Mauritania is a country in Africa according to aristmarketing. Mauritania is a mysterious, little-known country in the Sahara desert where temperatures can soar to 57°C. Much of the country is dry and inhospitable, and many areas are only accessible by four-wheel drive vehicles. In Ouadâne, an oasis hidden behind sand dunes in northern Mauritania, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, there are 3,000 historical manuscripts and a very old mosque. Also in northern Mauritania is the seventh of the holy cities of Islam, Chinguetti. The 800 km of coastline consists of sandy beaches with an amazing variety of bird species, despite the almost complete lack of vegetation. The Parc National du Banc d’Arguin is a stopover for migratory birds heading south. Although Mauritania is one of the poorest countries in the world, offshore oil and gas reserves could bring a better future.
Arriving by plane
The national airline Mauritania Airlines (L6) flies to numerous destinations in Africa and Gran Canaria (Spain). In cooperation with Royal Air Maroc (AT), Lufthansa (LH) offers flights from Frankfurt/M. and Munich via Casablanca to Nouakchott. Tunisair (TU) flies from Frankfurt/M. via Tunis to Nouakchott. Turkish Airlines (TK) flies from Frankfurt/M., Munich, Vienna and Zurich to Nouakchott via Istanbul. Royal Air Maroc (AT) offers flights from Frankfurt/M. and Zurich via Casablanca to Nouakchott.
Frankfurt/M. – Nouakchott: 7 hours 55 minutes; Vienna – Nouakchott: 12 hours 35 minutes; Zurich – Nouakchott: 8 hours 20 minutes (depending on the stopover, the travel times can be considerably longer at the stopovers.)
Arrival by car
Mauritania can be reached by land from Germany, Austria and Switzerland via France, Spain, Morocco and Western Sahara (approx. 5,000 km). Between the Moroccan and Mauritanian borders, an unpaved road leads through 4 km of no man’s land. Because of the danger of mines, travelers should not leave the main runway. A 575 km long paved road connects Dakar (Senegal) with Nouakchott (journey time: approx. 8 hours). The river Senegal has to be crossed by ferry at Rosso. The Route du Mauritanie through Algeria is no longer passable. A paved road leads from Mali to Mauritania. For safety reasons, you are urgently warned against entering via Algeria and the north of Mali.
Arrival by train
There is no cross-border rail traffic.
Arrival by ship
The main port is Nouâdhibou; Nouakchott has a small port. The port of St. Louis (Senegal), close to the Mauritanian border, is also important for Mauritania.
Traveling by plane
The national carrier Mauritania Airlines (L6) offers domestic flights between Nouadhibou and Nouakchott as well as Zouérat.
Traveling by car/bus
The Mauritanian road network covers around 7,500 km. Most roads are sandy tracks. Only the most important connecting roads are paved. The approximately 500 km long route from Nouadhibou through the Banc d’Arguin National Park to Nouakchott should only be traveled with off-road vehicles and if possible with a guide who knows the area and in a convoy. A transit fee is payable at the National Park Office in Nouadhibou; reliable guides are also provided there. Self-drive desert tours should never be attempted without spare parts and adequate supplies of water, food and fuel. Gas stations are sufficiently available on the main roads.
Right-hand traffic/left-hand traffic
Condition of the roads
From Nouakchott you can reach Nouadhibou, Nema and Rosso on the Senegalese border on year-round roads. The connections between Aleg and Kaeddi as well as Akjoujt and Atar are also well developed. The other roads are mostly sandy tracks. Four-wheel drive vehicles are essential for driving on the desert tracks and often also during the rainy season between July and October. Sand drifts, potholes and animals on the road are always to be expected on the desert tracks. Night driving should therefore be avoided entirely.
The road network consists of national roads, marked with the letter N and a number, and regional roads, starting with an R.
Car hire is available in Nouakchott, Nouadhibou and Atar. It is advisable to book a rental car with a driver.
Taxis are readily available in the cities. There are no taximeters. Tipping is customary.
The ADAC foreign emergency call offers ADAC members and holders of ADAC foreign health and accident insurance comprehensive assistance in the event of vehicle breakdowns, traffic accidents, loss of documents and money, and medical emergencies. The emergency number is available around the clock; in the event of damage to the vehicle: Tel. +49 (0)89 22 22 22, in the event of illness: +49 (0)89 76 76 76. In the event of breakdowns or accidents with the rental car, the car rental company should be contacted first.
In addition to the national driver’s license, the international driver’s license is required.
Traveling in the city
Taxis are available in Nouakchott and Nouadhibou but are expensive; they can also be rented for a whole day. Buses are cheap but in poor technical condition.
Locally on the way by train
The only railway line between Nouadhibou and Zouérat is operated by SNIM; it was built for the iron ore mines. People and cars are transported from Nouadhibou to Choum. Departure is daily at 3pm from Nouadhibou; Arrive in Choum around 2am the next day. The onward journey to Atar is possible with bush taxis.