a VirtualTourist member from New York City
I have a friend living in Nouakchott, and I'd like to visit her. I'm living in NY now, and I worry a bit about traveling from here to there... mainly security issues. I would like to hear back from someone who's traveled there recently. I'd love to learn some good travel advice so that I can ensure my safety. I'm a smart traveler, so I feel that I'll be ok once I'm with my friend, but I'm just a little worried about the airport & standing out.
Also, I'm interested in doing a photo project related to my travels, and I'd love to hear any suggestions you may have on subject matter that I should look into.
Well, as a foreigner you will stand out. but if you will stay in Nouakchoutt, security concerns should not keep you away. There are certainly areas to avoid as a foreigner these days, especially the border area to Mali. In Nouakchoutt you should be fine. As for the airport, there will be the usual touts trying to drag you to their taxi, and maybe the occasional inventive customs or immigration officer coming up with an extra fee, but no dangers. Maybe your friend can give you the phone number of a reliable taxi driver to pick you up and take you to her place, or else inform you about the rates you should pay without being ripped off (there aren´t metered taxis)
Thanks for your reply! This is my first updated news with actual content about Mauritania.
How recently were you there? What were you doing there, and how long were you there for? What are some of the most beautiful aspects of the country?
Christine, if you will be staying at Nouakchott and its environs, there should be no problem. I have been there few months ago and saw a french couple (probably unmarried) walking hand in hand in Nouackchott. There was no fear at all. It is just the remote regions that are dangerous to the freigners.
Go for it ! Would be my advice.
Hi [VT member 1258], I have no personal travel experience in Mauretania, but know some people who have been there and liked it. However, I travel a lot in Africa and have been to countries in the neighborhood like Senegal and Mali. Some things are very much alike all over the continent - like unlicensed, unmetered taxis trying to grab a newly arrived visitor who doesn´t know the prices yet. It can be a bit annoying, but it is not dangerous. So, while I do not know Nouakchoutt, I would expect some local traditional architeczture or the markets being good spots for your photo project, and of course the Sahara though I heard it is a bit flat in Mauretania.
i Crossed the border from Western Sahara to Mauritania back in December 2003. It can be daunting but there is nothing to really fear. All the taxicab drivers know the route well. There are plenty of western tourists in West Africa and you wont stand out. There is a stretch of no-mans land between the two countries immigration posts. You can get your visa at the Mauritanian border. I even payed in Euros, around 5 Euro I think. I did not fear it too much and wouldn't have had such a nice trip if I did. The scenery is worth the risk.