Nouakchott

The Central Mosque

Nouakchott is the largest city in and capital of Mauritania.

Get in

By plane

Nouakchott International Airport (IATA: NKC) is the base for Mauritania Airlines International which flies to Bamako, Dakar, Abidjan and Nouadhibou. It also receives flights from Algiers on Air Algérie and from Paris on Air France. Other connections include Casablanca, Istanbul, Tunis and Gran Canaria.

By road

From/to Nouadhibou (470 km, ca. 6 hours): the most comfortable option, a Mercedes taking 4 passengers, costs from 4000 ougiya. Sept-places are also available. It is also possible to arrange direct transport from Dakhla in Western Sahara. Ask in Hotel Sahara. The duration of the trip depends mostly on border formalities.

From/to Rosso: cars to Rosso (border with Senegal) depart from Garage Rosso south of town (taxi from the centre - ca. 500 oug). The journey takes approx. 3 hours and costs about 3000 oug in a Mercedes.

Get around

Taxis around town cost up to 200 oug, to the fishing port west of town (Port de Peche) - 300 oug.

See

Five kilometers west from central Nouakchott are beaches, the fishing wharf and two seaside hotels.

The Nouakchottois go to the beaches on weekend evenings (especially in the hot season). Swimming in the sea at Nouakchott can be dangerous due to the treacherous and strong current.

Do

Fishing: surf-casting is possible from the beaches near Nouakchott. Bring your own equipment. Some basic fishing supplies can be bought from Lebanese-owned shops in Nouakchott. Travel in groups only for security reasons.

Buy

Camel Market

Traditional Mauritanian handicrafts are available in hotels, at the museum, and in shops catering to tourists at the top of Avenue Kennedy. Silver jewelery - such as bracelets and earrings - make popular souvenirs. Rugs made of camel wool can also be purchased. Items from Mauritania's fast-disappearing nomadic lifestyle - camel saddles and wooden chests - can be purchased.

Unfortunately many items for sale in Nouakchott are of shoddy workmanship. Be prepared for some determined tracking down to find a quality piece. Dakar, Senegal is also a good place to purchase jewelery from Moorish silversmiths. There is a small collection of artisans selling quality good on Autoroute Rosso, away from the airport, but it is hard to find. Sometimes referred to as the Aritsian's Market or the Zoo. Most prices given to you can usually be haggled down to about a third of the given price, so don't be afraid to walk away!

Eat

There is a decent variety of restaurants in Nouakchott with plates from 1000 to 3500 UM. Most restaurants in the capital offer pretty much the same menu - simple pizzas, hamburgers, sandwiches, and salads. Nicer places, such as Plan B, New Rest or Iman, will have steaks, brochettes, seafood and even curry!

If you wish to cook, there are many large markets to be found, including Deja-Vu, located next to Ta-ta on Du Gaulle, which specializes in American products.

Drink

Mauritania is a dry country, but alcohol can still be found if you know where to look! Many of the French and Spanish owned clubs and restaurants will have some whiskey or beer available, depending on their supply, and will run from 2000-3000 oug a drink. If you're checking in the United States embassy, ask the Marines on duty (please be subtle about it) if they're having a party! You'll have a great time in a safe place. Same can be said at just about every embassy, as the expat community is very close and will spend the weekends together.

Monotel - Ran by a Spanish Father and Son, this local gets busy at around two in the morning and regularly plays hosts to Senegalese DJs. Decent restaurant and bar by day, is a fairly reliable source for whiskey. Naf's Cafe - Located behind Friso's will also have beer, whisky rum and vodka. Cafe in the American Embassy will also have drinks during the day.

If you're feeling bold, simply start asking around if anyone knows where to get drinks. Several people will sell it here and there, smuggled from Senegal, but don't expect anything top shelf. A small bottle should run you around 6,000-10,000 per.

Sleep

In central Nouakchott, the Hotel Houda and Atlas are not bad options. Other mid-range hotels include Park Hotel and Amane on Ave Nasser and Hotel Mouna north of the Novotel/Tfeila.

There are also a couple of camping places not far away.

Stay Safe

Like anywhere else, try to stay in groups after dark. You might occasionally run into some rude people, but by and large, Mauritanians are a very nice people. Don't be surprised to be offered a glass of tea in a shop.

Cope

Embassies & Consulates

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This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, August 11, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.