Today, we are visiting Mauritania, officially the Islamic Republic of Mauritania. It is an oil-exporting country. Mauritania features a cultural mixture of Islamic culture and western sub-Saharan Africa culture. This blog mostly addresses the need for guidance for Nouakchott's best places, the largest city, and capital of Mauritania. Where is Nouakchott? Being one of Sahel's largest cities, Nouakchott is located in the western part of Mauritania. The waters of the Atlantic Ocean wash its soil. In this write-up, I will touch upon themes like Nouakchott weather, Instagrammable places in the city, one of the best Nouakchott hotels, and the sites with the most liked Instagram photo.
Here are 12 Instagrammable sites in Nouakchott:
1. Downtown City
The Downtown of the city is the leading business center of Nouakchott. It is also called Capitale by the Nouakchott people. The population of the city is more than one million people. You will find many modern buildings in Downtown. Tourists will experience heavy traffic, a large mass of people, and the busy city life's hustle and bustle. Despite being a large business center, people are amicable and kind to tourists seeking help or advice. You will find many old Mercedes-Benz cars, such as 190e's from the 1990s.
2. Bibliotheque Nationale de Mauritanie
Bibliotheque Nationale de Mauritanie is the national library of Mauritania. This library is located in the National Museum of Mauritania in Nouakchott. It has more than 40 staff members and a collection of about 10,000 volumes. It is an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone, meaning that you will also get to see the national library by visiting the National Museum of Mauritania. In the National Museum of Nouakchott, you will see the collection of archaeological and ethnographical items and two galleries showcasing the country's cultural pride.
3. Arguin Island
In a close distance to Nouakchott, you will find the island of Arguin. It is located in the bay of Arguin in Banc d'Arguin National Park. It is about 12 square kilometers island, surrounded by massive reefs, making it very dangerous for ships. It used to be called a Portuguese fortress back in the 15th – 17th century. It is one of the less-explored destinations in Mauritania, making you feel unique and cool to explore this Instagrammable place.
4. Banc d'Arguin National Park
Located on the Atlantic Ocean's coasts, Banc d'Arguin National Park is about two hours driving distance from Nouakchott. It features sand dunes, small islands (including Arguin), and swamps in the coastal areas. Due to its importance, this national park is noted in the UNESCO World Heritage List. It is a nesting spot for various migratory birds during winter. You will find a lot of Instagrammable spots within the park, thanks to its fascinating natural attractions. With its exceptional natural value, this national park merits your interest and visit.
5. Nouakchott beach
Considering Mauritania's hot and dry weather, Nouakchott beach is the main tourist attraction in summer times. This gold sandy beach with a fantastic view of the deep blue ocean is a place featuring the most liked Instagram photo of the country. Located just about five kilometers away from the city center, Nouakchott beach is an excellent place to enjoy swimming, sunbathing, sailing, and partying at the bars of the beach. It is Mauritania's best beach, so it attracts a lot of tourists every month.
6. Port de Peche
A hectic place with the continuous hustle and bustle of Nouakchott is Port de Peche. The place is mostly calm in the mornings and gets very busy during the afternoon. Port de Peche is mostly associated with fishing activities. It is the main source of fish products supplied to Nouakchott. Tourists can take a boat trip in the area. You should not try swimming there as the waves can be overwhelming, leading to a disaster for you.
7. Olympic Stadium
Mauritania is not one of the footballing powerhouses of Africa. But there are still a lot of people interested in football. Built-in 1983, the Stade Olympique is the largest stadium in Mauritania. With a capacity of 20,000 people, it hosts the league matches of the country. If there is a match going on there, make sure you pay a visit to the stadium to see Nouakchott people's passion for football.
8. Marche Capitale
Marche Capitale is a famous bazaar in Nouakchott. It is the largest market in the whole country. Visiting Marche Capitale is a must. There are many local products, traditional goods, and souvenirs for tourists. From electronics to jewelry, one can find everything needed at that market. Hand-made accessories are highly recommended due to their special and extraordinary beauty.
9. Mosque Saudique
One of the major Instagrammable places is Mosque Saudique. The mosque is located southwest of the Presidential Palace. Its exterior architecture is worth taking photographs of. Mosque Saudique was built in Nouakchott, thanks to the funds by Saudi Arabia. Currently, the Imam of the mosque is Ahmedou Ould Lemrabet, who is a supporter of the government and Salafism.
10. Galerie Zeinart
Galerie Zeinart is an amazing place for local artists to show their work to a larger audience, including foreign nationals. This L-shaped place is very small, covering about 47 square meters. Yet the quality of art displayed is tremendously impressive. Artists from all over Mauritania have an equal chance of showcasing their works. For example, Mamadou Anne is a famous local artist known for his semi-abstract works. Apart from temporary exhibitions, tourists can also find jewelry, ornaments, and different artifacts produced by locals and are on sale.
11. Hotel Semiramis Centre ville
Arguably, one of the best Nouakchott hotels is Semiramis Hotel Centre Ville. Located in the city center, this modern hotel offers very spacious rooms for guests at affordable prices. Apart from its comfy rooms, it also hosts a restaurant offering gourmet dishes. For a 4-star hotel, it also has a cinema alongside a world-class restaurant and a bar.
12. Le Maquis Restaurant
Le Maquis is a top-notch restaurant in Nouakchott. Offering French-style cuisine, it always got a 5-star review from the customers. The European-style decor, delicious food, and world-class service make Le Maquis a must-visit Instagrammable place in Nouakchott. One thing to note is the fact that it is a luxurious restaurant. If you are traveling to Mauritania on budget, you should go there just once or not at all.
How to travel to Nouakchott?
There are many ways to travel to Nouakchott, Mauritania. The best way is, of course, by plane. There are flights from different countries to Nouakchott International Airport – Oumtounsy. It is a very new airport, which comes into existence in 2016. You need a visa to enter Mauritania unless you are holding a passport of the following countries: Tunisia, Senegal, Syria, Algeria, Ivory Coast, the Gambia, Mali, Niger, and Libya. Visa costs vary by the amount of time you want to stay in Mauritania, ranging from 65 USD to 845 USD.
What is the best time to travel to Mauritania?
Where is Nouakchott? It is located in the Sahara. That pretty much explains what you should expect from Nouakchott weather. It is very hot and dry for most of the year in Mauritania. But it is good to enjoy the beach in Nouakchott, swimming, and other water activities in the Atlantic Ocean. The best time to travel to Nouakchott, Mauritania, is the winter season. From November to April is the time when the weather is not as dry as other months. Therefore, tourists and visitors can explore the city more easily.
Is it safe to travel to Mauritania?
During your visit to Mauritania, you should be very cautious, as there are armed groups and extremist gangs present in the country's northern and eastern parts. The Defense Ministry has declared the north-east part of the country as a military zone, hence not allowing any civilian visits there. In most parts of the country, especially in Nouakchott, there is a high risk of terrorist attacks in places where civilians' density is high. Alongside armed robberies, there are threats of kidnapping, petty crime, demonstrations, and poor road safety. Women should avoid traveling to Mauritania alone, as they can be subject to verbal abuse and sexual assaults. LGBTQ travelers should be super cautious, or even they should avoid visiting Mauritania. First, the laws prohibit any same-sex relationships. Even convicted males can get the death penalty for that. Plus, homosexuality is not widely accepted in their culture and is subject to verbal and physical abuse.
A quick recap
Where is Nouakchott? Nouakchott is located in the western part of the country, where it meets the Atlantic Ocean. This off the beaten track city is the capital of Mauritania, officially the Islamic Republic of Mauritania. You should visit this less-explored city, enjoying its authenticity and genuine hospitality. In this blog, I have written about Nouakchott weather, one of the best Nouakchott hotels, Nouakchott beach, and the city's Instagrammable sites. The most liked Instagram photo of the city mostly comes from its beach. 12 Instagrammable places in Nouakchott is the following: Downtown, Bibliothèque Nationale de Mauritanie, Arguin, Banc d'Arguin National Park, Nouakchott beach, Port de Peche, Olympic Stadium, Marche Capitale, Mosque Saudique, Galerie Zeinart, Hotel Semiramis Center Ville, and Le Maquis Restaurant.