Frequently Asked Questions about Nouakchott

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Frequently Asked Questions about Nouakchott

Nouakchott is the capital city of Mauritania, situated on the Atlantic coast in the west coast of Africa. It is a city with a rich history, culture, and diversity. In this blog post, we will answer some of the frequently asked questions about Nouakchott.

What is the population of Nouakchott?

As of 2021, the estimated population of Nouakchott is approximately 1.5 million people, making it the largest city in Mauritania. The city has experienced a rapid population growth in recent years, mainly due to rural-urban migration and the influx of refugees from neighboring countries.

What is the official language of Nouakchott?

The official language of Mauritania is Arabic, and it is widely spoken in Nouakchott. However, French is also a common language spoken in the city, especially in official settings and among the educated population. Moreover, some local languages such as Wolof, Soninke, and Pulaar are also spoken by some communities.

What is the best time to visit Nouakchott?

The climate in Nouakchott is hot and arid all year round, but it is more bearable from November to February when the temperatures are relatively low, and there is little or no rainfall. Therefore, if you plan to visit Nouakchott, it is best to go during the winter months. However, keep in mind that the city experiences frequent sandstorms and strong winds, which can affect your travel plans.

What are the popular tourist attractions in Nouakchott?

Nouakchott has several interesting places to visit, some of which include:

  • The National Museum of Mauritania, which showcases the cultural heritage and history of the country.
  • The Port de Peche, a lively fishing harbor where you can see fishermen unloading their daily catch.
  • The Cinéma Marhaba, a historic movie theater built in the 1960s and still in use today.
  • The beaches of Nouakchott, such as Plage de l’Amitié and Plage de Tafadna, which offer a scenic view of the Atlantic Ocean.
  • The lively markets of Nouakchott, such as the Marché de Nouakchott and the Marché Capitale, where you can buy traditional goods and souvenirs.

Is Nouakchott safe for tourists?

Nouakchott is generally safe for tourists, but like any other city, it is essential to be cautious and take necessary precautions to avoid any potential risks. Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and theft, can occur in crowded areas, and it is best to keep your valuables safe.

What is the currency used in Nouakchott?

The official currency of Mauritania is the Mauritanian Ouguiya (MRO), and it is used in Nouakchott as well. However, some shops and establishments may also accept Euros and Dollars as an alternative form of payment.

What is the cuisine of Nouakchott?

The cuisine of Nouakchott is heavily influenced by traditional West African and Arab flavors. Some of the popular dishes include:

  • Thieboudienne, a dish of fish and vegetables cooked in a spiced tomato sauce and served over rice.
  • Boulettes, meatballs made from beef or lamb and flavored with spices and herbs.
  • Chakery, a dessert made from millet, sugar, and spices.
  • Mauritanian tea, a popular drink made from green tea leaves, mint, and sugar, and served with peanuts or dates.

How do I get around Nouakchott?

Nouakchott has a relatively small and simple public transport system, with buses and taxis being the most popular modes of transportation. Taxis can be found throughout the city, and they operate on a shared basis with other passengers, which is known as ‘taxi brousse.’ Additionally, car rentals are also available at the international airport and in some parts of the city, but it is important to have an international driving license to drive in Mauritania.


Overall, Nouakchott is a fascinating and vibrant city with a unique blend of culture and tradition. With its rich history, scenic beaches, and delicious cuisine, it is a melting pot of experiences waiting to be explored. So, if you plan to visit Nouakchott, we hope this blog post has answered some of your questions and given you a better understanding of what to expect in the city.

The Ultimate Insider’s Guide to Nouakchott

If you are looking for an off-the-beaten-track destination, there is no better place than Nouakchott. The capital of Mauritania, this city is a hidden gem that offers a unique blend of African, Berber, and Arab cultures. Here is a guide to experiencing Nouakchott like a local, with insider tips that will make your trip unforgettable.

Local Attractions: Beyond the Tourist Spots

One of the must-visit places in Nouakchott is the National Museum of Mauritania. It showcases the country’s history, from prehistoric times to the present day. Displaying an impressive collection of artifacts that include ancient coins, pottery, textiles, and weaponry. Another local attraction worth seeing is the fish market, a chaotic yet charming place that showcases the city’s reliance on fishing.

To catch a beautiful sunset, head to Plage de Nouakchott, the city’s beach that offers a peaceful atmosphere, great for a stroll or a picnic. If you’re an architecture enthusiast, take a leisurely walk around the residential areas of El Mina and Tevragh-Zeina.

Local Cuisine: Indulge in Nouakchott’s Culinary Scene

Nouakchott’s cuisine is heavily influenced by its nomadic background and coastal location. The city’s signature dish is made of lamb or goat meat cooked with rice and vegetables. This dish, called Thieboudienne, is a hearty meal and a must-try for all visitors to Mauritania. For seafood lovers, the fresh catches of the day at the fish market are not to be missed.

Make a stop at the local street vendors to try some traditional snacks in between meals. Boulfaf, a popular snack made of lamb liver, onion, and spices, is a delicious local delicacy that you have to try.

Cultural Experiences: Immerse Yourself in Local Traditions

Nouakchott has a rich cultural heritage that includes various forms of art, music, and dance. For a unique cultural experience, take a visit to the Musée National de Nouakchott, which showcases contemporary art from Mauritania and the wider region of West Africa. Traditional Saharan music can be heard at the Tadamoun cultural center, where visitors can witness live performances of instruments such as the tidinit, a lute-like string instrument.

If you’re keen to experience local customs, consider visiting during the Nouakchott Film Festival. In March, the city comes alive with film screenings, music performances, and theatre shows, all showcasing the best in Mauritanian culture.

Local History: Dive into Nouakchott’s Past

One of Nouakchott’s most significant historical landmarks is the ancient Berber trading town of Chinguetti, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The town is home to several ancient mosques, libraries, and holy sites, dating back to the 13th century. It’s a must-visit if you’re interested in the history and culture of Mauritania. Another historical highlight is the colonial district, where you can see the French-style architecture highlighting the city’s history of colonialism.

Off-the-beaten-path Suggestions: Venture Beyond the Conventional

For an out-of-the-box experience, head to the local camel races. Held every year, this famous event draws spectators from all over the region. Races are held in the desert, with riders dressed in traditional clothing, and the atmosphere is electric.

Another way to experience the local lifestyle is by visiting the traditional Mauritanian tent city of Terjit. Located 380 kilometers east of Nouakchott, this remote oasis is worth the journey. Here, you can experience traditional Bedouin life and enjoy the beautiful natural surroundings.

In conclusion, Nouakchott is a city that’s full of surprises, and its unique cultural blend is sure to intrigue and enchant you. With this insider’s guide, you can experience all the hidden gems that the city has to offer, making your trip to Nouakchott unforgettable.

Frequently Asked Questions about Nouakchott

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