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The Islamic Republic of Mauritania can be found in West Africa, bordered by Mali, Algeria, and Senegal.
The nation has its roots in the ancient Berber Kingdom, which ruled the area for about 1,000 years – until around the 7th century. About 90% of the country is part of the Sahara Desert, so most of the population ca be found along the coast and southern border.
Along the coast, you will find the Banc d’Arguin National Park. Millions of migrating birds fly through this are each year, making it a birdwatching paradise. As an extra bonus, one can often see the local fisherman working with dolphin pods to round of schools of fish so they can be netted and processed in the shallows.
A visit to Oualata, a world heritage site, should also be on the itinerary. It was on the ancient trans-Sahara trading routes of the Middle Ages and features numerous geometric designs with its buildings. One of the more unique museums in the city features an exhibit of ancient scrolls where you can see the calligraphy used in generations before.
The world’s longest train can be found in Mauritania as well. The total length of the train averages about 3km and its route from Zouerate to Nouadhibou takes about 12 hours to cover nearly 700km of distance.
Certain areas of Mauritania are heavily mined, so be wise about travel plans. Political instability is common. Stick to the main roads, do a little research, and keep your wits about you. Do that and you will find that Mauritania is an honest, welcoming, and interesting African destination.
Travel resources for Mauritania.