An African country between ocean and Sahara desert

Landmarks and historical places

Set on a trip to dicover historic places in the middle of the Sahara desert. Several museums will enable you - thanks to their archives - to understand how the first inhabitants shaped this Saharan land, which was initialy known as "the land of Chinguit".

Centuries-old libraries well hidden in the sandy narrow streets of the noble city of Chinguitti or in the stony alleys of the impressive city of Ouadane open their doors onto rare and scholarly ancient books. Passionate librarians will tell you their stories in a theathrical way and will let you unveil some secrects and mysteries belonging to the past of this magical land.

Rock art spread throughout the territory, and especially in the Adrar region, will remind you that the initial inhabitants of this land first settled back in neolithic times.

Saharan hospitality

It is now up to you if you wish to get to know the nomadic population better, to accept the invitation to drink the Saharan mint tea, to taste camel milk (zrig) offered courteously to each visitor.
You will for sure be charmed by the kindness, the generosity and the hospitality displayed by the Mauritanian pouplation.
If you are a woman, you will most certainly be offered by nomad women to have some henna ornaments finely designed on your hands.  
For nomads living in this harsh unforgiving mineral environment, hospitality is engraved in their culture. We bet you will never forget these little magical moments when you have been deliciouly and slowly sipping the traditionnal mint tea and you will quickly feel at ease in the Sahara.

Architecture and habitat

The nomad habitat is made of a large family tent called Khaima. It was once dark and woven in goat hair. Nowadays the white cotton tent is widely spread. You may often be invited under the family khaima to drink tea, zrig (camel or/and goat milk) or even share the family meal. Traditional families still devote a side of the tent to men and another side to women.

In Mauritanian villages and oasis, populations who have become half-nomadic have built their habitat using hard material such as mud or even cement since recently for it offers a better resilience to extreme weather episodes. Unfortunately it offers less protection against high temperatures. Palm tree leaves are also used to build temporary huts, especially in oasis.

The architecture ot the south eastern city of Oulata singles out with the beauty and the richness of its exterior walls ornaments.

Fauna and flora

Fauna and flora in Mauritania

Mauritania has an exteremely diversifed fauna: varied sea animals (dolphins....), ornithological variety in the north of the country along the ocean (Banc d'Arguin).

The last Saharan crocodiles live in a north Saharan guelta (fresh water pond or lake) in Matmata (Tagant region).

We can also find endemic species of the desert: the fennec, jackal, cheetah, hyena, ostrich, gazelles..... Some were unfortunately hunted, massacred or poached towards extermination. But the nowadays the State and the population are growing an ecological awareness and some of these animals can be heard at night or even spotted at times.

An animal park reserve is being created 60km away from Nouakchott: the National Park of Aouleygatt.

The humid soil of the country on the south enables the settlement of a fauna endemic to mangrove: warthog, hyppopotamus, and hundreds of bird species...

The Saharan flora also offers a very rich diversity and nomads have always used it in their traditional medicine.

Of course whether in towns or in the desert you will come across numerous camel herds, goats, sheeps, donkeys and also zebus in the most southern regions.