Explore Mauritania in Africa

Mauritania
Country Guide

Map of the area of  in

Mauritania with its capital Nouakchott is located in Africa (Northern Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean). It covers some 1,030,701 square kilometres (slightly larger than three times the size of New Mexico) with 3,364,000 citizens. Arabic, , , French, and Wolof are some of the languages used by the majority in Mauritania (consider regional differences). Senegal, Algeria, Western Sahara and Mali are bordering countries.

Mauritania is a country in northwest Africa. Geographically part of the Maghreb, Mauritania borders Algeria, Senegal and Mali, along with the disputed territory of Western Sahara. Mauritania is a land about desert and ocean. It is of course no wonder that the main attractions for most tourists are the desert in Adrar and Tagant areas (around Atar), and the ocean in Banc d'Arguin (a natural reserve with dunes ending in the sea, full of millions of birds and protected by UNESCO). The climate is characterized by extremes in temperature and by meager and irregular rainfall. Annual temperature variations are small, although diurnal variations can be extreme.

Advertising

Landscape, climate and basic hints for travelling

The terrain offers mostly barren, flat plains of the Sahara having some central hills. The average density of population is about 3 per km². The climate in Mauritania can be described as desert with constantly hot, dry, dusty. Possible natural disasters include hot, dry, dust/sand-laden sirocco wind blows primarily in March and April or periodic droughts.

To reach someone in Mauritania dial +222 prior to a number. There are 74,500 installed telephones. And there are 2,182,000 registered mobile phones. The cellular networks operate on frequencies of 900 Mhz. Websites typically end with the top level domain ".mr". If you want to bring electric appliances (e.g. battery charger), keep in mind the local 220V - 50Hz.

Learn more on our Mauritanian Facts page.

Description of the flag of Mauritania

Green with a yellow five-pointed star above a yellow, horizontal crescent; the closed side of the crescent is down; the crescent, star, and color green are traditional symbols of Islam; the gold color stands for the sands of the Sahara.

National administrative regions of Mauritania

Historical background information

Independent from France in 1960, Mauritania annexed the southern third of the former Spanish Sahara (now Western Sahara) in 1976 but relinquished it after three years of raids by the Polisario guerrilla front seeking independence for the territory. Maaouya Ould Sid Ahmed TAYA seized power in a coup in 1984 and ruled Mauritania with a heavy hand for more than two decades. A series of presidential elections that he held were widely seen as flawed. A bloodless coup in August 2005 deposed President TAYA and ushered in a military council that oversaw a transition to democratic rule. Independent candidate Sidi Ould Cheikh ABDALLAHI was inaugurated in April 2007 as Mauritania's first freely and fairly elected president. His term ended prematurely in August 2008 when a military junta led by General Mohamed Ould Abdel AZIZ deposed him and installed a military council government. AZIZ was subsequently elected president in July 2009 and sworn in the following month. AZIZ sustained injuries from an accidental shooting by his own troops in October 2012, but has continued to maintain his authority. The country continues to experience ethnic tensions among its black population (Afro-Mauritanians) and white and black Moor (Arab-Berber) communities, and is having to confront a growing terrorism threat by al-Qa''ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

Learn more on our Mauritanian Facts page.

Based on the content from wikitravel.org. The original article can be found here based on the work of these users. Geography information is based on the data provided by geonames.org, CIA world facts book Edition 2010 and 2013, Unesco, DBpedia, wikipedia and others.