Mauritania Quick Guide

Mauritania Travel Guide is the ultimate reference for all Mauritania travel and tourism enthusiasts. Mauritania is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world with only around 4 million people inhabiting its environs. Mauritania is also one of the most diverse, with different cultures, traditions and languages. In addition, it also boasts some of the best beaches in the Indian Ocean and its coral reefs are considered one of the best in the world.

Mauritania, officially the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, is a republic in Northwest Africa. It is highly bordered on the West, Western Sahara to its north, Western Egypt to its south, Algeria to its northeast, Mali to its southwest, and Senegal to its southwest. Getting a visa for Mauritania can be quite difficult, but it is possible to get a visitor visa easily if you do your homework, visit the proper channels, and follow the correct laws and regulations. For instance, foreigners who own businesses in Mauritania or those who plan to start one should consult with the government before travelling to Mauritania.

Before traveling to Mauritania one should be in possession of the appropriate visa. There are three types of visas available for travellers visiting Mauritania: single entry visa, multiple entry visa, and renewable visa. To apply for a visa for a single visit, you will need to visit the nearest consulate of your destination country. On the other hand, if you wish to visit Mauritania multiple times for example, you will have to apply for an EH visa. Furthermore, if you intend to stay in Mauritania for more than six months you will require a visa for the country, and for that, you will require an EH visa as well as a three-year passport from the country of origin.

If you are travelling to Mauritania, you will need to purchase a visa before travelling to Mauritania either by entering through the ferry at Triquetra or via a travel agent. Once you arrive in Mauritania, you will have three options for entering the country: by foot, by vehicle, or on foot. A lot of tourists often make the mistake of trying to drive their car through Mauritania. However, driving in Mauritania is against the law and you could get into serious trouble. Therefore, it is very important to carry out adequate travel insurance such as a no-claims bonus travel insurance plan when you are travelling to Mauritania.

Travelling around Mauritania is made much easier with the help of a personal vehicle hire (a car) or a tourmaline motorcycle-hire service. Tourmaline motorcycle-hire services offer services to and from the airport in Mauritania and to and from the national capital of Mauritania. These services are not available all day, however during peak periods, they are extremely useful, as it gives you a reliable way to get around Mauritania. A one day trip around Mauritania would not be such a bad idea provided that you had the money and prepared for the expense.

If you are looking for an inexpensive way to travel around Mauritania you can try the iron ore train. Mauritania is well known for its rich mineral deposits including iron, gold, silver and copper. The iron ore train is one of the cheapest ways to travel around Mauritania as well as being a memorable experience. On your journey you will stop at stations where you can collect your items to take back to your place of origin.

One of the most popular activities on the iron ore train is riding the zouerat. The zouerat is an old cart, which is still used regularly in Mauritania. The zouerat can cost up to 200 Euros, which makes it a very expensive journey. However, on top of the cost it offers some amazing scenery and some of the most unique experiences you can expect to have. A typical Mauritania holiday includes visiting Baidu, the Elephant Forest, Flic-Flac, Titizada and Soumara. You can also try a trek to Lake Maute, a popular spot for swimmers.

A popular activity that you can enjoy on your trip to Mauritania is riding in a rowing boat. There are several companies in Mauritania who will rent you a rowing boat for the day or week depending on the size of the group and how many passengers there are. If you visit Mauritania from the arid region of the north, you will find that the best times to visit are in the winter months from October to April. This is because the climate in Mauritania during these months is extremely dry and hot.

What vaccinations do I need?

Up to date information for vaccinations before you travel to Mauritania are available from the NHS Fit for Travel website.

Is it safe to travel?

Best time to visit?

Mauritania is mostly hot and dry with little rain, though the coast is tempered by tradewinds. The winter season of November to March is the best time to visit Mauritania, when it's warm but not scorching, though nights can be chilly

Do I need a Visa?

You need a visa to enter Mauritania. Visas are issued on arrival. The visa issuing process at the border can take several hours. Visas can no longer be obtained from the Mauritanian Embassy in London.

See which forms you may need for entry into Mauritania.

What currency do i need?

The official currency of Mauritania is the Mauritanian Ouguiya (MRU). If you're looking to transfer or spend money in Mauritania you can grab amazing Mauritanian Ouguiya deals via (GBP to MRU).

What about the wildlife?

This aquatic life includes dolphins, sharks, octopus, tuna, mackerel, and many others. Mauritania is also home to the Addax, a grayish brown mammal with spiral horns that slant upward. Due to the ever increasing drought, the Addax is on the verge of extinction. This extinction is also caused from the unrestricted hunting in this country. One of the most awe inspiring mammals that live here is the cheetahCheetah. The Cheetah is known for being the fastest animal on the planet and lives in open areas that are littered with patches of vegetation. Since Gazelles are its main prey, a cheetah can usually be found in the same general area. One of the most abundant creatures that inhabit Mauritania is birds. This country has been a bird lover's paradise for many years. Some of the most popular birds in this country include pelicans, cormorants, and herons. The reason for the large number of birds to populate this country is because Mauritania lies in the migration path of hundreds of species of birds. Large mammals such as lions, monkeys, and foxes are also found here, but in a very concentrated are due to the lack of food and water available to these mammals.

What is the traditional food?

Arabic food? Thieboudienne (Cheb-u-jin), a coastal dish of fish and rice, which is considered the national dish of Mauritania. It is served in a white and red sauce, usually made from tomatoes. Méchoui, whole roasted lamb. Spiced fish.

What Languages are spoken?

The languages of Mauritania mainly consist of various Afroasiatic languages, including: Zenaga-Berber, Tamasheq-Berber, Hassaaniya Arabic and Standard written Arabic. French is also used due to colonial influence. Some ethnic minorities speak Niger-Congo languages. You can learn some basic Arabic before you travel to Mauritania and really impress the locals!

How much do you tip?

The currency in Mauritania is the Mauritanian Ouguiya (Restaurants No tip expected at basic places; leave between 10-15% in more upscale places. Taxis Loose change is appreciated on short trips. Guide & Driver Tips are always expected; begin around 10%, more for multiday trips or if service has been particularly good.).

Disclosure: This content is reader-supported. We may receive a small commission from affiliate links you follow from this Mauritania travel guide.

Useful Numbers

  • Police: 117
  • Ambulance: 101
  • Fire: 118
  • UK Embassy: 020 7008 1500

Time Difference

The GMT time difference is -1 hours

Travel Apps

Grab a travel app or two

Learn Arabic

Learn some Arabic before your trip to Mauritania

Mauritania Guidebook

Stay informed before, during and after your trip to Mauritania by buying a guidebook.