Welcome to Nouakchott, the capital city and heartbeat of Mauritania! Enveloped by the vast Sahara desert and perched on the Atlantic Ocean, this city is an eclectic blend of traditional and modern cultures. Our comprehensive guide will plunge you into Nouakchott's vibrant food scene, rich culture, interesting facts, and top attractions. Prepare to unearth unique travel tips and tricks that will make your journey to this unique city unforgettable.


Experiencing the culinary delights of a country can be the gateway to its culture and traditions. Mauritanian cuisine and Nouakchott are no exception; it is heavily influenced by Arab and African flavors, focusing on fresh and locally sourced ingredients.

Thieboudienne is a staple dish you cannot miss. It's a delicious medley of fish, rice, and vegetables cooked in tomato sauce. Another typical dish is Mechoui, a slow-roasted lamb or mutton, usually prepared for special occasions. For dessert, indulge in Thiacry, a sweet couscous pudding.

Many restaurants are scattered around Nouakchott, but for a truly immersive experience, consider visiting the Marché Capitale. This vibrant market offers a wide range of street food, where you can sample everything from fresh seafood to local sweets.


In Nouakchott, a city draped in history, the cultural experience is immersive. The city's heritage is firmly rooted in Islamic traditions and nomadic lifestyle, reflected in its music, architecture, and daily life.

Pay a visit to the National Museum of Mauritania for an insight into the country's history, archaeology, and ethnography. The mosque of Saudique, one of the largest mosques in Africa, is an architectural marvel you should not miss. Respect local customs by dressing modestly and asking permission before taking photographs.

Don't leave Nouakchott without witnessing traditional Griots—storytellers, singers, and musicians—perform. Their music is a potent blend of Arabic and African influences, crucial in preserving Mauritania's oral traditions.

Travel Tips

When visiting Nouakchott, it's essential to consider local customs and climatic conditions to ensure a smooth trip.

  1. Dress Appropriately: Mauritania is an Islamic country, and modest dressing is recommended. Women are advised to cover their shoulders and knees, and men should avoid shorts.
  2. Currency: The local currency is the Mauritanian ouguiya. Credit cards are not widely accepted, so keep enough cash for transactions.
  3. Safety: Nouakchott is generally safe, but like any city, be aware of your surroundings, especially at night. Avoid isolated areas and keep your belongings secure.
  4. Climate: Being a desert city, Nouakchott can get extremely hot. It's best to visit between November and March when the temperatures are milder.

Interesting Facts

  1. Urban Bedouins: Nouakchott was a small village of little significance until Mauritania's independence in 1960. Due to rural exodus, it rapidly grew into a city and now hosts a significant population of "urban bedouins."
  2. Fish, not Oil: Mauritania's economy isn't oil-dependent, unlike many African nations. Instead, it relies heavily on fisheries, making Nouakchott an important fishing port.
  3. City in the Sand: Due to its location in the Sahara desert, Nouakchott battles against encroaching sand. Sand removal from roads and buildings is a regular task here.

Top Places

Nouakchott offers a variety of attractions for every kind of traveler.

  1. Port de Pêche: Visit Nouakchott's bustling fishing port in the morning to witness hundreds of colorful fishing boats bring in their catch. It's a spectacle you won't want to miss.
  2. National Museum of Mauritania: This museum houses an impressive collection of artifacts, including ancient rock art, Roman pottery, and ethnographic exhibits.
  3. Plage de Nouakchott: If you're a fan of pristine, less-crowded beaches, Plage de Nouakchott is a must-visit. It's also a popular spot for bird-watching.

  1. Marché Capitale: For souvenir shopping and local food, there's no better place than this vibrant market.

So, gear up for an extraordinary experience as you journey through the sandy realms of Nouakchott, where each dune whispers tales of culture, heritage, and captivating culinary delights. This city of contrasts and surprises awaits you!