I’ll never forget arriving in Nouadhibou and thinking, is this downtown? The truth is that I had a bit of a giggle to myself as I looked out on the dusty, goat lined streets of Mauritania’s second-largest city for the very first time. To the eyes of many this might have been bleak, for me this was absolutely gold. I dream of visiting places that remind me of nowhere I’ve ever been before, and Nouadhibou is like nowhere else in the world. It might not be the world’s greatest travel destination, but for me, it was gold.
Things to Do in Nouadhibou
Ok, I’m laughing a little bit. Partly because the title for this section rhymes, and partly because, well, there really isn’t much going on in town. That being said, I’m not sure there are places I more enjoyed wandering aimlessly than Nouadhibou. If you need concrete “things” to do, I listed a couple below.
- Fish Market: The market is more exciting in Nouakchott, but this one is still quite interesting. You can walk there, or pick up a shared taxi.
- Ship Graveyard: There is actually a spot where all the rusted up boats have been allowed to die away on the coast. Makes for some good photos.
- Parc National Banc D’Arguin: One of the world’s premier birding spots at the right time of year. Easiest to get to if you have your own vehicle or as a part of an arranged tour.
Where to Eat in Nouadhibou
You’re not going to find a Paris quality of food in Nouadhibou, but I was surprised to find a couple good places. The waters off the sand here in Mauritania are some of the richest in the world, so try the the fish.
- Halima: Apparently this is “the” place to eat in town. It was busy when I stopped in for dinner. I ate a nice meal for about 8USD.
- Patisserie Pleine Lune: I’m a pizza craver, I always crave a greasy slice. This place does a decent French style pizza at a fairly reasonable price.
Where to Stay in Nouadhibou
Well, this will be more of an anti-recommendation, but I stayed at Chez Abba and had the worst case of bed bugs I’ve ever had in my life. The room was alright and actually had hot water, so baring the bed bugs it may have been decent. There was lots of room for camping though if that’s you mode crashing. Up the road there was a place called Baie du Levrier and ever day I walked by it I wish I had stayed there; it looked much more pleasant.
Getting out of Town
- Wheels: There are plenty of sept-place taxis and mini buses to Nouakchott. If you’re trying to get to Dakhla, Morocco, it’s best to tell your hotel and have them organize a seat in a north-bound sept-place.
- Rails: If you’re going to ride the iron ore train to Choum then ask at your hotel what time it leaves. If you’re going to be riding in the passenger car then you might want to book a ticket a day early, or at least a couple hours. If you’re just stowing away like I did, you’ll just need to be there a half hour early or so with a couple fiches for the police.
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