Banc d’Arguin National Park

Travel to Banc d’Arguin National Park – Remote Atlantic Coast & Bird Refuge

The Banc d’Arguin National Park lies on the west coast of Mauritania between Nouakchott and Nouadhibou. This World Heritage Site is a major breeding site for migratory birds. Much of the breeding is on sand banks including the islands of Tidra, Niroumi, Nair, Kiji and Arguim. The surrounding waters are some of the richest fishing waters in western Africa and serve as nesting grounds for the entire western region.

The park comprises sand-dunes, coastal swamps, small islands and shallow coastal waters. Banc d’Arguin National Park was established primarily to protect both the natural resources and the valuable fisheries. The park’s vast expanses of mudflats provide a home for over three million migrant shorebirds from northern Europe, Siberia and Greenland.

The region’s mild climate and absence of human disturbance makes the park one of the most important sites in the world for these species. The nesting bird population is also noted for its great numbers and diversity.

The contrast between the harsh desert environment and the biodiversity of the marine zone has resulted in a land and seascape of outstanding natural significance. Because of its rich fishery and strategic location, the territory has been highly coveted and disputed by the European colonial powers of Portugal, France, England, Prussia/Germany and Holland.

Fishing villages, beaches, Atlantic, and birds! At least 108 bird species have been recorded, including: black tern, flamingo, ringed plover, grey plover, knot, redshank and bar-tailed godwit. The park is also one of the most important wintering grounds for European spoonbill. Breeding birds include white pelican, reed cormorant, gull-billed tern, Caspian tern, royal tern and common tern.

Bird spotting, beachcombing, relaxing and taking long walks along the stunning coast from isolated beach camps.

For a perfect spot to spend a couple of days, head for Cape Tafarit where a local women’s co-operative operates a tented camp right on the edge of a fabulous white sand beach – perfect for bathing, beachcombing and chilling out.

Your own 4WD transport is absolutely essential for the sandy tracks that access and traverse the park.

  • Between 25,000 and 40,000 pairs belonging to 15 species, make one of the largest colonies of water birds in West Africa.
  • Rent a boat, grab your binoculars and spot a wide range of species including flamingos, broad-billed sandpipers, pelicans and terns.

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