Mauritania is a large African country situated in the northwestern parts of the continent on the Atlantic coast. Occupies an area of 1,030,700sq.km. and a population of around 3.2 million inhabitants, of which nearly 900,000 live in the capital Nouakchott. It borders with Western Sahara, Algeria, Mali and Senegal. If you look at a map of Africa will clearly see how straight the border lines are, resembling a geometric figure. The reason is that, unlike countries in Europe whose borders follow natural land forms such as mountains or rivers, the borders of Mauritania are outlined in the distant colonial past and are not consistent with relief forms and natural features.
Mauritania is a former French colony. Today, French is an official language of the country together by Hasaniya Arabic.
The others important languages are Wolof, Pulaar and Soninke. In Mauritania today live mainly descendants of the Berbers, and Moors in particular, hence the name of the country. But there are also few black people.
Mauritania’s population is homogeneous in terms of their religious affiliation. It consists almost entirely of Muslims.
This country is an unpopular tourist destination, although always considered to be a home to the Berber tribe of Moors, who left their cultural imprint to the most of North Africa and parts of Mediterranean Europe, particularly southern Spain.
In Mauritania there are some things that really worth visiting. Here we should mention Ouadane. This is a city founded in the 12th century, which for 5 centuries has flourished.
Today, however, for its rich past recall only the thick stone walls, which are remains of houses, public buildings and other larger structures. Ouadane reached its peak during the 17th century, when locals started to trade with Europeans, in this period coming mainly from Portugal.
Gradually, however, markets are increasingly concentrated in coastal areas of the country and in particular in the capital. Mauritania has a vast and endless beaches, on which unfortunately you can not see tourists.
Only here – there mainly around the capital, Nouakchott you can see children from the nearby neighbourhoods, playing in the sand or bathing in the sea.
Coastal sand imperceptibly merges with the desert sands of the Sahara. Here the largest desert in the world meets the Atlantic Ocean. Mauritania is a country located on the route of the most famous race in the world – Rally Paris – Dakar.
Mauritania has very hot, dry and sunny tropical climate. The tropical northern circle crosses the country in its northern part.
Cold Canary current, which passes off the coasts of Mauritania is the reason for the scarce rainfall and dry weather throughout the year.
Almost the entire area of the Mauritanian territory is occupied by a dry and harsh desert.
There are no mountains. The highest peak is only 910m (Kediet ej Jill). From coast to the inland areas of the country’s landscapes are identical – where to look you can see only golden or orange sand dunes, and the only thing that violates uniformity is some dry loving desert shrub that unknown how manages to survive.
The only to adapt smoothly here are camels, for which drought is not a problem. Vegetation in this country almost completely absent.
Here the differences between day and night temperatures are enormous. Daytime temperatures are regularly above 40°C, even in the shade, while night temperatures can drop even below 10°C.
Rainfall is very scarce. Fall mainly in the southern coastal parts of the country between July and September. Almost one third of the population of this desert country live in the capital Nouakchott. The city is situated on the Atlantic coast.
Here the climate is much more pleasant than in the interior. While the desert areas burn under the hot sun and suffer because of the 40 degrees heat, the coast temperatures range between 28 and 34°C throughout the year.
Although located on the ocean coast, Nouakchott is a classic desert city. The streets are dusty and sandy. There is almost no vegetation.
The dry and hot weather does not allow developing of almost any plant. Infrastructure is underdeveloped because Mauritania is a poor country and no funds to maintain it. Roads where there are usually have damaged surface.
When passes a car after it usually lift clouds of dust. Some of the biggest drawbacks of the Mauritanian capital make it the most colourful and strange for visitors coming from rich and ordered countries.
A local markets are probably the place in which a European can see the most impressive and memorable things. Of small stalls, many of them made by materials at hand, shopkeepers sell food, without to have any conditions for that.
You may see even to sell raw meat hung up from some shopkeepers, while flies and other insects can alight on it and nobody worry of that.
Buildings in Nouakchott are low and painted in light nuances, most often white with flat roofs. Traffic is very chaotic on the streets of the Mauritanian capital, and rules are often not respected.
In many parts of Nouakchott roads are even not asphalted. Cars run directly on the sand. Most of the poor neighbourhoods are located on the periphery of the city.
Here on the streets walking goats and other livestock, and people in the poorest neighbourhoods do not even live at home but in shelters.
The most well-tended is the central part of the Mauritanian capital. There are many government buildings, embassies and other important institutions.
In this part of the city there is more vegetation, since the small gardens are regularly irrigated. In this part of the capital the buildings are much tidier and with a well groomed appearance.
Here are most of the hotels in Mauritania. Many of them have their own swimming pool, which for a such poor country is a great luxury.
Poverty in Mauritania is everywhere and affects all spheres of public life. The protection of health is extremely low. Lack not only professionals, but also conditions in which they could work.
This is true even for cities like the capital of the country. Education is also very low. The reason is again the lack of funds.
Due to extreme poverty the mass of the local population has no access to internet, and in the 21st century that is really detrimental and separate Mauritania from the other countries even more.
The Internet in Mauritania is very expensive commodity, to which have access very few people. The country relies entirely on fishing and mining. Coastal waters of the country are rich in fish.
This is the main export commodity of Mauritania. Besides fishing, other important industry is mining of iron ore, on which the country is very rich.
Namely iron ore is the cause of bloody red colour in the low mountains in northern Mauritania. This vast country has very few places that are suitable for development of agriculture.
The state does not benefit particularly to this sector. The variety of agricultural production is as small as its quantity. Here grow mainly some unpretentious plants such as peanuts, beans and date palm.
Most fertile lands of Mauritania are located in the southernmost parts of the country where the climate is somewhat humid, and the land is irrigated by the waters of the deep river Senegal, which is one of the few natural borders of Mauritania.
Although Mauritania is not very distant from Europe and is situated next to some more developed and advanced African countries like Morocco and Algeria, the country has somewhat peripheral location.
It is a fact that the nature is beautiful, but not very generous in terms of fertility and in no way helps the life of the local population.
Prolonged periods of drought, the large desert areas, illiterate population, problems with health and education, underdeveloped infrastructure are some of the factors that help to the economy of Mauritania to be one of the most backward.
Today the country is on the list of poorest and least developed countries in the world. This is one of the reasons that stop the developing of Mauritania’s tourism industry.
Moreover, for tourists in this country always have a risk of terrorism. Really this country has some features that could be used in its favour, such as the fact that it is considered to be the cradle of Berbers civilization, but will pass a long time until things start to be arranged in favour of Mauritania.
Weak advertising and lack of a developed tourist infrastructure are major obstacles. In the future the country could use its proximity to Europe and the fact that Europe is the largest tourist market in the world.
However, tourists will take to Mauritania when it has the necessary facilities with the necessary quality to accept and service them.
Today Mauritania yet can not offer the needed infrastructure and security which must to ensure during the stay of the visitors.