Nouakchott is the capital of Mauritania, and is also the Largest city in the the country. It is located on a plateau near the West African Atlantic coast. The best time to visit Mauritania for ideal weather experience is from Mid-November to Early- March.
The climate in Mauritania is desert-like, but three different climatic regions are distinguished; Southern Mauritania has a Sahelian climate; there is one rainy season from July to October; coastal region, which is arid, the average maximum temperature at Nouadhibou for January is 26° C (79° F ), and for October 32° C (90° F ), average minimums are 13° C (55° F ) for January and 19° C (66° F ) for July; north of Atar about two-thirds of the country has a Saharan climate. Daytime temperatures exceed 38° C (100° F ) in most areas for over 6 months of the year, but the nights are cool.
There are about 5 different ethnic groups in Mauritania, Islam is the predominant religion in Mauritania.
The culture of the people of Mauritania is greatly influenced by many cultures, including the ancient Berber people, the Moors and the French, and these influenced can be seen in their music and cuisine.
The Mauritanian cuisine is simple, and is based largely on dishes made from lamb or goat meat paired with rice or other grains like maize meal or couscous.
The official language spoken in Mauritania is Arabic, but also french is common due to the colonial influence, and some others like various Afroasiatic languages, including the Berber Zenaga and Tamasheq idioms.
There are 22 airports in Mauritania, and if you prefer a cheaper means there are minibuses and Bush taxis available, also train transportation can be pleasant and if very affordable. Mauritania struggles with poverty, terrorism, escalating crime rates and heavily mined border areas, and this makes the risk of terrorist attacks high, also kidnapping is not uncommon.
Mauritania is still in the development stage of its festival culture, but there are few events that can be enjoyed when visiting the country; African Liberation Day - held on the 15th of May, it celebrates the anniversary of the founding of the Organization for African Unity, known today as the African Union; Tabaski - This is a two-three day Islamic festival held in October, it commemorates the Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his first-born son to God; Diwali - held every November and is celebrated by the Hindu community living in Mauritania; National Independence Day - Mauritania celebrated its independence from France in 1960. National Independence Day is an important marker of liberation not only in Mauritania, but also on the African continent as a whole.
There are a lot of attractions in Mauritania that exhibit and reflect the rich Mauritanian culture. Some of these include:
- National Museum - located in Nouakchott, this is known to be one of the best museum in the country. This museum provides travelers great insight into the history and culture of Mauritania. It features a comprehensive collection of artifacts and archaeological exhibitions which tell the story of the small west African nation from the ins and outs of traditional Moorish culture to the way of life in modern day.
- Port de Pêche - This is known to be one of the most popular landmark in the country. It is a colourful boardwalk and fishing port located on the west side of Nouakchott.
- Banc d’Arguin National Park - This is the most popular transaction in Mauritania, and this UNESCO world heritage site is also known as one of the world’s largest bird sanctuaries. It features everything from pink flamingos, royal terns and gull-billed terns to white pelicans, grey pelicans and broad-billed sandpipers.
- Ouadâne - This is another UNESCO world heritage site, Founded in 1147 by the Berber population who occupied the land, Ouadane is an old-fashioned ghost town if there ever was one. It is home to several old buildings and houses, 14th century mosques and gorgeous gardens.
- Adrar - Adrar a Berber word translated to mean “mountain”. The area is well-known for its shifting sand dunes, plummeting canyons, stony desert areas, and in some parts, welcoming palm groves, it is also characterized by shades of brown and pink desert rock.
There are over 1000 hotels and accommodations in Mauritania that will appeal to your taste and satisfy your longing. One fascinating thing about Mauritania is that it was one of the last countries to abolish slavery. It passed a law in 1981 to abolish slavery. Yet, according to recent estimates, despite the legislation against slavery, there still exists over 50,000 slaves in Mauritania.