Nouadhibou, Mauritania

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Nouadhibou, Mauritania

Region: Dakhlet Nouadhibou

Geographic Coordinates: 20.933300, -17.033300
Temperature Range: 20.0°C to 40.0°C (68°F to 104°F)
Climate: Dry and hot with very little rainfall.
Population: 118000
Language: Hassaniya Arabic

Nouadhibou is a coastal city located in Mauritania, Situated on the Atlantic Ocean. It’s the second-largest city in the country and serves as a significant fishing port for both domestic and international markets. The economy of Nouadhibou revolves around fishing, Shipping, And mining industries. The history of Nouadhibou dates back to pre-colonial times when it was an important trading center for Saharan nomads. Later on, French colonialists established a settlement here in the early 20th century that became an essential military base during World War II.

After Mauritania gained independence from France in 1960, Nouadhibou continued to grow as a commercial hub. Due to its strategic location near Western Sahara’s border, Nouadhibou has become an important transit point for trade between North Africa and West Africa. In recent years, It has also become a popular destination for tourists interested in exploring Mauritania’s unique natural landscapes such as Banc d’Arguin National Park – one of Africa’s most significant bird habitats.

Cap Blanc is one of the most notable landmarks of Nouadhibou – it’s a rocky promontory that juts out into the ocean where thousands of migratory birds can be seen nesting each year. Another attraction is Plage de l’Amour (Love Beach), Which is known for its pristine white sand beaches and crystal-clear waters perfect for swimming or snorkeling. Nouadhibou also boasts several museums that showcase its cultural heritage including Musée National de Mauritanie which houses artifacts from ancient Islamic civilizations and traditional Mauritanian crafts such as pottery making and weaving.

In addition to its natural beauty and cultural heritage sites, Visitors can experience local cuisine including fresh seafood dishes like grilled fish served with spicy sauce or couscous prepared with lamb meatballs – both popular dishes among locals. Overall, Nouadhibou offers visitors an authentic glimpse into Mauritanian culture and history, As well as a chance to explore some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in Africa. Its unique blend of ancient traditions and modern industries makes it an ideal destination for travelers seeking an off-the-beaten-path adventure.

Important Landmarks

  1. Cap Blanc: A peninsula located on the outskirts of Nouadhibou that is known for its unique geological formations and white sand beaches.
  2. The Iron Ore Train: A train that transports iron ore from the Zouérat mine to the port of Nouadhibou. The train is one of the longest in the world and offers a unique experience for tourists.
  3. Banc d’Arguin National Park: A protected area that spans over 12,000 square kilometers and is home to a diverse range of bird species including flamingos, pelicans, and terns.
  4. Port de Pêche de Nouadhibou: A bustling fishing port where visitors can see local fishermen bringing in their daily catch.
  5. Plage de l’Amour: A beautiful beach located just outside of town that is popular among tourists for swimming and sunbathing.
  6. Fort Gouraud: An old French colonial fort built in 1909 that now serves as a museum showcasing local history and culture.
  7. Mosquée Abidine: One of the largest mosques in Mauritania with stunning architecture featuring intricate tile work and calligraphy.
  8. Marché aux Poissons: The fish market where locals come to buy fresh seafood caught by fishermen from nearby waters.

Note – Please check travel advisories before planning a trip as some areas might be unsafe due to political instability or natural disasters etc..

Primary Industries

  1. Nouadhibou is a major fishing port and industrial center in Mauritania.
  2. The city’s economy is dominated by the fishing industry, which accounts for a significant portion of the country’s exports.
  3. Other major industries in Nouadhibou include mining, shipping, and logistics.
  4. The city also has a growing tourism industry, with many visitors coming to explore the nearby Banc d’Arguin National Park and other natural attractions.
  5. Additionally, there are several small businesses and shops throughout the city that cater to both locals and tourists alike.

Noteable History

  1. Nouadhibou was established as a French trading post in 1903 and remained under French colonial rule until Mauritania gained independence in 1960.
  2. Nouadhibou was a major hub for the trans-Saharan slave trade, with many slaves being transported through the city to other parts of Africa and beyond.
  3. The fishing industry is a major part of the economy in Nouadhibou, with large fleets of fishing boats operating out of the city’s port.
  4. Ahmed Ould Bouceif played a key role in Mauritania’s struggle for independence from France.
  5. Mohamed Mahmoud Ould Louly is a former Prime Minister of Mauritania who served from 2005 to 2007.
  6. During the 1970s and early 1980s, Nouadhibou was an important base for Polisario Front rebels fighting against Spanish colonial rule in Western Sahara.
  7. In recent years, iron ore mining has become an important industry in Nouadhibou, with large deposits located near the city.
  8. Mouloud Mammeri spent time studying traditional Mauritanian culture in Nouadhibou during the mid-20th century as an Algerian writer and anthropologist.
  9. Cheikh Saadbouh Camara is a prominent Islamic scholar who hails from Nouadhibou and has written extensively on Islamic law and jurisprudence.
  10. There has been significant investment in expanding port facilities at Nouadhibou to accommodate larger ships and increase capacity for exports such as iron ore and fish through port expansion projects recently undertaken there.

Museums and Things To See

  1. Port de Pêche: This is the main fishing port in Nouadhibou and is a bustling hub of activity where visitors can see local fishermen bringing in their catches.
  2. Banc d’Arguin National Park: Located just outside of Nouadhibou, this park is home to a diverse range of wildlife including flamingos, pelicans, and turtles.
  3. Galerie Zeinart: This contemporary art gallery features works by Mauritanian artists as well as international artists.
  4. Fort de l’Eau Monument: This historic monument was built by the French in the early 20th century and served as a military outpost during World War II.
  5. Musée National de Nouadhibou: The national museum showcases the history and culture of Mauritania with exhibits on traditional crafts, music, and clothing.
  6. Plage de Cap Blanc: This beautiful beach is located just outside of Nouadhibou and offers stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean.
  7. Marché aux Poissons: The fish market in Nouadhibou is a fascinating place to visit where visitors can see local fishermen selling their catches to buyers from all over Mauritania.
  8. Parc National du Diawling: Located near the border with Senegal, this national park is home to a wide range of bird species including pelicans, flamingos, and egrets.
  9. Le Phare de l’Aiguille Monument: This historic lighthouse was built by the French in 1910 and still stands today as an important navigational aid for ships entering the port at Nouadhibou.
  10. La Grotte aux Chauves-Souris Cave System: Located just outside of town, this cave system is home to thousands of bats that can be seen flying out at dusk each evening.


  • Grilled Fish: Nouadhibou is renowned for its fresh seafood, and grilled fish is a favorite dish.
  • Couscous: A traditional meal made from semolina grains, vegetables, and meat.
  • Thieboudienne: A rice-based dish with fish and vegetables cooked in tomato sauce.
  • Restaurant Le Pirate: This restaurant specializes in fresh seafood dishes like grilled fish and octopus salad.
  • Restaurant La Guinguette: This restaurant offers a variety of local dishes including couscous and thieboudienne.
  • Restaurant La Corniche: Located on the beachfront, this restaurant serves seafood dishes such as grilled fish and lobster.
  • Restaurant Chez Fatima: This restaurant serves traditional Mauritanian meals like camel meat stew (tharid) and lamb skewers (brochettes).
  • Café de Paris: A café that provides French pastries, coffee, tea sandwiches among other light meals.

  • Parks and Recreation

    1. Parc National du Banc d’Arguin – This national park offers bird-watching tours and opportunities to see marine life such as dolphins and sea turtles.
    2. Plage de l’Amitié – A beautiful beach where visitors can swim, sunbathe, and enjoy water sports like surfing.
    3. Marché aux Poissons – The fish market is a popular spot to watch fishermen bring in their catch of the day.
    4. Port de Pêche Artisanal – The artisanal fishing port is a great place to watch fishermen at work and buy fresh seafood.
    5. Centre Culturel Français de Nouadhibou – The French Cultural Center offers cultural events such as concerts, exhibitions, and film screenings.
    6. Stade Cheikha Boidiya – A sports stadium where locals gather to watch soccer matches.
    7. Parc des Sports et Loisirs – This public park has playgrounds for children, picnic areas for families, and walking trails for hikers.
    8. Musée National de Mauritanie – Displays artifacts from the country’s history including traditional clothing attire used by the people of Mauritania.
    9. Traditional markets like Souk El Mina (fish market) or Souk El Hadaba (clothes market) are also worth visiting if you’re interested in local culture or shopping for souvenirs.


    Dream, Travel, Repeat.

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