Situated in the north-western part of Africa, Mauritania bridges the Arab Maghreb and the western sub-Saharan Africa- an interesting combination which attracts every potential tourist of Africa’s attention with the diverse culture and landscapes.
You might want to experience the beauties this African country has to offer, but you should not forget that in order to have a safe and enjoyable trip, one of the basic steps you can take is getting informed. Safety should be a priority when planning a trip to another continent or country. This is when our Mauritania safety travel guide comes useful for you. Not only will we provide the information required for you to travel safe to Mauritania, but also advice on how to prevent yourself and your loved ones from unfortunate events that could alter the quality of your trip.
Because of the economic turmoil present in Mauritania, you might want to know that this country struggles with poverty, escalating crime rates and terrorism. What is more, the border areas are heavily mined and therefore, they come with high risks for the visitors’ safety.
Even though Mauritania figures on your must-visit African countries and its beautiful deserted areas and coastlines are undeniable, you should read our Mauritania safety tips and decide for yourself whether this country is a safe destination for you. Read on to find out how safe is Mauritania for tourists:
Highest Risks You Expose Yourself to When Visiting Mauritania
Overall Risks in Mauritania: MEDIUM to HIGH
Because of the economic and political turmoil Mauritania is characterized by, authorities advise against travelling to Mauritania for pleasure, as the trip could turn into a dangerous adventure. From terrorist attacks to violent acts, you and your travel partners risk to get involved in unpleasant events that could ruin your holiday. Therefore, read our Mauritania safety guide and decide for yourself whether a trip to this country is worth being done in this period and, if the risks do not seem threatening to you, find out our safety advice on how to avoid encountering these risks during your stay in Mauritania.
- How to Avoid Trouble in Mauritania?
In order to stay safe in Mauritania, you should take into account some important safety tips that will be provided in this Mauritania safety guide. As general advice, you should be very attentive to the people around you, avoid getting involved in large gatherings or situations that could harm your health and do not let any valuable goods unattended. Any unpleasant event can be solved with common sense and extra caution. Read on to get informed about how to stay safe in Mauritania, irrespective of the unpleasant situation encountered.
Crime Risks in Mauritania: HIGH
The level of crime in Mauritania has increased significantly during the last years, especially because the country is characterized by poverty and terrorist attacks. From robbery to petty thefts and rape, this country can be a challenge for any visitor. Violent assaults and armed bandits are pretty common in this area, especially in places such as beaches, deserted areas or isolated roads.
- How to Avoid Crime in Mauritania?
It is very important to get equipped with the right Mauritania safety tips before deciding to embark on a journey there. Try to avoid exploring isolated parts of the cities and, if you are forced to walk or drive at night, do not leave your valuable goods unattended. Expensive phones, pieces of jewelry and valuable gadgets or money can attract the criminals’ attention and they may see you as a target victim. Take extra caution to the people around you and do not stray from well-travelled roads.
Violence Risk in Mauritania: HIGH
Violence in Mauritania is usually connected to the petty crimes mentioned above. Political gatherings might turn violent and attackers could take advantage of your poor knowledge of the area to lure you into going in isolated places. Nevertheless, scams and violent attackers have been registered and along with the terrorist groups who activate in this country, the risk of being a victim is high.
What is more, religious and ethnic violence is also common here: as a Muslim country, local people seem to have a low tolerance towards other religions and therefore, making religious statements is not advisable to be done when visiting this country.
- How to Avoid Violence in Mauritania?
In order to avoid getting involved in such unpleasant events, you should avoid leaving any goods unattended and be skeptical about the people around you. Trusting everyone you have just met is one of the basic mistakes that you can avoid. In case you are accompanied by a travel partner, make sure you stay together during the visits you make in cities or villages and keep an eye on your luggage all the time.
In case you are involved in an attack, try not to resist the attacker and contact the right authorities. They will for sure be willing to help you recover your goods and stay safe.
Risks of Women Travelling Alone in Mauritania: HIGH
Solo travelers in Mauritania, especially if we are speaking of women travelling to Mauritania, can encounter a lot or risks during their journey. As seen above, the crime risk is pretty high, with common violent acts such as robbery, rapes and assaults on the increase. When travelling solo, women can be perceived as target victims by attackers and this is why travelling to Mauritania alone is not advisable.
- How to Avoid Risks as A Woman Travelling Solo in Mauritania?
If travelling to Mauritania is a necessity for you, as a woman, you should keep in mind a few simple rules. First of all, the best way in which you can avoid being a target victim of attackers is to dress neutral and decent, not leave valuable objects at sight and not leave doors or windows open at the accommodation.
In order to make sure you get to see everything Mauritania has to offer and have a trouble-free journey, try to hire a guide who is really well-informed about the surroundings. This way you will always be accompanied and you will know what areas are safe for you to visit and enjoy.
Get informed about the telephone numbers of the authorities and keep your common sense during the journey. You should also know some important aspects about the local customs and laws in order not to get noticed as a foreigner by the local people. Every unfortunate situation can be avoided if you pay extra caution to everything around you.
Terrorism Risk in Mauritania: HIGH
The north-western part of Africa is well-known for the indiscriminate terrorist attacks that happened there, especially in areas commonly visited by foreigners. Public places such as embassies, restaurants, hotels and shopping centers, followed by Government buildings and crowded streets in the centers of the town are target areas for terrorist groups.
From car bombing to kidnappings and attempted suicide bombings, events related to the terrorist group AQIM have been registered in 2010 and 211, imposing high threats for any visitors who is not informed about how to stay safe in Mauritania in such unfortunate cases.
- How to Avoid Terrorist Attacks in Mauritania?
In order to stay safe in Mauritania during a terrorist attack, you should know a few safety tips. First of all, avoid staying in crowded places for too long, as they may be target areas for terrorists. It is advisable to avoid open terraces, cafes and tourist areas and leave as soon as possible in cases in which the gatherings become agitated.
Road Travel Risk in Mauritania: MEDIUM to HIGH
Because the road conditions and the driving standards in Mauritania are poor, driving there can be a challenge. Isolated areas can be target locations for attackers, as well as carjackers and this is why extra caution is definitely needed when driving on the roads of Mauritania.
In what concerns the public transportation, you should know that many sexual assaults have taken place in public transports such as buses or taxis. Poor maintenance of the means of transport, combined with the poor conditions of the roads can cause problems during your trip.
- How to Avoid Road Travel Risks in Mauritania?
If you want to stay safe in Mauritania when driving, try to avoid doing it at night or in isolated areas. The signal, the gas stations and the road signs here are difficult to find, so any unnecessary travel will cost you time and will be dangerous.
Travelling from one place to another in Mauritania can be a challenge, so make sure you have a well-organized plan before visiting this country and try to use the transport as rarely as possible.
Natural Disasters Risk in Mauritania: MEDIUM
Natural disasters are not common here, but flooding might appear during the rain storms which take place from August to November. This might make road transportation difficult, as well as the supply of water poor.
Apart from that, Mauritania is visited by sandstorms, especially during the winter, and these can affect your health significantly. Not only do they make breathing a real challenge, but they can also alter the air quality for longer periods and alter machinery.
- How to Avoid Natural Disasters in Mauritania?
Try to avoid travelling there in the above-mentioned months and carry water with you every time you travel (if possible). The water system is poorly maintained and cannot be trusted. In case you encounter a sandstorm, it is recommended to take shelter in the nearest building you can find or in a vehicle with the doors and windows closed.
Areas to Avoid When Travelling to Mauritania
As a whole, Mauritania as a country poses many dangers to its visitors, as you could see above. Nevertheless, there are places which are more dangerous than others and therefore, in order to stay safe in Mauritania, you should know what areas to avoid and what risks do they come with:
- The area near the Western Sahara- due to the fact that it’s heavily mined;
- Borders between Algeria and Mali- notorious for terrorist groups and banditry;
- Nouakchott and Atar- where many kidnaps and violent attacks have been registered;
- Northern provinces of Mauritania- Tiris Zemmour, Tagant, Adrar, Hodh el Chargui- due to the terrorist attacks registered here.
Vaccines You Need When Travelling to Mauritania
Because medical facilities are limited in this part of the continent, you must take extra caution before embarking on a journey to Mauritania. Pay a visit to your medical care provider and do not forget to be equipped with the right health assurance. What is also vital in order to stay safe in Mauritania is to have the right vaccination. Diseases such as Malaria, Meningococcus, Typhoid, Hepatitis A&B, Yellow fever and Filiariasis are common in Mauritania and therefore you should make sure the risk of encountering them is low by taking the right precautions.
Due to the poverty, slavery and poor facilities Mauritania is characterized by, this country tends to pose many risks to each visitor. It can be a challenge and it should be visited with extra caution taken during your stay in Mauritania. With this Mauritania safety travel guide in your pocket, your trip could be enjoyable and trouble-free. All you need to do is make sure you keep a high level of vigilance and follow the few Mauritania safety tips we presented:
- Keep an eye on your travel partners;
- Avoid staying in public places very much;
- Leave valuable objects such as phones and jewelry at the accommodation;
- Do not forget to close windows and doors to your accommodation or car;
- Be skeptical about the people you have just met;
- Avoid isolated areas and roads as much as possible;
- Do not walk at night, especially alone;
- Take the right measures in what concerns your health assurance, vaccines and guides.
With these Mauritania safety tips in your mind, your journey to this African country will for sure be trouble-free and enjoyable. Be responsible and think twice whether this country will prove to be a nice experience for you and your travel comrades. The decision is only yours.