Welcome to Parc National du Banc d'Arguin
This World Heritage–listed park is an important stopover and breeding ground for 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 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. Cape Tagarit, 40km north of Tidra, offers beautiful views and the water is crystal clear.
Permits are issued in the park, or at the headquarters in Nouakchott; the park office in Nouâdhibou is of less help. The Nouakchott office sells a map and guide (English available) with GPS waypoints. There's also a useful map available at the University of Texas website (www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/africa/arguin_map.jpg).
To visit the offshore islands you need to request a special permit from the park office.
Over two million broad-billed sandpipers (limicoles) have been recorded here in the winter. Other species include pink flamingos (flamant rose), white pelicans (pelican blanc), grey pelicans, royal terns (sterns royales), gull-billed terns (spatula blanche), black terns (sterne bride), white-breasted cormorants, spoonbills and several species of heron, egret and wader.The park extends 200km north from Cape Timiris. Most birds are found on sand islands in the shallow ocean. The best viewing time is between December and January, which is also the mating season. The best way to see them is by traditional fishing boat, called a lance – a recommended ecofriendly excursion. The main island, 30km long, is Tidra, and just to the west of the northern tip are two tiny islands, Niroumi and Nair. The principal launching point is Iwik, a fishing village on the main-land 6km northwest of Tidra.