Mauritania

Introduction

Mauritania has an illustrious past - but I guarantee you, ask anyone about Mauritania and they'll say "where is it?"

Once the Roman province of Mauretania, origin of the Moors, a mix of Almoravids and Berbers, Beni Hassan Arabs and black west Africans together comprising a unique land with its own ancient Arabic dialect - Hassaniya.

My Sahara Overland trip, UK to Timbuktu, passes through Mauritania, usually in Nov/Dec. For tailor made trips I would hook you up with my excellent guides - Beni and his brothers Cheik and Mohammed.

Photos

Overview

You can either fly into Nouakchott and do a round trip or I could organise overland from Morocco. They will take you on a desert odyssey through their quietly spectacular and subtly intriguing country. Highlights include:

  • Atlantic waves hitting Saharan sand dunes. The Banc D'Arguin is a coastal desert reserve where sweeping desert plains and the great dunes of the Sahara meet the Atlantic Ocean

  • Chinguetti and the Adrar mountains, for one of the great Saharan seats of learning culture and history. A World Heritage site, and like Djenné and Timbuktu in Mali, among the Saharaʼs great seats of learning with huge historical and cultural importance. Chinguetti has been a settlement for thousands of years - a city was founded in 777 AD and over the following centuries it became a trading center for Berber tribes known as the Sanhadja Confederation. Soon after settling Chinguetti, the Sanhadja interacted with and subsequently were taken over by the Almoravids, who controlled an empire stretching from present-day Senegal to southern Spain

  • The longest train in the world! The Nouadibou-Choum-Zouerat railway has the longest train in the world (3.5kms) taking iron ore from the mines at Zouerat to the west coast port of Nouadibou. But whether by train or by 4x4 this route is fascinating, taking you through nomadic settlements

  • Cap Ferrat, Banc DʼArguin National Park You will spend 2-3 days in the park camping in the open desert, cooking on the open fire and bathing in the Atlantic ocean

For more specialist desert overland trips you can add a spectacular desert off piste journey to the impossible to pronounce Tidjikja!

Accommodation
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Best Time to Visit

September to February

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Sahara Overland

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