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Nouakchott Travel Guide - Travel S Helper


travel guide

The capital and biggest city of Mauritania is Nouakchott (place of the winds). It is one of the Sahara’s most populous cities. The city serves as Mauritania’s administrative and commercial hub.

Until 1958, when it was selected as the capital of the young republic of Mauritania, Nouakchott was a little hamlet of little significance. It was constructed and built to hold 15,000 people, but droughts in Mauritius during the 1970s have forced many Mauritanians to relocate to Nouakchott. This resulted in fast urbanization and overpopulation, with the city’s population estimated at 2 million in 2008, despite official estimates of less than a million. The relocated people lived in slum regions in deplorable circumstances, however the living conditions of some of these residents have recently improved.

Nouakchott is the economic heart of Mauritius, with a port that handles 500,000 tonnes of cargo annually and one of the country’s two international airports. Nouakchott University and various marketplaces are located in the city.

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Nouakchott | Introduction

Nouakchott – Info Card

POPULATION :  City: 958,399
LANGUAGE :  Arabic (official), Pulaar, Soninke, Wolof , French
RELIGION :  Muslim 100%
AREA :  1,000 km2 (400 sq mi)
ELEVATION :  7 m (23 ft)
COORDINATES :  18°6′N 15°57′W
SEX RATIO :  Male: 50.40%
 Female: 49.60%
ETHNIC :  mixed Moor/black 40%, Moor 30%, black 30%

Climate of Nouakchott

Nouakchott has a hot desert environment with warm temperatures all year and moderate winter night temperatures.

In comparison to other cities in this climate, Nouakchott has a comparatively moderate temperature range.

While typical high temperatures hover around 33 degrees Celsius (91 degrees Fahrenheit), average low temperatures vary from 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit) in the summer to 13 degrees Celsius (55 degrees Fahrenheit) in the winter.

Winter evenings in Nouakchott may be as cold as 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit).

Geography of Nouakchott

It is located on the west coast of Africa, on the Atlantic Ocean, on the Atlantic shore of the Sahara Desert.

The coastal strip is generally left unoccupied and permitted to flood, with the exception of Nouakchott Wharf and a deep water port. Shifting sandbanks and sandy beaches dot the shoreline. Quicksand may be found near to the port. The sand dunes that are moving from Nouakchott’s eastern side (salmon-colored on picture to left) are posing a daily difficulty.

The city is very spread out, with few big structures, due to the quick development. The majority of structures are single-story. Nouakchott is often used as a link between urban Mauritanians and their nomadic neighbors.

Nouakchott is developed around Avenue Gamal Abdel Nasser, a broad tree-lined thoroughfare that extends northeast from the airport to the city center. It separates the city into two halves, with residential neighborhoods in the north and the medina sector in the south, as well as the kebbe, a shanty town developed as a result of the desert’s displacement of people from other locations.

Economy of Nouakchott

Nouakchott produces salt, cement, pesticides, rugs, carpets, needlework, and craft goods, and the port also exports copper.

In the year 2000, the city had around 30 small or medium-sized industries. Administration and finance businesses are also crucial. In the city, there is a huge sugar refinery that has been in operation since 1977.

As of 1999, Nouakchott was the economic hub of Mauritius, with three-quarters of the country’s service sector businesses based there. Informal transactions accounted for 90% of the city’s economic activity in 1999. Some residents have several addresses and have strong links to their home areas, coming for labor on occasion.

How To Travel To Nouakchott

Get In - By plane

Mauritania Airlines International operates from Nouakchott International Airport, with flights to Bamako, Dakar, Abidjan, and Nouadhibou. It also gets Air Algérie flights from Algiers and Air France flights from Paris. Casablanca, Istanbul, Tunis, and Gran Canaria are also connected.

Get In - By Road

From/to Nouadhibou (470 kilometers, about 6 hours): the most luxurious choice, a Mercedes transporting four persons, starts at 4000 ougiya. There are also September openings. Direct transit from Dakhla in Western Sahara is also conceivable. Inquire at the Sahara Hotel. The trip’s time is mostly determined by border procedures.

Cars to Rosso (border with Senegal) leave from Garage Rosso, located south of town (taxi from the centre – ca. 500 oug). The trip takes around 3 hours and costs approximately 3000 oug in a Mercedes.

Prices In Nouakchott


Milk 1 liter $ 1.30
Tomatoes 1 kg $ 0.75
Cheese 0.5 kg $ 3.00
Apples 1 kg $ 1.80
Oranges 1 kg $ 1.20
Beer (domestic) 0.5 l $
Bottle of Wine 1 bottle $ 12.00
Coca-Cola 2 liters $ 1.95
Bread 1 piece $ 0.40
Water 1.5 l $ 0.58


Dinner (Low-range) for 2 $ 16.00
Dinner (Mid-range) for 2 $ 34.00
Dinner (High-range) for 2 $ 55.00
Mac Meal or similar 1 meal $ 5.60
Water 0.33 l $ 0.30
Cappuccino 1 cup $ 1.80
Beer (Imported) 0.33 l $
Beer (domestic) 0.5 l $
Coca-Cola 0.33 l $ 0.50
Coctail drink 1 drink $


Cinema 2 tickets $ 8.00
Gym 1 month $ 24.00
Men’s Haircut 1 haircut $
Theatar 2 tickets $12.00
Mobile (prepaid) 1 min. $ 0.23
Pack of Marlboro 1 pack $ 1.50


Antibiotics 1 pack $
Tampons 32 pieces $
Deodorant 50 ml. $
Shampoo 400 ml. $ 2.80
Toilet paper 4 rolls $ 2.00
Toothpaste 1 tube $ 1.60

Sights & Landmarks In Nouakchott

Beaches, a fishing dock, and two coastal hotels are located five kilometers west of urban Nouakchott.

For a personal glimpse at Mauritania’s artisanal fishing sector, visit the crowded fishing dock ‘port de peche.’ On brilliantly painted sea-canoes, teams of fisherman haul in the day’s catch in the evenings. The catch is sold at the sport and placed into donkey carts or old Renault 12s to be resold in town.

On weekends, the Nouakchottois visit the beaches (especially in the hot season). Swimming in the water in Nouakchott may be hazardous due to the treacherous and powerful current.

Food & Restaurants In Nouakchott

In Nouakchott, there is a good selection of restaurants with dishes ranging from 1000 to 3500 UM. The majority of eateries in the capital provide the same menu: modest pizzas, hamburgers, sandwiches, and salads. Plan B, New Rest, and Iman, for example, will provide steaks, brochettes, seafood, and even curry!

  • The path from the Stade Olympique to the French Embassy is lined with eateries. Pizza Lina, Cafe Liban, and Le Petit Cafe are among the best.
  • On the opposite side of the stadium, the Sahara Cafe serves some of the most reasonably priced pizza, sandwiches, and Lebanese cuisine in town. Come over late at night for a fantastic evening of hooka and hummus! Open till late.
  • The Sun House is also nearby and, depending on availability, will serve alcohol if you are a westerner.
  • Chickandy, which serves halal Fried Chicken, and Pizza Italia, one of the finer pizza joints in town, can both be found on Avenue du Palais des Congrès.
  • A strip of sandwich shops near Marche Capitale offers almost similar menus, the finest of which is the Prince (which taxi drivers know by name).
  • New-Rest, a concealed behind a wall and unmarked guest home near the stadium, provides a nice ambience and helps you to escape the masses. It offers a well-lit pool as well as delicious Nims and pasta.

If you want to cook, there are many major stores to choose from, including Deja-Vu, which is situated next to Ta-ta on Du Gaulle and specialized on American items.

Coffee & Drinks in Nouakchott

Mauritania is a dry nation, but if you know where to search, you can get alcohol! Depending on supplies, many of the French and Spanish-owned clubs and restaurants will have whiskey or beer available, with prices ranging from 2000 to 3000 oug per drink. Whether you’re checking into the US embassy, ask the Marines on duty if they’re hosting a party (please be quiet about it). You’ll have a fantastic time in a secure environment. The same can be true of almost every embassy, since the expat community is close-knit and spends weekends together.

Monotel – This local, run by a Spanish father and son, becomes lively about two a.m. and often welcomes Senegalese DJs. By day, it’s a decent restaurant and bar, and by night, it’s a reasonably dependable whiskey supplier. Beer, whiskey, rum, and vodka will be available at Naf’s Cafe, which is located behind Friso’s. During the day, refreshments will be available in the American Embassy’s cafe.

Simply start asking around if anybody knows where you can obtain beverages if you’re feeling brave. Several individuals will bring it in from Senegal and sell it here and there, but don’t anticipate anything top shelf. A modest bottle should cost between 6,000 and 10,000 dollars per.

Shopping In Nouakchott

Traditional Mauritanian handicrafts may be found at hotels, museums, and tourist stores towards the top of Avenue Kennedy. Souvenirs of silver jewelry, such as bracelets and earrings, are popular. Rugs made of camel wool are also available. Camels saddles and wooden chests from Mauritania’s fast-disappearing nomadic culture are available for purchase.

Unfortunately, many of the products for sale in Nouakchott are of poor quality. Be prepared to do some serious hunting to locate a good item. Dakar, Senegal, is also a fantastic site to get Moorish silversmith jewelry. On Autoroute Rosso, distant from the airport, there is a tiny collection of craftsmen offering high-quality goods, although it is difficult to discover. It’s also known as the Aritsian’s Market or the Zoo. Most costs can be haggled down to approximately a third of the original amount, so don’t be scared to walk away!

For buying local specialties and souvenirs, the Marche Capitale and Marche Sixieme are the most interesting. The Camel Market, located on the outskirts of town on the way to Boutilimit, is worth a visit.



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