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Getting around by air

With its own national carrier and several international airlines flying to Nouakchott, Mauritania is relatively easily accessible by air. Gateways are Paris, Istanbul and Casablanca.

Airports & Airlines

Opened in June 2016, the Nouakchott-Oumtosy International Airport handles most air traffic. It's 25km north of the city, essentially plopped in the middle of the desert. It's polished to a shine, if also mostly empty of facilities. There's no wi-fi, no electrical outlets and no food court, despite signage for one. There is a bureau de change and a tourist office with brochures and country maps – at least they were seen on a desk through the locked door. Nouâdhibou and Atâr also have small international airports.

The only direct flights from Europe are through Paris, with Air France. Turkish Airlines flies from Istanbul.

Mauritania Airlines, the country's flag carrier which began operating in its current incarnation in 2012, flies twice weekly between Nouakchott and Casablanca and four times weekly to Las Palmas in the Canary Islands – all have stops in Nouâdhibou. Its track record is so far unblemished. Senegal Airlines flies five times a week to Dakar. For other Saharan or sub-Saharan countries, you'll have to change in Dakar or Abidjan.

Mauritania is well connected to North Africa. Royal Air Maroc operates between Casablanca and Nouakchott five times a week (keep in mind that if onward connections to North America or Europe are longer than 12 hours, Royal Air Maroc provides complimentary accommodation in a Casablanca hotel and meal vouchers); Tunis Air connects Tunis with Nouakchott (three times a week); Air Algérie flies to Algiers twice a week.

Binter Canarias connects Nouakchott and Las Palmas in the Canary Islands.

Departure Tax

There is no departure tax in Mauritania.