Earth : Africa : Sahel : Mauritania : Coastal Mauritania : Nouakchott
Nouakchott is the largest city in and capital of Mauritania.
Flights connect Nouakchott with Dakar, Paris, Casablanca, Tunis and Las Palmas. Air Mauritanie, the longtime national carrier, went bust in 2007. It's worth asking around for the most recent information.
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.
Taxis around town cost up to 200 oug, to the fishing port west of town (Port de Peche) - 300 oug.
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.
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.
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 decent variety of restaurants in Nouakchott with plates from 1000 to 2500 UM. Most restaurants in the capital offer pretty much the same menu - simple pizzas, hamburgers, sandwiches, and salads. There is a string of restaurants on the road from the Stade Olympique to the French Embassy. Good ones include Pizza Lina, Cafe Liban, and Le Petit Cafe.
There are also a couple of camping places not far away.
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