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Mauritania Travel

The most dramatic country in Africa, Mauritania, officially the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, lies on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, bordered by Senegal , Mali , Algeria and Western Sahara. Named after the ancient Berber kingdom, it has a long and rough history full of sufferance – many have tried to captivate it, but succeeded only for a short period. Independence gained in 1960 still doesn't guarantee idyllic, peaceful life. With badly developed infrastructure, Mauritania , surprisingly one of the most modern African countries, offers rare experience of medieval lifestyle.

Mauritania is still undiscovered by many, although it has so much to offer. The capital, Nouakchott , situated near the Atlantic coast gives the opportunity of seeing city life in a completely different light. Northern from the capital is a World Heritage Site, Banc d'Arguin, covering huge area of 11 730 km² (18 873 miles²). It is a habitat of many bird species and an important stop for migrating birds flying to the south.

Another world heritage site is Chinguetti, small town located in the oasis of the desert plane Adrar. Once known as one of the seven holy Muslim locations, important crossroads of traveling caravans and starting point of traditional annual pilgrimage to Meka, this remote old town is the most frequently visited tourist spot in Mauritania . The whole town, along with its main attraction, the old mosque, was built from stones and dates back to the 16 th century. Unfortunately, it is off limits for non-Muslims.

 

Mauritania Travel

 

Mauritania is also the site of world's second largest monolith in the world – Ben Amera – which, according to some, is Mauritania's best kept secret because it's so rare heard of. Nearby is also smaller monolith Aicha. The best way, or better said, probably the only way of visiting Ben Amera is with the Nouadibou-Zouerate train.

The “Eye of Africa” is another interesting site located only 40 kilometers (64.36 miles) southwestern from the town of Ouadane. What is so amazing about The Guelb er Richat, which is the real name of the „Eye of Africa“, are its dimensions – it has a diameter of about 50 kilometers (80 miles), which makes it Mauritania's largest guelb, even visible from the space.

There are nine airports in Mauritania , the two with international flights being the ones in Nouakchott and Nouâdhibou. Connections to the Mauritania are, however, few. Only French, Italians and West Africans can enter the country without visa.

Getting around Mauritania can be a challenge. You can use the Nouadibou-Zouerate train. This train is probably the world's longest train, with normal length of approximately 3 kilometers (4.8 miles). The whole journey, from Nouadibou to Zouerate, with stops at Ben Amera, Choum and Fderik, takes around 12 hours, covering almost 700 km (1126.3 miles).

 
 
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