Unspoiled desert landscapes, remote Sahara towns and the most epic train world in the world.
Nestled between the Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa, Mauritania is a destination filled with unimaginable surprises waiting to be explored by the most adventurous travelers.
For all the practical information, don’t forget to check my Mauritania travel guide
Capital – Nouakchott
Population – 4.4 million (135th)
Language – Hassaniya, a variety of Maghrebi Arabic but French is widely spoken as well
All nationalities can get a visa on arrival, which costs 55€ or 60USD and is valid for 1 month.
When to go
Winter, from November to March. The rest of the year is just too hot to travel.
The security situation has improved dramatically in Mauritania and today, most of the country is extremely safe, the only dangerous areas being too far away to even reach them.
For more information, read: Is it safe to travel to Mauritania?
Traveling with insurance is a must, especially in times of pandemic, and I strongly recommend SafetyWing, one of the few insurance providers with COVID-19 coverage:
- Medical expenses if you get sick
- Free testing if prescribed by a doctor
Top experiences in Mauritania
- Riding the Iron Ore Train – Crossing 700km of the Sahara on top of a cargo train is possible. Check my Iron Ore Train travel guide
- Visiting the rawest Sahara villages – Mauritania is a particularly raw country and visiting several villages deep in the Sahara feels like traveling back in time
- Seeing the largest concentrations of camels ever – I think the camel market that takes place in the city of Nouakchott has the largest concentration of camels I have ever witnessed.
- Exploring the vastest Sahara – Mauritania is a far-flung land home to jaw-dropping desert scenarios that only a small bunch of travelers have had the chance to discover.
For more things to do, check my Mauritania 2-week itinerary
How to move around
Public transportation – I exclusively traveled by public buses and local cars and it’s completely doable, but you need a lot of time and patience.
Own vehicle – The best way to explore the country but previous experience in driving a 4WD through the sand is required.
For more information, check the transportation section of my travel guide
How to find accommodation
Outside of the capital Nouakchott, most accommodation options consist of basic campsites and auberges.
In Nouakchott, however, you can find hotels suitable for any wallet.
Outside of Nouakchott, you will rarely find anything on the internet. In my Mauritania itinerary, you can see all hotels and auberges where I stayed at.