The official language of Mauritania is Arabic. The Moor majority speak Hassaniya Arabic, while other ethnic groups speak a variety of regional dialects. French is prolifically used around the country and while English is increasingly understood, is not as popular as some of the other languages. Travelers can expect English to be known at the tourist attractions, but not in remote areas.
The national currency is the Mauritanian ouguiya, which is divided into 100 khoums. Major credit cards are only useful in the large centers of Nouakchott and Nouadhibou so travelers are advised to keep cash on hand in case of emergencies. Similarly, ATMs are only really available in the big cities and even then, they may be difficult to find. It is advised that travelers carry enough money to fund trips to remote areas where access to may not be available. Currency can be exchanged at the airport or large banks in the main city centers.
Mauritania is on Standard Time, which is GMT +0.
The country uses electricity at 220 V/50 Hz and has European plug outlets.
The international dialing code for Mauritania is +222. Roaming services are available, but travelers should double check that their network is compatible before departure. There are several local network operators who offer cheap and reliable services including Mattle, Mauritel Mobiles and Chinguitel. SIM cards and inexpensive handsets can be purchased from local stores and at the airport. While wireless internet services are not yet prolific, there are many internet cafés in the large cities which offer reasonable hourly rates.
Travelers are permitted to bright: 200 cigarettes, 25 cigars or 450 g of tobacco, 50 mL of perfume, 250 mL eau de toilette, and gifts not exceeding a value of US $500 tax-free.
Ministère du Commerce de L’Artisanat et du Tourisme: www.mauritania.mr
Consulates in Mauritania
British Embassy, Nouakchott: +222-525-8331
American Embassy, Nouakchott: +222-525-2660
Canadian Embassy, Nouakchott: +222-529-2697
German Embassy, Nouakchott: +222-525-1729
Chinese Embassy, Nouakchott: +222-252-070
French Embassy, Nouakchott: +222-529-9699
Belgian Embassy, Nouakchott: +222-525-2482