Mauritania — Things to Do
Most of the things to do in Mauritania are based on the outdoors, which is welcome news for lovers of nature and adventure. This is largely due to the country’s vast and diverse environment, which boasts everything from an exciting desert landscape to a gorgeous coastline. Whether it’s a fishing trip on the water or an exploratory adventure into one of the many deserted desert towns, there is a lot to do.
For travelers who prefer a relaxing getaway, there are plent of activities that do not involve adrenaline or the outdoors. Why not take advantage of Mauritania’s rich fishing culture or visit a traditional Berber tribe?
Mauritania has a strong culture of fishing, linked both to economic and cultural practices. It is thus unimaginable for travelers not to take advantage of the country’s vast coastlines by going fishing. On the west side particularly near Nouadhibou, there are several spots which are perfect for an afternoon of angling. Many local fishermen rent boats to travelers who would like to experience this long-standing tradition first hand. Excursions can also be arranged with the reputable Continent Tours.
If you're not inclined to sit under the beating sun, you could always marvel at the local fish market in Nouakchott by Port de Pêche where hundreds of vibrantly colored fishing boats and trawlers bring home the catches of the day. Even better is watching the skilled sellers prepare their catches for the market at an almost lightening speed. Palace Tours organizes sightseeing outings around major West African cities which include a stop at the local fish market.
Mauritania has been blessed with almost 500 miles of stunning, sandy shores which provides ample opportunity for travelers to laze on the beach. Some of the best spots are in Nouakchott, but the currents in this area tend to be strong so be careful. Most beaches are home to a significantly large bird population, which makes for a great afternoon of birding. Oasis Overland offers tours which have stops along the country’s golden coast.
There is only one train in the entire country and while some carriages are used for public transportation, a ride on the historic Iron-ore train is mostly a fun tourist activity. One of the largest and longest in the world, is owned by the largest mining company in Mauritania and was originally used to transport mining materials and supplies between locations. Today, it is a fun way to see the north of the country. Tickets can be obtained from the stations at Zouerat and Nouadhibou or from railway operators in SNIM Railway shirts.
Travelers who are interested in learning more about the local Mauritania culture up close, can visit the Dolphin tribe where the people work together in a mutually beneficial relationship with dolphins. The fishermen wade into the water with their nets while the dolphins steer the fish close to the shore. In the end, the bounty is shared and both are happy. This is a fascinating look into human interaction with the environment that surely should not be missed. The process takes place in the waters halfway between the cities of Nouakchott and Nouadhibou. The local company, Chinguitty Voyages, offers customized trips which include a visit to the tribe.