Travel to Nouakchott – Biggest City in the Sahara

Located on Africa’s Atlantic Coast and surrounded by the Sahara Desert, Nouakchott is the capital city of Mauritania. Travellers heading for Mauritania will most probably spend a day or two in Nouakchott.

With few tall buildings and rapid growth over recent years, the city is quite spread out and offers a handful of things to see and do, not least offering a choice of very comfortable hotels. Travellers emabarking on a Mauritania Sahara adventure holiday, trip or tour usually join and end in Nouakchott.

The modern city of Nouakchott was only created in the 1960s when Mauritania ceased being a French Colony and gained it’s independence. The main street – the Avenue Abd an-Nasir – is a wide tree lined street running through the centre of the city from the airport.

Other major streets are named (in French) for notable Mauritanian figures, or international personages of the 1960s including: Avenue de Gaulle, Avenue Kennedy, and Avenue Lumumba.

Visit the Ksar (the old town) of Nouakchott and Nouakchott Museum. Several markets include Nouakchott Silver Market, the Craft Market and Camel Market. Nouakchott also offers beaches – one beach is dedicated to colourful fishing boats, setting off and returning from the Atlantic with their catch. The city also hosts the National Library and National Archives. Nouakchott is the principal location in Africa for the world distribution of native Saharan meteorites.

Nouakchott is a great base from which to start a Saharan adventure.

Nouakchott’s beaches offer fun and relaxation, but head down in a small group to ensure your privacy. A hotel swimming pool offers sanctuary from daily life in a West African city.

Taxis are readily available in the city, though can be fairly expensive. They are not metered and the fare should be agreed before commencing your journey.

  • Discover the Ksar (the old town) of Nouakchott.
  • Search for handicrafts and silver then barter in one of Nouakchott’s vibrant markets.
  • Head down to the beach and see colourful fishing boats with fishermen bringing in their catch.


Africa Travel Information