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.

The reserve is near the lighthouse at the southern tip of Cap Blanc. To get there, cross the rail tracks near the fenced-in SNIM refinery on the edge of Nouâdhibou; the piste (track) is sandy and sometimes rough for the final 8km. Also near the lighthouse is the spectacular wreck of the United Malika, a cargo ship beached on a wide sandy beach and looking all the world like the set of a Hollywood movie.