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About Mauritania

Mauritania is situated in north-western Africa. Bordering Senegal, Mali, Algeria and the Western Sahara desert. With beautiful desert and ocean landscapes, and warm and friendly people, Mauritania budget travel offers an unforgettable experience.

Mauritania Budget Travel

Below is a list of Mauritania's top destinations, click on the link to view all details and tours.

Fast Facts

Currency
Mauritania Ouguiya (MRO)

Dialing Code
222

AIDS

Mauritania HIV/AIDS precautions include the following:
• Don't ever share needles or syringes
• Practice safe sex at all times
• Equipment should be sterilized
• If you require self-administered injections, take an adequate supply of your own needles
• Avoid tattoos, acupuncture treatment or body piercing

Airports

Mauritania major airports include:
• Atar International Airport
• Nouadhibou International Airport
• Nouakchott International Airport

Birdlife

With ocean and desert habitats, and a 541 species to be found, Mauritania birdlife is rich and diverse. One of the country's key birding hotspots is Banc de Arguin National Park, as well as Araguib Jahfa, Wagchogda, Wad Initi, Aftout es Saheli and Diawling National Park. Of the 541 recorded species, 196 are endemic, while 294 are migratory including 185 Palearctic migrants.

Conservation

Mauritania conservation is vital to protect the country's fragile ecosystems, wildlife, birdlife and habitats. With major environmental concerns including desertification, hunting, land abuse and over fishing, many species are either extinct or on the brink of extinction. Sahara oryx are extinct in the wild, while African gerbil, African slender-snouted crocodile, and barbary sheep are highly endangered.

Culture

Mauritania cultures include the following:
• Food and drink plays a key role in social gatherings
• Art and jewellery is an important cultural heritage
• Music has progressed from traditional to a more modern approach
• Traditions and customs have a strong Islamic influence
• Literature includes oral storytelling and poetry

Customs

Mauritania allows for free import of the following for travelers of 18 years:
• 200 cigarettes, 5 cigars or 1 lb. of tobacco
• 50g of perfume and 1/4 liter of eau-de-Cologne
• 1 still camera, 1 cine camera and 1 wireless set
• 1 projector

Health

As a third world country in the midst of major conflict and with a large expanse of desert, Mauritania health care is very below standard and travellers are advised to take basic health precautions to ensure a healthy and risk-free travel experience. Travel insurance is essential, and a first aid box with basic medicine and supplies is highly recommended.

Innoculations

Mauritania inoculations include the following:
• Hepatitis A & B
• Typhoid
• Yellow fever
• Meningococcus
• Polio
• Rabies
• Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR)
• Tetanus-diphtheria

Languages

Mauritania languages include:
• Arabic (official)
• Wolof (official)
• Pulaar
• Soninke
• French

Malaria

Mauritania malaria medication includes the following:
• Mefloquine (Lariam)
• Doxycycline
• Atovaquone/proguanil (Malarone)

Money

Mauritania money and banking information is as follows:
• Mauritania Ouguiya (MRO) and khoums is the official currency in the country
• Banks include Bank of Mauritania, HSBC Bank and Mauritanian Commercial Bank
• Foreign currencies and travellers cheques can be exchanged at banks, bureaux de change and airports
• ATMs do not accept local currency so you will not be able to draw cash - be prepared and bring currency to exchange such as US Dollars

People

Mauritania people include the following groups:
• Mixed Moor/Black 40%
• Moor 30%
• Black 29%
• French 1%

Phrase

Mauritania local phrases in Arabic include the following:
• Greeting (peace be with you) - As-salam alaykom
• I am well (praise God) - al-Hamdo lillah
• How is the family? - KÃf al-usra?
• Yes - Ay

Plants

Aside from a belt of steppe with Acacia, palm and Commiphora trees as well as grasses and other scrub in the south and Sahel areas, Mauritania plants are sparse and almost no vegetation can be found as most of the country lies within the Sahara desert. There are some plants which can survive the desert conditions, with large underground root systems which search out water from deep underground as well as fleshy leaves which retain water.

Population

A July 2006 United Nations estimate puts the Mauritania population at 3,177,388.

Religion

Mauritania religion includes the following groups:
• Sunni Muslim 99.84%
• Christian 16%

Safety Tips

Mauritania safety tips include the following:
• Avoid travel to the border areas near Mali, Algeria and Western Sahara
• Be on guard at all times and avoid walking alone, especially after dark
• Keep valuables secure and out of sight at all times
• Avoid large crowds and demonstrations which may turn violent
• Kidnappings and terrorist attacks have been known to happen

Transport

Mauritania local transport options include:
• Car
• Train
• Bus
• Taxi

Travel Books

Mauritania recommended travel books include:
• Countries & Cities of the World: Mauritania by Ign Mra
• Mauritania: Cultures of the World by Ettagale Blauer and Jason Laure
• Mauritania Map by ITMB Publishing
• Morocco Handbook: With Mauritania by A. McLachlan and Keith McLachlan
• Mauritania in Photographs by Joseph E Murphy

Visa Requirements

Mauritania visa requirements are as follows:
• All foreign nationals require a visa to visit Mauritania
• Tourist 2 month single entry visa costs £56.00
• A valid passport of 6 months minimum is required
• Reference letter from company or person you are staying with is needed
• Proof of return flights, hotel booking or group travel is required

What To Buy

What to buy for Mauritania safaris:
• Sleeping bag and camping mattress if you are on an overlanding tour
• Backpack plus a good quality moneybag to keep valuables
• Mauritania travel guide plus a French phrase book and a good map
• First aid kit with basic supplies and malaria medication
• Travel pack with wet wipes, toilet roll and waterless hand wash

What To Pack

What to pack for Mauritania safaris:
• Camera, batteries and spare film or memory as well as binoculars
• Long-sleeve, loose, lightweight clothing with skirts and t-shirts covering shoulders for women as well as headscarves
• Comfortable walking shoes and sandals
• Sunglasses, sunscreen, sunhat and swimming costume
• Warm jacket for cooler months

When To Go


• The best time to visit Mauritania is from November to March When to go to Mauritania:
• Temperatures during these months average 13°C and 29°C
• Between April and October temperatures average 40°C - 50°C
• The south has a rainy season from July to October
• The rest of the country has almost no rain

Wildlife

Mauritania wildlife is typical of a predominantly desert country, with a number of animals to be found including foxes, jackals and hyenas and camels as well as marine species such as dolphins, sharks, mullets, sea breams, skates and groupers. Wildlife populations have shown a marked decrease however, and hunting as well as habitat loss are a major threat to the country's game species.

 

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Left quoteThe highlight of my trip had to be Gweru in Zimbabwe, it was my idea of paradise. So much to do there with the animals and the location of it was just beautiful!Right quote

Anne B (27) from Ireland

Left quoteThe trip was great! A very relaxed ride in a mokoro, followed by camping in the Okavango Delta and watching the animals on the islands was awesome!Right quote

Michael & Silke from Germany

Left quoteI loved every millisecond of the entire trip... Guess what I did in Swakopmund? I skydived out of a plane - woohoo was that AWESOME :-)Right quote

JoJo E (61) from Switzerland

Left quoteFinally home and had a great time…. I loved the shark diving, Sossusvlei and Himba people. Saw Lions, a Leopard, Elephants, Giraffes, everything really! Thanks for…Right quote

John E from Canada

Left quoteI did not believe in god till i visited Chobe National Park.Right quote

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