Overland Mauritania Travel

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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

Required Paperwork[edit]

(To check if you need a travel Visa for Mauritania, application instructions and fees see: Mauritania Visa online application at VisaHQ.com)
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. You can buy a visa at the very first building on the left, for €40.00 EUR for one month single entry.
( visaprice is reduced to 40,- euro, single entry, or 55,- euro multiple entry [1]since 04.01.2017 to promote tourism) 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]

Unknown

Storing a vehicle and temporarily leaving the country[edit]

Describe if/how a vehicle can be stored, and for how long.
Also mention if the owner / temporary importer can leave the country while the vehicle is in storage.

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 saison 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]

Lonely Planet Africa (multi Country Travel Guide)
Lonely Planet Africa (multi Country Travel Guide)
by Anthony Ham, James Bainbridge, Tim Bewer, Stuart B...
From $45.00 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 $22.42 on Amazon
Adventure Motorcycling Handbook: A Route & Planning Gu...
Adventure Motorcycling Handbook: A Route & Planning Gu...
by Chris Scott
From $13.37 on Amazon
Morocco Handbook: With Mauritania (footprint Handbooks...
Morocco Handbook: With Mauritania (footprint Handbooks...
by A. McLachlan, Keith McLachlan
From $29.88 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

Roads[edit]

General Road quality[edit]

The road between Nouakchot and Nouadibhou is brand new tarmac. The rest of the roads in Mauritania vary between old tarmac that is suffering from the summer heat and a lack of maintenance, potholes possible, and piste which vary in quality but may have heavy washboard.

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.

Checkpoints[edit]

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.

Navigation[edit]

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
Africa Classic [laminated] (national Geographic Refere...
Africa Classic [laminated] (national Geographic Refere...
by National Geographic Maps - Reference
From $12.85 on Amazon
Mauritania 1:2,000,000 Travel Map (international Trave...
Mauritania 1:2,000,000 Travel Map (international Trave...
by ITM Canada
From $6.12 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 $99.00 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]

List any special items / places that are popular with Overlanders

Vehicle Maintenance[edit]

Dealers[edit]

4x4s / Trucks

Motorbikes

Local Garages[edit]

Add known good mechanics here.

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

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

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

References[edit]

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


Helpful External links[edit]

Add any helpful external links here.