Nouakchott is the largest city in and capital of Mauritania.
Nouakchott International Airport (IATA: NKC ICAO: GQNN) is the base for Mauritania Airlines International which flies to Paris, Dakar, Abidjan and Nouadhibou. It also receives flights from Algiers on Air Algérie  and from Paris on Air France. Other connections include Casablanca, Bamako, Tunis and Las Palmas. Airport services: ATM on line at any time. Exchange money at shop inside the terminal. The airport is 30km away from the city. Transport to city: Taxi, about 3.000/4.000 U. I payed 3.000 U. (mai 2014 at 1.20 am).
From/to Nouadhibou (470 km, ca. 6 hours)At Gare de Nouadhibou, next to auverge sahara, 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. Updated mai 2014: minibus at fixed time: 6.000 U. 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 small collection of artisans selling quality good on Autoroute Rosso, away from the airport, but it is hard to find. Sometimes referred to as the Aritsian's Market or the Zoo. Most prices given to you can usually be haggled down to about a third of the given price, so don't be afraid to walk away!
There is a decent variety of restaurants in Nouakchott with plates from 1000 to 3500 UM. Most restaurants in the capital offer pretty much the same menu - simple pizzas, hamburgers, sandwiches, and salads. Nicer places, such as Plan B, New Rest or Iman, will have steaks, brochettes, seafood and even curry!
If you wish to cook, there are many large markets to be found, including Deja-Vu, located next to Ta-ta on Du Gaulle, which specializes in American products.
Mauritania is a dry country, but alcohol can still be found if you know where to look! Many of the French and Spanish owned clubs and restaurants will have some whisky or beer available, depending on their supply, and will run from 2000-3000 oug a drink. If you're checking in the United States embassy, ask the Marines on duty (please be subtle about it) if they're having a party! You'll have a great time in a safe place. Same can be said at just about every embassy, as the expat community is very close and will spend the weekends together.
Monotel - Ran by a Spanish Father and Son, this local gets busy at around two in the morning and regularly plays hosts to Senegalese DJs. Decent restaurant and bar by day, is a fairly reliable source for whisky. Naf's Cafe - Located behind Friso's will also have beer, whisky rum and vodka. Cafe in the American Embassy will also have drinks during the day.
If you're feeling bold, simply start asking around if anyone knows where to get drinks. Several people will sell it here and there, smuggled from Senegal, but don't expect anything top shelf. A small bottle should run you around 6,000-10,000 per.
Update 23/03/2013 : No more alcohol in clubs or restaurants... it becomes very hard to find !
01/05/2013 The above information is now completely out of date, with the possible exception of the embassies, none of the above are still serving. If you want to drink alcohol at your table now the only option are the Chinese restaurants, one of which is quite central near the Hotel Tfeila. Otherwise, you can ask at the shadier restaurants and they will often have bottles of whisky to sell you, but you must take them back to your room. Best bet is to smuggle in gin or vodka in a large water bottle.
It should be noted that since this was written the Auberge Menata has changed ownership and some are reporting a rapid decline in standards, particularly security.
There are also a couple of camping places not far away.
Like anywhere else, try to stay in groups after dark. You might occasionally run into some rude folks, but by and large, Mauritanians are a very nice people! Don't be surprised to be offered a glass of tea in a shop.
Embassies & Consulates