Overland Mauritania Travel

From WikiOverland, the encyclopedia of Overland travel
Jump to: navigation, search

West Africa > Mauritania Currency to display:

Visiting Mauritania[edit]

Mauritania is often considered the best location to access the vast remoteness of the Sahara Desert. As of 2016, it's not safe to venture into the South East.

Entering Mauritania with a Car or Motorbike[edit]

Correct as of: July 2016

Travel Visa for Mauritania[edit]

Visas can be bought at the border no problems for €55.00 EUR for one month single entry. Pay in Euros. African passport holders pay 40EUR for one month visa.

Required Paperwork[edit]

Mauritania recognizes the Carnet de Passage but usually do not use it. Instead they will write a laissez passé (temporary import permit) for you.
So you will need:

Process at border[edit]

The main Mauritanian border is a bit confusing. You arrive at the military check post after a few horrible km no mans land from Morocco. The military guys will check your car after which you are allowed to continue on wards. About 100m forward there is a building on the right where you have to get your car papers arranged. Its hard to find the right office and person but the office to have is ground floor in the back. After getting your temporary import permit you continue again 100 m to get to the small immigration office at the left to get yourself stamped into Mauritania.
Once you are stamped in, proceed past the chain blocking the road, and immediately park and buy insurance on the left.

Many people suggest using one of the many fixers at this border. If you do, discuss the price in advance and no more then €5.00 EUR to €10.00 EUR.

I crossed the border in mid 2016 without a fixer and found it not needed. Take your time, it's not hard.

Cost of entry[edit]

€10.00 EUR for the temporary import permit. You can pay in Euro, US Dollar and Mauritanian Ougya

Permitted length of stay[edit]

Papers are valid for 30 days, usually, sometimes only 10 days, depending on how hard you negotiate.

Extension of stay[edit]


Storing a vehicle and temporarily leaving the country[edit]

When entering from Morocco, you will be issued a TIP for 30 days and the vehicle will be stamped in your passport. It is possible to leave your vehicle behind in Mauritania and leave and re-enter at Nouakchott airport. If you overstay (/violate) your import permit you will need permission to take the vehicle out of the country later. This is done at the Customs Department in Nouakchott, or -when lucky- the customs office at the border can pardon the overstaying of the permit.

Exiting with a vehicle[edit]

If you cross into Senegal never take the Rosso border, always go to Diama if possible( the piste to Maka Diama may be blocked as soon as the raining season starts). Exiting is painless, except for the fact that every office demands 5 or 10 Euro for their work. So police, customs and immigration all want their share. Other then that its straightforward, getting you car signed out and your passport stamped. Smile, be friendly and don't pay - it's all free, apart from 500,- ouguiya for the "tax de commune". for that you will get a payment reciept. Be aware that 20km before the border there's a national park guy who wants money and just before entering Senegal you have to cross a small bridge. The bridge keeper wants his money as well but will try to overcharge you.

Driving in Mauritania[edit]

Recommended books for Overlanding in Mauritania[edit]

Overland Travel Essentials: West Africa: Myths, Miscon...
Overland Travel Essentials: West Africa: Myths, Miscon...
by Dan Grec
From $click on Amazon
Lonely Planet West Africa (multi Country Travel Guide)
Lonely Planet West Africa (multi Country Travel Guide)
by Tim Bewer, Jean-Bernard Carillet, Paul Clammer, Em...
From $61.48 on Amazon
Work Less To Live Your Dreams: A Practical Guide To Sa...
Work Less To Live Your Dreams: A Practical Guide To Sa...
by Dan Grec
From $click on Amazon
Overlanders' Handbook: Worldwide Route And Planning Gu...
Overlanders' Handbook: Worldwide Route And Planning Gu...
by Chris Scott
From $22.49 on Amazon
Adventure Motorcycling Handbook: A Route & Planning Gu...
Adventure Motorcycling Handbook: A Route & Planning Gu...
by Chris Scott
From $click on Amazon
One Boy's Journey (footprint Reading Library 1300)
One Boy's Journey (footprint Reading Library 1300)
by Rob Waring
From $14.99 on Amazon

Travel insurance for Mauritania[edit]

World Nomads offer the most flexible Travel Insurance at the best prices for multi-country / multi-year trips. You can buy, extend and claim online, even after you've left home.

Vehicle insurance requirements[edit]

Insurance is mandatory but I have never been checked for it and I have the feeling that many locals drive without.

Cost of vehicle insurance[edit]

€25.00 EUR for one month for a newer 4x4 in 2016.
About €45.00 EUR for a month for a truck in 2012.

Where to purchase vehicle insurance[edit]

Can, and must, be bought at the border.

Driving license[edit]

Your regular, valid, drivers license should be all you need. The one time they checked mine, he was holding it upside down.

Driving side of road[edit]

Right side.
RHD vehicle is no problem in Mauritania.

Mandatory items in vehicle[edit]

I guess the usual stuff is mandatory (i.e. safety triangle, first aid kit, fire extinguisher, etc.) but I have never ever been checked


General Road quality[edit]

The road between Nouakchott and Nouadibhou has decent tarmac but some sections with potholes. The rest of the roads in Mauritania have old tarmac that is suffering from summer heat and lack of maintenance — plenty of potholes are possible, and piste which varies in quality but may have a heavy washboard. As of 2019, between Nouakchott and Rosso you can expect a lot of detours because the whole road is being rehabilitated.

Road signs[edit]

There are not to many road signs in Mauritania, then again, there are not so many roads.

Toll roads[edit]

Bribery in Mauritania[edit]

Officers will probably ask for small gifts, and sometimes might ask for money simply to do their job - like stamp you out of the country. Keep a big smile on your face and play dumb. See the bribery tips page for advice.


There are many many checkpoints in Mauritania, all for your security. It is advisable to prepare about 20 copies of a Fiche. This will save you a lot of time since they need not enter your name and details in the big book. The checkpoints are usually correct and friendly.

Traveling with pets[edit]

List the entry requirements and anything else required to travel with a pet.

Gas price in Mauritania and Diesel price in Mauritania[edit]

Last updated: July 2016

Currency and unit to display:

Gasoline Grade Price
Unleaded UM425.00 MRO per Liter
Diesel UM385.00 MRO per Liter

Gas and Diesel Availability / Frequency[edit]

Gasoline shortages are extremely common in Mauritania, expect many stations to be out of gasoline. Distances are vast, come prepared.

Gas and Diesel Quality[edit]

Gasoline is known to be very low octane, expect lower than normal mileage.
It can be assumed diesel is high sulfur, low quality.

Safety and Security Considerations[edit]

Driving at night[edit]

Driving at night is not recommended due to animals and other road hazards, and the increased risk of bandits.

Vehicle parking[edit]

In the larger cities, locked overnight parking is recommended.

Special driving considerations[edit]

Expect many potholes, camels on roads, poor signs and poor lane markings all throughout Mauritania.

Security advisories and information[edit]

Camping in Mauritania[edit]

There are campsites in every major town, so Nouadhibou, Nouakchott and Atar. Some are mere parking, others have at least some facilities like shower and water or electricity.
Camping will cost you between €2.00 EUR and €5.00 EUR per night.
Many people wildcamp, without problem.

Camping guide books[edit]

List and link to books specifically for camping.

Drinking water[edit]

Water seems safe in the major cities. Outside of these, if you can find it, I have my doubts.


Paper maps[edit]

Reise Know-How are among the best paper maps. Purchase paper maps before arriving in Mauritania

Africa West: The Sahara 1:2,200,000 Travel Map, Waterp...
Africa West: The Sahara 1:2,200,000 Travel Map, Waterp...
by Reise Knowhow
From $12.95 on Amazon
Nonfiction Reading And Writing Workshop Springboard: A...
Nonfiction Reading And Writing Workshop Springboard: A...
by National Geographic Learning
From $14.95 on Amazon
Mauritania 1:2,000,000 Travel Map (international Trave...
Mauritania 1:2,000,000 Travel Map (international Trave...
by ITM Canada
From $4.99 on Amazon
Lonely Planet Africa Planning Map
Lonely Planet Africa Planning Map
by Lonely Planet Publications
From $7.99 on Amazon

GPS Maps of Mauritania[edit]

  • Garmin Open Street Maps has excellent coverage of all roads - highways and cities.
  • Tracks4Africa is an SD Card for Garmin GPS, and contain Routable turn-by-turn maps with 809,000 kms of roads and over 129,000 points of interest.
Gps Map Of Africa
Gps Map Of Africa
From $click on Amazon

GPS co-ordinates for camping, propane, gas, repairs, etc. in Mauritania[edit]

  • iOverlander is a website and iPhone application designed by Overlanders, for Overlanders. It contains GPS co-ordinates and reviews for camping, hotels, propane, water, mechanics, borders and much more.

Link to sites that have a list of GPS co-ordinates (or directions) for camping locations (including "wild" campsites), propane filling, gas stations, repair shops, places of interest, etc.

Special Overland Travel interests[edit]

Atar, Chinguetti and the Adrar region as well as the one of the world's longest iron ore railway that runs from Nouadhibou to Zouerat.

Vehicle Maintenance[edit]


4x4s / Trucks


Local Garages[edit]

Add known good mechanics here.

Buy or sell a car or motorbike in Mauritania[edit]

Describe how a foreigner can buy a vehicle. List any difficulties or limitations on where the vehicle can be driven.

Describe how a foreigner can sell a foreign-plated vehicle, or list not possible.'


Links to the source of any information - blogs or discussion forums, etc.

Helpful External links[edit]

Add any helpful external links here.