Me and My wife wanted to take a vacation because we both had been tired of our jobs and wanted a break. We wanted to experience something off track, something which is unique and offers plenty of things to see and do. We started our research on the internet to see what suits are desires. My wife shortlisted couple of destinations and I was stuck over Mauritiana. After a lot of brainstorming and researching, we finally decided on Mauritiana travel.
Mauritiana is a lovely small country, located towards the Northwest of Africa on the Atlantic ocean coastline and encompassed by Morroco towards the North, with Mali and Algeria on the East.
We first headed towards the Adrar, which is a lovely group of brown and pink plateaux slithered with dunes and crossed by deep canyons, which are sheltered by palm groves. We were mesmerised by the beauty of this Mauritiana’s crown, which offers many natural wonders and cultural sights, depicting ethnicity of Africa. The Adrar mainly consists of Saharan towns called, Oudane and Chinguetti having large sand dunes with the camel rides, hot air ballooning and trekking routes on the offer.
We took a long hot air balloon riding, giving us a bird’s eye view of the desert and the lovely sand dunes. That was surely worth a visit and saw many heritage sights in the Adrar that were truly awe inspiring. We then went to Chinguetti, which is one of the most beautiful and attractive medivieal caravan towns of the Sahara, offering incredible historical aura and sights to see.
We saw some of the libraries and took a long walk through the ruined old village. We also took a camel ride to move through the sand dunes. We then went to Auberge des Caravanes, which is supposed to be the oldest auberge in the town, is flocked by many tourists. The Auberge offers a great view from the top.
This often referred to as date palm oasis, which was once a majestic Saharan trading city and now has become one of the holy cities of Islam. We say many foreigners like us flocking to this city, because it has easy acess to desert towns and a variety of desert treks for adventure enthusiasts. We as recommended by our friend who has already been to this place, went to see the labyrinth lanes of Le Ksar, which is a new town with lovely market, separated by the old town by a flat wadi or a road.
After seeing the Chinguetti and hot air ballooning, we headed back to our hotel tired.
The next day we wanted to go to the Nouakchott, the lovely beach with a port. Our first sight of attraction was of course the beach, which is 5 km west of the centre. The beach not as good as any beach in the Carribbean, however, it was indeed refreshing for couple of hours. We took a dip in the beach, enjoyed the Sun and the Sand and headed towards the town. The town is full of activities, with entertainment options, many restaurants to eat and dine and cafes to grab a bite. After satiating our hunger at one of the French restaurants, we headed towards the Port de Peche, which is an incredible market offering colourful and exciting sight to the eyes. We wanted to experience how fish comes in from the port and how they are sold in the market. We reached there in the afternoon, which was the best time to capture the moments of people dragging heavy fishing nets and displaying the fish in the baskets. The boats are pained in brightly vivid colours to make the entire scene look even more better and colourful.
Well, I really wanted to see one of the mosques at Nouakchott, I asked my wife to stand outside, and I rushed inside the Grand Mosquee, which is a surely a must visit place for all travellers. Its magnificence and architecture was indeed awe-inspiring. I was there for only 15 minutes, but liked it to my heart’s content.
Our next sight of interest was the Musee National, the very famous museum of the town. I, specifically have an interest in the Moorish culture, therefore, this was something I was looking forward to. The museum is located in the building, called as the Ministry of culture with the second level showing latest ethnographic photos and items from the Moorish society and the first level exhibiting archaeological items and collections.
After this, to delight my wife’s shopping spirit, I took her to Marche Capitale, which is a market place for a variety of things including souvenirs, silver jewellery, brass teapots, beads, cushions, and grigri. My wife loves clothes and she kind of bought 10 lovely tie and dye and batik dresses for herself and her sister.
Completely exhausted with the shopping and sightseeing, we decided to relax at the African restaurant in the town and talk over drinks and food.
The third day of our tour included our visit to the Nouadhibou, located on Cap Blanc, which is furtheron the northwestern part of Mauritiana. We took a car to reach this place, and the drive was elating as the road was smooth and the views were breath taking with white sands on both the sides without any vegetation.
While going from Nouakchott to Nouadhibou, we met the tribe that is popular for having a close relationship with wild dolphins. These dolphins are caught by the fishermen from the tribe that dives through and catches the dolphins to get the share.
Our main attraction in Nouadhibou was the iron train. Since we had done a lot of sightseeing in the last couple of days, we wanted to do something adventurous and interesting. We had heard a lot of the iron ore train from Noudadhibou to Choum, which is 2.5 km long with 3 locomotives. It is the biggest train in the world, and we certainly did not want to miss the opportunity. We boarded the train at 5.30 PM because that is the time when passengers are allowed to board it. We boarded it and it took around 12 hours to reach the destination. The train was quite punctual and it started off on time. The entire train was empty and we kind of immersed in the dust because of the Sahara desert, however, it was worth the adventure. We arrived early morning and boarded the truck to Atar.
Atar is the capital region, which is a sanctuary that comes in the way of Salt caravans and has a market. It has now many flat roofed houses with old quarter, Ksar and palm groves.We spent the whole good day there to get the feel of Mauritania, meeting people, eating the local food, and shopping for people back at home.
Last, but not the least we wanted to spend a peaceful day at The Parc National du Banc D’Arguin, which is popular for bird watching. Me and my wife , love birds and animals so this was something we really looked forward to. We stopped here and were surprised to see so many birds including white pelicans, pink flamingos, spoonbills, egrets, herons, and waders. It was indeed an enjoyable time for both of us
The days had ended and we started packing for our come back. Different, yes very different experience it was for both us to have visited a Muslim country, enjoyed, met many people, tribe, and ate their authentic African food. We really enjoyed our trip to Mauritiana!