The Adrar massif in the north has some of the most beautiful desert landscapes in the world. Explore the beautiful, secret oasis that have given water and shelter to merchants traversing the Sahara for ages by driving off-piste over rugged terrain and into tight valleys. Two of the country’s most beautiful historical cities are found in the Adrar. The architecture of Chinguetti, which was once a trade center and a center of Islamic learning, has remained almost unaltered for over a century. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, together with Ouadane and a few other tiny villages. Don’t forget to get a peek of the world’s longest railway or board an iron ore car packed with Mauritanians for the 12-hour trip from Adrar to the shore. The Adrar is also known for its rock art and the ruins of the Almoravid city Azoughui.
The Parc National du Banc d’Arguin, which covers most of the central coast, is home to millions of migratory birds each year. At Nouamgar, you may see the incredible sight of local tribesmen communicating with dolphins to herd groups of fish into shallow seas to be caught.
In the 13th and 14th centuries, the oasis city of Oualata in the southeast served as the southern terminus of most trans-Sahara trade routes. The city is full with brightly colored structures, many of which have complex geometric patterns. The city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and there is a manuscript museum with specimens of exquisite handwriting on old scrolls.