Mauritania — Transportation
Mauritania Taxis and Car Rental
There are many private taxi companies in Mauritania’s large towns, including the capital, Nouakchott, and Nouadhibou. But the popular mode of transportation is bush taxis, which travel between towns, as city cabs can be expensive. Taxis can be flagged down from the side of the road and while they are not metered, most have set fares. Travelers wanting to use cabs for longer journeys should negotiate the fare before departure and bear in mind breakdowns are common.
It is possible to rent a vehicle in Mauritania, with most of the car rental agencies located at the airport or in the large cities of Nouakchott, Nouadhibou and Atar. Many of the international companies are present including Avis, Europcar and Budget, but there are also several local options. Travelers should be aware that outside of the main cities, many roads in the country are unpaved and are only passable with a four-wheel drive. Visitors who arrive during the rainy season should be advised that the conditions can be dangerous and many roads may be untravelable.
Mauritania Trains and Buses
Train travel is only available in northern Mauritania between the cities of Nouadhibou and Zouerat (an 18-hour trip) and passing through Choum. The line is convenient as the service is free, but requires advance booking. This is not a particularly popular mode of transportation for locals as the journey is long, slow and not altogether comfortable. The train is actually more of a tourist attraction than a way of navigating the country, having been popularized by the mining industry as an integral part of the country’s economic history. The train has daily services with a passenger car and first-class options available.
There are no public buses in Mauritania, but there is a handful of private bus companies that run routes between a few cites. Most of the vehicles are minibuses. Some of the more popular companies which operate on the route between Nouadhibou and Nouakchott include MT Global, El Bouragh and LTM. Bus services are popular with locals so travelers should expect to board vehicles which are packed to capacity and beyond. Don't be alarmed if your luggage is thrown on top of the vehicle as this is a common way to make space for more passengers.