Must see attractions in Mauritania

  • Sights in Mauritania

    Parc National du Banc d'Arguin

    This World Heritage–listed park is an important stopover and breeding ground for multitudes of birds migrating between Europe and southern Africa, and as a result is one of the best birdwatching sites on the entire continent. It extends 200km north from Cape Timiris (155km north of Nouakchott) and 235km south of Nouâdhibou. The ideal way to approach the birds is by traditional fishing boat (UM20,000, plus UM5000 for the guide), best organised from the fishing village of Iwik.

  • Sights in Nouakchott

    Port de Pêche

    The Port de Pêche is Nouakchott's star attraction. Lively and colourful, you'll see hundreds of teams of mostly Wolof and Fula men dragging in heavy fishing nets. Small boys hurry back and forth with trays of fish, which they sort, gut, fillet and lay out on large trestles to dry. The best time to visit is late afternoon, when the fishing boats return. Before or after, it's no less an impressive sight with the pirogues crammed like sardines on the beach.

  • Sights in Mauritania

    Parc National Diawling

    This little-known national park is a sister to the adjacent Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary in Senegal. It has important mangroves and acacia forest (any bit of greenery comes as a relief), as well as large coastal dunes. Incredibly rich in birdlife – you're also likely to spot monkeys, warthogs and monitor lizards – it's well worth a detour if you have a 4WD. Most people breeze through on their way to Senegal via the border crossing at Diamma. Facilities are almost completely undeveloped.

  • Sights in Nouâdhibou

    Réserve Satellite du Cap Blanc

    A small nature reserve with an excellent information centre, dedicated to the colony of endangered Mediterranean monk seals (phoque moin) that live here. Resembling elephant seals, these grey-skinned animals have been hunted since the 15th century for their valuable skins and oil. The protected colony here of roughly 150 seals is one of the last on earth (less than 500 worldwide). The colony is at the foot of the cliffs; you have a reasonable chance of seeing them swimming offshore.

  • Sights in Ouadâne

    Le Ksar al Kiali

    As you arrive across the sands or plateau from Atâr or Chinguetti, the stone houses of Le Ksar al Kiali seem to tumble down the cliff. The top of the hill is dominated by the minaret of the new mosque, which is a mere 200 years old, while at the western end, at the base of the town, is the 14th-century old mosque. In between, the crumbling structures seem to have been piled up higgledy-piggledy by some giant child playing with building blocks.

  • Sights in Nouakchott

    Grande Mosquée

    Its slender minarets and sandy courtyards, where worshippers perform their ceremonial ablutions, makes the Grande Mosquée a notable landmark in the city centre. While not architecturally significant, at the very least it can help orient oneself in a neighbourhood of low-lying buildings.

  • Sights in Nouakchott

    Musée National

    Moderately worthwhile for anyone with an interest in Moorish culture. On the first level is a prehistoric gallery with archaeological exhibits while the second level is taken up with more recent ethnographic displays from Moorish society. The building is labelled as the Ministry of Culture.

  • Sights in Nouakchott

    Mosquée Marocaine

    The large Mosquée Marocaine is a precious landmark in this bustling area. Located south of Ave Abdel Nasser, towards the Cinquième Quartier.

  • Sights in Nouakchott

    Friday Mosque

    Notable for its blindingly white facade. Visitors aren't permitted inside during prayer times.