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The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office advise against all travel to much of Mauritania, and against all but essential travel to the remainder of the country. Click here for more information.

Driving through the vast, sun-bleached landscape of Mauritania, you'd be forgiven for expecting to see a tricked-out post-apocalyptic hot rod from Mad Max on the horizon. Instead, a solitary, turbaned figure tending a herd of goats tells the story of survival amid millennial-old geological forces. Mauritania, with one of the world's lowest population densities, is almost equally divided between Moors of Arab-Berber descent and Black Africans, a striking cultural combination that is part of its appeal.

There's no doubt that Mauritania has some of the continent's grandest scenery. The Saharan Adrar region, with its World Heritage–listed caravan towns, is currently off-limits for security reasons, but the desert is a constant presence elsewhere, pushing hard up against the Atlantic Coast. Millions of migratory birds winter along the coast at Parc National du Banc d'Arguin, and the expanding capital Nouakchott is where modernity takes root in the desert.

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Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Mauritania.


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