it a small creation to the area.
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The desolate tract and the drum (Mbarfek Ould Beyrouk)
That is the primary Mauritanian novel to ever be translated into English and I believe it’s the one one up to now, that’s why I purchased it.
The tale is ready a Bedouin lady who falls in love with a stranger town man and all of the penalties after her tribe came upon.
To be very truthful, the e-book is somewhat tacky however what I favored that it will provide you with many insights into how tribal other folks are living in Mauritania.
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Details about Mauritania, its tradition, other folks and faith
Mauritania is the place Maghreb meets Africa
Nestled between Morocco and Senegal, Mauritania is a chaotic mixture of each Maghrebis and sub-Saharan Africans, visual no longer handiest in other folks’s facial options but additionally of their meals and the day-to-day lifetime of many Mauritanians.
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In most cases talking, Mauritanians classify their society into 3 major teams:
- White Moors (Beidane) – The dominant ethnic workforce, which refers to these Maghrebi-looking individuals who have lighter pores and skin, and most commonly have Arab or Berber descent.
- Black Moors (Haratin) – Descendants of black slaves who lived within the Maghreb.
- Sub-Saharan ethnic teams – Mauritanians who belong to African ethnicities from other portions of West Africa.
One thing you want to learn about Mauritania is that there’s a beautiful tangible structural racism, visual in all sides of existence. Mauritanians have a in particular conventional society, a lot of them both have a tribal mindset or are living below a tribal machine, which is why black ethnic teams are steadily handled as second-class voters, have decrease salaries and pursue low-qualified jobs, from area servants to fishermen. ‘’You are going to by no means see a White Moor cleansing homes’’ – some locals informed me, as though they all the time felt the wish to recognize to me they’re the dominant workforce. I didn’t love it.
Hassaniya is the native language
Hassaniya, which is numerous Maghrebi Arabic, is the primary language in Mauritania, and within the Western Sahara as smartly.
However, languages such Pulaar, Soninke and Wolof also are identified as nationwide languages, and they’re spoken via black African Mauritanians, relying on their ethnicity.
It was once a French colony, so French is how you can cross, however English isn’t that helpful
As a former French Colony (from the overdue nineteenth century to 1960), French is broadly utilized in Mauritania, particularly in Nouakchott and Nouadhibou.
Out of doors of those two towns, then again, handiest extremely skilled other folks or other folks running in hospitality talk fluent French.
English, nonetheless, was once infrequently spoken via someone – no longer even in touristic auberges – and that was once a large drawback for me, since my French is excellent sufficient to make myself understood however I will’t have deep conversations.
It’s a Muslim nation
99.9% of the inhabitants in Mauritania are Sunni Muslims, maximum of them being extremely dedicated to Islam.
You additionally wish to know that there is not any freedom of faith and that atheism is punished with the loss of life sentence.
Most of the people put on conventional garments
What I beloved about Mauritania is that everyone wears conventional garments, even younger other folks from the capital.
In most cases, males put on a large blue get dressed named daraa and canopy their head with a turban named shesh, which principally approach shawl in Arabic.
I did purchase the entire set in a neighborhood marketplace in Nouakchott and didn’t pay greater than 6€, however I needed to cut price.
Girls get dressed in a standard colourful get dressed named melhafa.
Leblouh remains to be a large deal in Mauritania
Leblouh refers back to the custom of force-feeding ladies when they’re very younger, most often in the ones puts the place weight problems is at once associated with good looks, so they may be able to get married previous.
This outdated apply has been utilized in many African nations however in Mauritania, it’s nonetheless an excessively large factor. A couple of younger native males talked to me about this actual subject, announcing it’s a broadly used addiction. You are going to temporarily understand that the majority Mauritanian ladies are curvy.
Slavery in Mauritania
You most likely heard of Mauritania being house to the remaining slavery stronghold on this planet and, to a point, it may be true. Slavery in Mauritania was once handiest abolished in 1981, however it didn’t develop into a real felony offense till 2007. In keeping with global media, then again, slavery nonetheless exists. Slaves in Mauritania had been all the time black Africans serving their White Moor masters. Whilst you shuttle within the north of Mauritania, you’re more likely to see Bedouin households with black servants. The ones servants had been born and raised amongst the ones Bedouins however are handled as second-class members of the family, whose major function in existence is being their servants. International media will inform you that the ones are precise slaves, whilst native Mauritanians declare the ones individuals are unfastened to go away however they don’t as a result of they’re uneducated, that’s the one existence they know and, principally, they’re OK with it. Make your personal judgment.
Meals in Mauritania
If I ever shuttle again to Mauritania, meals gained’t most likely be the explanation.
Mauritania is most commonly composed of arid plains and it’s a historically nomadic society, in order that they by no means had both the elements or the inducement to have an elaborate delicacies.
However, since Mauritania is like a cultural hub with other folks from Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa, you’ll be able to to find some meals selection, however you want to search for it.
Something that shocked me about backpacking in Mauritania is that it may be tricky to seek out meals, cooked meals I imply.
In lots of cities and villages, there weren’t any eating places, or even in a comparatively sized-town like Tidjikja, there was once just one, and the day I went there, they stated I needed to order 3 to 4 hours upfront. On the next day to come, I did cross there early within the morning, however it by no means opened.
Don’t panic, then again. Typically, maximum auberges have a day-to-day dish.
Issues you’re more likely to devour on your travel to Mauritania:
Macaroni – Common, greasy pasta with greens and meat. That’s what they fed me maximum days.
Thieboudienne – That was once my favourite. It’s a standard Senegalese dish consisting of a brown, skinny rice, fish and spices.
Moroccan cous-cous – I say Moroccan as a result of that’s what they name it. Simply common cous-cous however not anything related to those you to find in Tunisia or Morocco.
Camel meat – Lots of the above dishes will steadily include camel meat.
Tea tradition in Mauritania
Tea is an very important a part of Mauritanian existence, and an emblem of hospitality.
They have got it similarly to neighbouring Morocco however the ritual takes longer and so they serve it with numerous foam, like within the Western Sahara.
Their tea is excellent, closely concentrated however they take such a lot time making ready it, averaging 20-25 mins, if doing it proper.
Right through the primary few days of your Mauritania travel, it’s a lovely cool procedure to look at however then, while you stumble upon random individuals who need to invite you for tea, be expecting to waste 40 or 45 mins of your time. As a result of this, when I overlooked the sundown and were given very disappointed.
Alcohol in Mauritania
Mauritania is a dry nation and alcohol intake is exactly forbidden.
Is it protected to shuttle to Mauritania?
For a extra complete research, learn my Mauritania protection information
If you happen to glance into the FCDO recommendation, you’re going to see that each one Mauritania is a huge NO-GO zone.
Mauritania belongs to the Sahel, a area that spreads throughout Mauritania, Mali, Niger and Chad – amongst others – and one of the crucial turbulent areas on Earth, as of late house to insurrection teams like Al Qaeda Maghreb (AQIM) and lots of different equivalent organizations.
Actually that Mauritania has in fact suffered from unlucky incidents that ended with the untimely tourism trade, however it’s additionally true that, because of an excellent stage of safety, the location in Mauritania has remained strong for a few years.
In this day and age, Mauritania is a protected vacation spot to shuttle.
There are some spaces close to the border with Mali and Algeria the place safety can also be a subject matter however that’s too faraway to head anyhow.
Mauritania shuttle tip: Convey 20-30 copies of your visa & passport
If you end up touring round Mauritania, you’re going to undergo never-ending checkpoints by which all foreigners should sign up for their very own safety. In the ones checkpoints, the gendarmerie or army will ask you for a fiche, a file containing a replica of your passport and visa. If you happen to don’t have one, they are going to make you get off the automobile and write down your entire knowledge, losing you numerous time. Subsequently, do deliver a number of copies (30, a minimum of). I like to recommend printing one unmarried web page with a replica of your visa and passport, at the side of your native telephone quantity, if any.
Solo feminine shuttle in Mauritania
Mauritania is a patriarchal, conservative, Muslim nation, so a lady’s enjoy will fluctuate very much from a person’s.
Alternatively, I haven’t met but a feminine traveler who has been backpacking in Mauritania via herself, so I will’t give very particular details about it. You probably have visited Mauritania as a solo girl and wish to let us know about your enjoy, kindly let me know.
In response to feminine studies in different nations, however, listed below are a couple of observations:
- Do be expecting some occasional harassment, however not more than fashionable locations, reminiscent of Egypt.
- If you happen to don’t have numerous solo shuttle enjoy in Muslim nations, it is strongly recommended to first shuttle to extra touristic nations reminiscent of Jordan or Morocco
- Touring in Mauritania as a solo feminine will have to no longer be very other from touring in Pakistan or Sudan
Cash, price range and prices
In Mauritania, they use the Mauritanian Ouguiya (MRU) and, roughly:
In 2018, Mauritania changed their foreign money via introducing a brand new Ouguiya with the similar worth divided via 10.
The issue is that the majority of other folks nonetheless assume within the outdated foreign money, and it’s really easy to get perplexed. From time to time, it’s tricky to bet by which foreign money they’re speaking about, particularly as a result of every so often it appears to be like both too reasonable or too pricey, however Mauritania is an excessively reasonable nation, so all the time opt for the inexpensive choice 😉
Bank cards and ATMs
You are going to infrequently discover a position the place you’ll be able to pay via card. Do all the time have money.
Société Generale is the preferred financial institution amongst foreigners for taking flight cash. I believe it’s the one one who accepts global bank cards. You’ll to find slightly a couple of branches in each Nouakchott and Nouadhibou.
Out of doors of those two major towns, ATMs are scarce, so take into account to deliver sufficient money.
There are a number of change workplaces within the town heart (Capital house). Then again, I exchanged in lots of auberges at a suitable charge.
How a lot does it value to shuttle in Mauritania?
Costs of the most common issues:
- Complete meal in a neighborhood position: 150MRU
- Complete meal in fancier puts: from 250-350MRU
- Foods in auberges: 200-300MRU
- Speedy meals (sandwich): 70MRU
- Espresso in a neighborhood position: 40MRU
- Espresso in a posh café: 80MRU
- Bottle of water (75cl): 10MRU
- Native shared taxi inside Nouakchott: 10MRU
- Bus from Nouakchott to Tidjikja: 700MRU
- Native automobile from Tidjikja to Atar: 700MRU
- Native automobile from Atar to Chinguetti: 200MRU
Backpacking in Mauritania – Reasonable day-to-day price range
35€ an afternoon
to find lodging in Mauritania
In Mauritania, there are lots of lodging choices however, out of doors of the primary towns, they most commonly encompass elementary campsites and auberges. Additionally they include a big number of nonsensical costs. After I paid 20€ for a creepy hut and the next day to come I paid 4€ for the same high quality room.
In Nouakchott, if you’re the cheap traveler, I strongly suggest Triskell Hostel, run via Sebastien, a French guy who has been residing in Mauritania for a very long time.
Additionally, in Nouakchott, you’ll be able to to find resorts appropriate for any pockets.
Out of doors of Nouakchott, you’re going to infrequently to find anything else on the web.
Underneath is a listing of probably the most puts I stayed at:
- Tidjikja – Auberge Caravane du Wasteland – Very elementary rooms with personal rest room. 1,000MRU for a double room
- Terjit – Chez Jamel – A tended camp. It’s beautiful elementary however it’s smartly looked after. 300MRU for a tent
- Ouadane – Auberge Vasque – That is the most productive position I stayed in Mauritania. Blank, the one auberge with scorching water and a relaxed bed. 1,200MRU for a double room
- Chinguetti – Auberge Zarga – Extraordinarily elementary and really grimy however the proprietor appears to be one of the most few other folks on the town who’s used to coping with vacationers. 150MRU for a dorm-bed
Zouerat – Tiris Lodge – Fundamental resort and dear however no longer many choices in Zouerat. 1,500MRU for a double room
- Nouadhibou – Lodge Esma – A correct, trendy resort. Best for many who arrive in Nouadhibou after using the Iron Ore Teach. 2,000MRU for a double room with breakfast
For a extra detailed rationalization of these types of puts, don’t omit to test my Mauritania shuttle itinerary
transfer round Mauritania
Touring round Mauritania with a rented automobile
If I ever discuss with Mauritania once more, I can hire a 4×4. In fact, one of the most issues I feel sorry about about visiting Mauritania is that I didn’t get deep into the desolate tract. I imply, I did discuss with faraway Sahara cities, however didn’t get a long way clear of civilization and major roads.
You’ll simply hire a automobile in Nouakchott, or thru your most well-liked information/excursion operator.
Through the best way, handiest skilled drivers will have to strive exploring the depths of the Mauritanian Sahara.
Touring round Mauritania via public transportation
Sooner than touring to Mauritania, I believed that transferring between Sahara cities can be difficult however it seems that each one you want is a shit load of endurance.
OMG, you’ll be able to’t consider what number of hours I wasted looking forward to a bus/automobile to go away.
In most cases, native 4×4 pick-ups is the most well liked approach of transportation for transferring between Sahara cities. They are compatible as much as 8 other folks and depart as soon as they’re complete, but if a city is simply too faraway, it’s going to take a couple of days to fill it up.
I in fact sought after to visit Tichit from Tidjikja. Upon my arrival in Tidjikja, the very first thing I did was once attempt to prepare the native pick-up to take me there. The automobile wasn’t complete but, so I waited for another day however not anything, they nonetheless didn’t have sufficient passengers:
Possibly the following day, or possibly no longer – they stated.
Within the hypothetical case I controlled to get to Tichit, there is also the likelihood that I needed to wait there for 3-4 further days to come back again to Tidjikja, which might suggest spending greater than per week in an excessively faraway house with no longer a lot to do and the place no one spoke English, so I handed.
That is how I moved between cities:
- Nouakchott to Tidjikja – Native buses depart early within the morning from Carrefour Madrid. It’s a 12-hour adventure.
- Tidjikja to Terjit – Native pick-ups depart nearly day-to-day, however you want to organize it at the day sooner than. It’s an epic journey over sand dunes. 10-hour adventure.
- Terjit to Atar – An area pick-up leaves early within the morning however I controlled to join a journey after looking forward to greater than 2 hours.
- Atar to Chinguetti – A couple of pick-ups run day-to-day. Simple.
- Chinguetti to Ouadane – First, you want to take a non-public taxi to the Ouadane intersection and wait there for a automobile to cross via. The intersection is actually in the course of the desolate tract, with out a web carrier and 30km from the closest civilization. I waited for like 3 hours.
- Ouadane to Zouerat – An excessively lengthy journey. First, you should prepare a neighborhood pick-up that may take you to Atar, which most often leaves at 7am. As soon as in Atar, I needed to look ahead to about 5 hours for a bus to leave to Zouérat.
Web and connectivity
In most cases, web is beautiful unhealthy in Mauritania, each Wi-Fi and web knowledge, even in Nouakchott.
Out of doors of Nouakchott and Nouadhibou I by no means discovered Wi-Fi.
Web knowledge labored OK in Atar, Tidjikja and Zouerat.
In Ouadane and Terjit, it was once nonexistent. Chinguetti was once wonderful to ship emails and easy surfing.
If you want to obtain anything else, do it in your house nation.
I purchased a Mauritel SIM card and you’ll be able to purchase further knowledge and calls in any common grocery retailer around the nation.
Additional information for touring in Mauritania
Understand that for all of the puts to discuss with & issues to do, you should take a look at my Mauritania 2-week itinerary
Backpacking in Mauritania is beautiful protected however I like to recommend you learn this research about protection
If you wish to journey the Iron Ore teach, right here you’ll be able to examine my enjoy + all guidelines
Going to Mali? Take a look at my whole Mali shuttle information and 7-day shuttle itinerary
Additionally learn: Is Mali bad?