Mauritania — Shopping and Leisure
Mauritania is not exactly a mecca of shopping or a haven for handicrafts as most travelers would expect, but there are still a few great options for those who wish to take home some goodies to remember their stay. Most of the shopping can be found at local markets in the large cities, with some of the more well known Marche Sixieme and Marche Capital in Nouakchott.
There are certain handicrafts which should not be missed, including leather goods, wooden instruments, crockery and utensils, silverware and jewelry, hand woven carpets made from goat and camel hair, nomadic tents, pottery, and traditional arrowheads and other ancient tools.
A favorite with travelers are the poplar tie-dyed fabrics, which are prolific in the area of Kaedi. These fabrics are colored by hand and sold in veils of cloth called mulafa or constructed for use as a top and a bottom in something called a boubou. The fabrics are generally well-priced, but be sure to inspect the quality carefully as it tends to differ from trader to trader.
Bargaining is a necessary practice in local Mauritanian markets and is actually imperative as most quoted prices are unnecessarily inflated. Travelers should, however, keep in mind that most traders are not intent on scamming patrons and thus negotiating should be done with respect, in the spirit of fun, and with a smile.