Chinguetti is a city in Saharan Mauritania. It contains a noted Islamic scholarly centre sometimes called the library in the desert and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The Old town of Chinguetti is noted for its style of indigenous Saharan architecture, featuring reddish dry stone and mud-brick houses.
- Friday Mosque of Chinguetti. Built in the thirteenth or fourteenth century, this mosque includes what is believed to be the second oldest continuous used minaret in all of the Muslim world. The mosque consciously lacks extensive adornment, in line with Malikite school of Islam thought. It's considered the national emblem of Mauritania. Non-Muslims are not allowed to enter the mosque but may view the exterior.
Chinguetti has some of the more postcard perfect sand dunes in the Sahara. You can hire a camel and guide to walk you and your things around the desert, but you won't be actually riding the camel. You can also hire a 4-wheel drive. A better option might be to just go on a hike on your own.
There are plenty of auberges, with beds for as little as 1500 ouguiya. Camping just outside the city is also a popular option. Unfortunately, with the collapse of tourism in the Sahel, many hotels have been forced to close.
- Auberge La Gueïla, ☎ +222 2205 5056, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. A small, charming, auberge with just six rooms and a small courtyard. On-site restaurant and library, and it's even possible to get a massage!