Possibly one of Mauritania's best-kept secrets, Oualâta is another ancient Saharan town high on atmosphere and personality. Dating from 1224, it used to be the last resting point for caravans heading for Timbuktu. It's about 100km north of Néma but is definitely worth the gruelling ride to get here.
Entering the town you'll be struck by the red mudbrick houses adorned with decorative paintings on the exterior and interior. There's a small museum and a library, which houses ancient Islamic manuscripts. There are also several rock paintings and archaeological sites in the vicinity. Various camel trips can be organised (ask your hosts).