Mauritania: Travel/Tourist Information Guide
Mauritania, the eleventh largest country in Africa, is comparable in size to Egypt. It is in the Maghreb region of western North Africa, bordered by the Atlantic on the west, the Western Sahara in the north, and Algeria, Mali and Senegal. Around 90% of the land is inside the Sahara Desert and so most of the population is concentrated in the south where there is slightly more rainfall. The capital and largest city is Nouakchott on the coast. The majority of the population depends on agriculture and livestock. The terrain is generally flat, with vast plains broken by occasional ridges and a series of sandstone plateaus.
A variety of African languages are spoken, with French and Modern Standard Arabic also being widely used. The currency is the Mauritian rupee, with 100 Mauritian rupees equal to 2.85 USD.
There are two international airports, Nouakchott International Airport in the middle of the country’s Atlantic coast and Nouadhibou Airport also on the coast further north near the border with the Western Sahara. There is a length of 450 km of motorway connecting Nouakchott to Nouadhibou. On other roads in the interior, travel is hazardous with little or no roadside assistance available. The rainy season lasts from July to September and the best time to visit Mauritania is between March and June when the weather is generally calm. All foreign travellers need a visa.
Visitors will find plenty to do in Mauritania’s capital city, including browsing in the many souks or markets and visiting the National Museum which has a large archaeology and ethnography collections.