Transport means

How to get there?

Regular flights connect Nouakchott to Paris and also Paris to Atar by charter. You can also fly to Mauritania from Casablanca, Tunis, Algiers, Dakar, Bamako, Banjul and Abidjan.

Several options exist by the terrestrial way:

  • from Morocco by a paved road in very good condition;
  • From Senegal, you can go by taxi-brousse until the passageway of the ferry to Rosso, where you can take another taxi;
  • Count 12 hours, from the Malian border by paved road to Aioun el Atrouss.

Circulating in the country

Car Rental: If you choose to rent a vehicle to travel within the country, here are some basic tips and advice. You will find many car rental agencies in Nouakchott but also in Nouadhibou. These agencies offer regular sedans and 4x4 vehicles.

Renting a sedan is not necessarily devoid of interest because Mauritania now has major asphalted roads linking Nouakchott to every corner of the country: Atar, Nouadhibou, Rosso, Nema,  while 4x4 vehicles can be rented with driver

This kind of vehicle, rented for a reasonable price, will allow you to make the approach routes in a appreciable comfort and with enjoying the vast panoramas desert, nothing preventing you once at Atar, Nouadhibou or elsewhere to organize excursions in a taxi-brousse  or on camels!

Do not hesitate to hire a guide in certain zones that your driver knows less well.                     

In general, as soon as it is practically possible, traveling with two or three vehicles in Mauritania is a required safety feature, due the sometimes difficult routes.

 Taxis brousses : symbols of road transport in Africa, are an integral part of the Mauritanian landscape. They have the advantage of circulating in almost all inhabited areas of Mauritania and, from Nouakchott to Oualata, you will find them in most towns and villages.

Their primary purpose is the transport of villagers from towns to villages, they will not accept mostly to take you outside of their usual routes to Saharan desert areas or remote highlands of the Adrar. (The 4x4 rental vehicles with driver are, in this case, more appropriate).

The rate of taxi brousses depends on the number of people on board, the nature of the trip (track, asphalt), the type of vehicle and the travel conditions (sitting in the cabin or standing on the bed rack of a pickup truck ...) .


The ore train (Nouadhibou-Zouérate)

Another unique mode of transport: the journey between Nouadhibou and Zouerate by the ore train of SNIM (mining company)  is a remarkable adventure.

This train is unique in the world: it is one of the heaviest, longest and also ... one of the slowest in the world (30 km / h).
Three daily trains (occasionally 4) in each direction make the connection between Zouerate and Nouadhibou (about 700 km). But only one carries passengers and cars.

Departure from Zouerate to Nouadhibou is around 15h, but you have to come  to the station at 14h. The train may come at midnight.

For passengers

For passengers, it's free in freight cars, in among travelers, baggage and cattle of all species if the wagon is empty.

It has a sleeping compartment (very dirty), with bunk beds and Turkish toilets, available if you buy them off from SNIM employees (to be negotiated). The other compartment is furnished only by two wooden side benches along the entire length of the compartment.

During this journey without stop to Choum: lighting with candle and shadow plays, noises and jolts, gas stoves of the travelers lit for the many teas, blankets, women and children on the ground, music, hot sandwiches, broken doors .. .

Two tips: watch your stuff, and if you travel in a freight wagon in the direction Zouérate-Nouadhibou, prefer the first wagons after the locomotives. Because of the wind, , the air fills quickly with ore dust and it becomes unbreathable.

In Zouérate as in Nouadhibou, the passenger station is always about 2 km from the mining area. Normal, this corresponds to the length of the convoy. Taxis wait for the arrival of the train at each of the three stages (Choum, Nouadhibou, Zouérate) to take you to the downtown.

The ore train for car transportation

As for vehicle transportation, loads and unloads are generally very long. There is not always a flat-wagon available, and the wagon leaves only if it is full. So you may be stuck during a day or two. You can only load and unload your vehicle in Nouadhibou or Zouerate. The price depends on the size of the vehicle. If you load your vehicle, we suggest you sleep in it.

This train is very essential for the Mauritanian economy that is why it is relatively well maintained. But derailments can occur and interrupt the traffic.

For more information, call SNIM (mining company).

The tourist train

The railway line is also used by a smaller and more luxurious train. It is the tourist train offered by the Somasert (SNIM tourism subsidiary). If you wish to take it, you have to book it from France.