Mauritania’s climate is predominantly hot and dry. The climate is characterised by extremes in temperature and by limited and irregular rainfall. Annual temperature variations are small, although diurnal variations can be extreme.
The harmattan, a hot, dry, and often dust-laden wind, blows from the Sahara throughout the long dry season and is the prevailing wind, except along the narrow coastal strip, which is influenced by oceanic trade winds. Most rain falls during the short rainy season (hivernage), from July to September. Average annual precipitation varies from 500 to 600 millimetres in the far south to less than 100 millimetres in the northern two-thirds of the country.
Belts of natural vegetation, corresponding to the rainfall pattern, extend from east to west and range from traces of tropical forest along the Senegal River to brush and savanna in the southeast. Only sandy desert is found in the centre and north of the country.
The cooler winter period from November through to March/April is the best time for travel in Mauritania. Temperatures drop from a summer high of 45C down to between 25-30C. To see the bird migration at Banc d’Arguin visit between November and January.
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