10 reasons why you should travel to Mauritania right now

Murad Akhundov12 February 20212044 views10 min. read
10 reasons why you should travel to Mauritania right now
Mauritania is amazing. Do you know where is Mauritania located? Mauritania on the world map is located at the junction of North Africa with the vast Sahara. On the map, you can easily find Mauritania if someone asks you where is Mauritania: just swipe your finger across the northwestern part of the African continent, and you will find a huge, hundreds of kilometers long country on the Atlantic Ocean. The capital of Mauritania is Nouakchott. A bright, unusual country, with a special flavor, where incredible Mauritania people live: both Berberus Arabs and Africans from the south, where the cultures of many nationalities are mixed, and long caravans still pass. Cars are a rarity here, mostly Europeans traveling through the country to Senegal, Mali, or even further. The country of Mauritania is a boundless expanse of nature, feel the illusion of unity with the desert. But, traveling here, be extremely careful. The sandy winds of Mauritania can swallow you up… In this article, we will tell you about 10 reasons why you should travel to Mauritania right now.

1. National Park Bank-d Argen

national park As we have already learned, the capital of Mauritania is Nouakchott, but we will start the article not with the main city of the country, but with the list of "Mauritania tourist attractions". And let's start with the Banco de Arguin National Park, located in the north-west of the country and covering approximately 12,000 square kilometers. The park was established in 1976 and is one of the longest parks in West Africa. It has also been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1989. Bank-d Argen - one of the largest areas of transit of migratory birds. More than 2 million species come here every year to enjoy the mild winter. Among them are cormorants, flamingos, herons and others. The park is also famous for its richness of the sea coast. The park, part of which is the vast waters of the Atlantic, is protected by the state for dolphins, whales, rays and sharks. While preserving its exceptionally rich biodiversity, the park has decided to actively develop ecotourism to make it accessible to local visitors and tourists. Here you can also find traces of human civilization dating back to the Neolithic era, and active trade in the 17th and 19th centuries contributed to the creation of a unique architectural style inside the park. Sand dunes of Assela, the vast Tasiast and UAD-Acaca, village Imagen along the coast of the Park and the village of Agadir on the island of Argen must for your visit in the Park.

2. Guelb El-Rishta

volcano For a long time it was believed that this place was formed after the fall of a meteorite because of its round shape. However, as it turned out, Guelb El-Rishta was formed in the Cretaceous period about 100 million years ago after the eruption of a large volcano. This place is a treasure trove for professional geologists because of the wide variety of rocks, as well as nature lovers, because around Guelb El-Rishta there are rare animals and birds. It is noteworthy that the first mention of Guelb El-Rishta in Europe dates back to 1916, but it became famous after the beginning of the space age in the 20th century, as the unusual shape, resembling an eye inside a vast desert, was clearly visible from space.

3. Chinguetti

caravan Chinghetti has a special place in our list of "Mauritania tourist attractions" is the seventh holy city of the Islamic religion, and used to be considered a meeting place for Moorish pilgrims on their way to Mecca. The city was founded in the 13th century and was the capital of the Moors. Current Ciletti – shadow of the once prosperous big city. For four centuries, because of the pilgrims, a real metropolis was formed here, merchants and craftsmen flocked here. Thanks to this, the city was built up with mosques, bazaars and other buildings that have been perfectly preserved to this day. Caravans in the desert were a source of economic prosperity for Chinghetti, where up to 30 thousand camels gathered at the same time! From other cities, wheat, barley, and dates were brought to Chinghetti for trade, and local merchants traded in wool, gold, and slaves. In the era of economic prosperity, more than 20 thousand Mauritania people lived in the city. Unfortunately, now the population of Chinghetti is only a few thousand people, but this does not prevent it from being one of the most visited places in Mauritania so far. The Chinguetti Mosque is considered a symbol of Mauritania. Non-Muslim visitors are not allowed to enter the mosque, but they can view priceless Quranic and scientific texts in the libraries of the old quarter and experience the traditional hospitality of the nomads in an austere setting. Chinguetti is one of four medieval shopping centers under the control of the National Trust for the Preservation of Ancient Cities of Mauritania. In the near future, the UN, together with the Government of Mauritania, plan to restore Chinguetti as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Well, we will wait for good news!

4. Nouakchott

poor road Nouakchott is the capital of Mauritania and an integral part of the trip. Although the city is noisy, dangerous and very dirty, it will leave you with an unforgettable experience! It is very surprising: most of the city is not supplied with water, local residents carry water on donkeys from one end of the city to the other, and tourists are surprised to see this picture. Initially, Nouakchott was a camp, a stop for desert nomads, then it quickly acquired the appearance of a modern city, but tourists very well see the gap between the two worlds: the world of nomads and the world of modern residents of the capital. Two of Nouakchott's most famous attractions are the fish market and the beach. The market is located near the sea, and is the main meeting place of the townspeople. Sometimes tourists can be surprised by the range of fish sold – from the most common to the most exotic. The local Mauritania population does not buy fish in the market itself, but a little further away, where the cost is very different. For an additional fee, here the fish will be cleaned, cut and even cooked. You can also eat ready-made fish on the ocean coast. According to tourists, the beach itself and especially the sunset on the beach is the most beautiful sight in Nouakchott. Hundreds of boats at the pier, waiting for the weather for fishing, really create an unforgettable entourage and color of the capital. Despite the mud in the city, the beach in Nouakchott is very clean and tourists, as well as residents of Nouakchott, enjoy swimming here without any fear.

5. Nouadhibou

boat 525 km north of Nouakchott is the former Port-Etienne, now called Nouadhibou. Initially, Port Etienne was the first stop in Africa for planes from Europe. Even the great writer and pilot Antoine de Saint-Exupery described this place in his works. The rapid growth of the fishing industry changed the face of the city; due to economic growth, it began to attract sailors from all over the west coast of Africa. Now the bay is a real graveyard of ships. The cemetery was created thanks to a financial fraud, in which unscrupulous businessmen bought up rotten ships for a much higher price and left them here to rot. Nevertheless, the ship graveyard became a place for romantics, for whom this sight was and remains something beautiful. Nouadhibou is also called the gateway to Mauritania from Morocco. The city itself is the second largest, and it is home to about 120 thousand Mauritania people.

6. Oualata

city Inaccessible, lost in the middle of the desert city of Oualata is a 3-hour drive from the highway a lot. At the entrance to the fortress city, built in 1912 under the protectorate of France, it resembles an ordinary monolith. However, when you come to the foot of the citadel, you will discover this amazing city and its old buildings, the first of which date back to 500 AD. Oualata was a gateway to Mali and a crossroads during the trans-Saharan routes from Morocco and Senegal to India. It is known that traditional houses UALITY built with rectangular stone and clay cement. They have survived to this day in almost perfect condition, and when you enter one of the houses you will understand how the nomads and pilgrims lived in ancient times.

7. The Road of Hope

road of hope Despite the fact that it may seem strange to most tourists travel to Mauritania to drive a car. The 1,100 km long road, otherwise known as the "road of hope", starts from Nouakchott and goes to Nema, which is located near the Malian border. Along the endless road, you can observe the endless desert, mountain scenery, small villages and wild animals. Tourists are advised to travel on the road exclusively by car or accompanied by a guide, but in the late afternoon you just have to stop the car in the middle of the desert and watch the magical slow Mauritania sunset.

8. Oases

rock What is a desert without oases? Answer: none. As in all, even the most arid places, nature will surely create a miracle. In Mauritania, there are many oases, however, in this article we will tell you about the two most famous – Tergite and Tonged. Tergit is one of the few paid tourist attractions in Mauritania, which costs almost 5 euros to visit – crazy money for a not very rich country. This should not be surprising, because the Tergit oasis is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Mauritania. At the entrance to the oasis, you will meet vendors of souvenirs and dates. When you enter the oasis, you will hear water flowing and trees growing everywhere in the middle of the desert. As for Tungad, it is an abandoned village located in the middle of the oasis of the same name. It is harder to get to it than to Tergit, but for avid travelers it will not be difficult. Here you will not meet souvenir sellers, guides and other people. Before you open a gloomy, but full of adrenaline picture of empty buildings, around which trees grow.

9. Ben Amera

mountain It is unlikely that any of the tourists will come to see ... the stone! However, Ben Amera is not just a stone, but the largest monolith in Africa and the third largest in the world. The 633-meter granite is located right in the middle of the desert near the border with Western Sahara. Not far from Ben Amera is a village, and even further away are rocks and stones. This "stone valley" annually attracts artists from all over the world, who give free rein to their fantasies, leaving beautiful drawings, carved figures that are real works of art. Therefore, Ben Amera can safely be called an open-air museum. And, unlike other works, it is almost impossible to destroy a stone with fire or water. Who knows, maybe Ben Amera will become a new wonder of the world in hundreds of years?

10. A mixture of culture

capital of mauritania We conclude our selection not with cities, deserts, and historical monuments, but with a whole Moorish culture. For many centuries, the country of Mauritania has been at the crossroads of European, Arab and African culture, which has influenced the life, cuisine and mentality of the inhabitants of this beautiful and proud country. Therefore, once in the country, you will be surprised how the descendants of the Moors, most of whom are Muslims, speak French, but differ radically from both the Arabs and the French. If you want to experience all the African authenticity, then immediately book a ticket to Mauritania, have time to enjoy a great trip, without forgetting about security.

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