Nouakchott is the capital of Africa’s Mauritania. An under-visited destination, it boasts lovely beaches, cute seaside hotels, great fishing opportunities, splendid views, and a relaxed vibe. Despite being a capital city, it is not as hectic as you may expect. Indeed, it is really quite laid-back and unhurried, with friendly locals always ready to flash you a smile and welcome you warmly.
Thinking about spending a few days in Nouakchott:
Port de Peche
Port de Peche is Mauritania’s busy fishing wharf. Here, you will see fishermen hard at work, setting off in the morning in their vessels and returning later on in the day with their catch. Colourful and lively, it’s impressive to see the men hauling the laden nets and younger boys scuttling to and fro with trays of fish, gutting and preparing the fish and laying them out to dry in the sunshine. Locals head directly to the port to stock up on fresh produce, and people also take fish to the local market to sell.
Labeled as the Ministry of Culture, the National Museum is a good spot for anyone who is interested in the Moorish heritage and culture of the area from times gone by. Home to a variety of excavated objects, there is a prehistoric collection on the 1st floor, and more recent finds are located on the 2nd level.
Plage de Pecheurs
The name of this beach translates to Fishermen’s Beach and it is another atmospheric spot where you can witness the everyday life of Nouakchott. Fishermen return back from the ocean at around 5 pm each day, their small colourful boats bobbing on the waves as they make their way back to dry land. Offloading the cargo involves plenty of lively singing, and the feeling of camaraderie is strong in the air.
Fancy trying your luck with some fishing yourself? Surf-casting is possible from the beaches near Nouakchott, although you will need to have your own equipment.
Built by Chinese labourers and one of the main landmarks in Nouakchott, the Presidential Palace is an attractive pale building that acts as the main base for the country’s president. The national flag flies above the building, and it sits in some lovely and large gardens.
Nouakchott, indeed Mauritania, is strongly Islamic. It is therefore no surprise to find that the city has a large and revered mosque. Standing proudly in the heart of the city, Saudique Mosque is a major feature in the city’s skyline.
For an Arabian feel, head just outside of the city to the well-known Camel Market. You’ll see the large desert animals being traded, as well as camel’s milk, the thick skins, and meat. There is also a cow’s market next to the Camel Market.
Other things to do in Nouakchott include lazing on the beaches and soaking up some sun, catching a football game at Stade Olympique, visiting the Franco-Mauritanian Cultural Center, trying the local cuisine, and shopping for local handicrafts in the lively markets.