The Islamic Republic of Mauritania is a developing country located in a conflict-filled region. There is a general threat of terrorism in Mauritania due to porous borders against neighbors in the Sahel area. Attacks are often random and can hit areas frequented by tourists and foreigners. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises against staying in Mauritania which is not strictly necessary.
Political unrest: Demonstrations are generally peaceful, but some have led to clashes with police and the use of tear gas and violence. Political rallies and demonstrations should be avoided. You should follow local advice on places to avoid, and always follow the instructions given by local security forces.
Crime: The level of crime is moderate, but increasing. You should avoid the unlit and isolated beach of Nouakchott and the “Le Cinquieme district” after dark. A number of thefts and incidents of violence have been reported in these areas in recent years, and there is an increase in the number of “carjackings” and thefts against foreign citizens. Elsewhere in the country one should not stay alone or as a couple, but travel in groups.
Road safety : The roads in Mauritania are generally poor and traveling in Mauritania is difficult. Some main roads are paved, otherwise the country is primarily a desert area with poor infrastructure. Use cars with four-wheel drive, check the tide at coastal roads. Traveling alone is not advisable; Travel in a convoy and make sure you always have enough water and fuel. Sailing in the harbor at Nouakchott can be dangerous due to the number of shallow shipwrecks.
Terrorism and kidnapping danger: There is a general threat to terrorism in Mauritania. Attacks are often random and can hit areas frequented by tourists and foreigners. The porous borders of the Sahel region, of which Mauritania is a part, make it easier for terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda in Maghrib (AQMI) and other regional Islamist groups, such as Al Mourabitoun, to operate across borders. Areas east and north of the country should be avoided. The areas towards Western Sahara are also mined.
- Countryaah: Nouakchott is the capital of Mauritania. Check to find information of population, geography, history, and economy about the capital city.
The establishment of AQMI in January 2007 has significantly increased the terrorist threat in the Sahel region. In 2017, AQMI merged with three other terrorist groups in the region – Al Mourabitoun, Ansar Dine and Macina Katibat – and formed the terrorist alliance JNIM, led by Ansar Dines Iyad Ag Ghali. The group has assumed responsibility for most terrorist acts in Mali and Burkina Faso over the past year.
Mauritania is a target for terrorist groups and a number of terrorist acts were carried out between 2007 and 2011. However, between 2011 and 2018, no terrorist attacks took place in Mauritania. The government is working preventively with the army to prevent terrorism. In particular, an upgrade of the military patrolling at the Mali border has been an important step. When traveling in Mauritania, however, you should take reasonable precautions. Keep a low profile and maintain a high level of vigilance, especially in public places and places where there are larger crowds.
Mauritania took over the leadership of the G5 Sahel Joint Force regional anti-terror force in 2018, and since then there have been a few occasional attacks against military patrols in the border areas against Mali. No civilian targets have so far been hit.
The kidnapping and collection of ransom for Western hostages has been one of the main sources of revenue for terrorist groups in the region. Today, there are hostages being held as prisoners in the region, some of whom have been prisoners for several years. The groups operate directly or through criminal gangs who carry out the kidnappings on their behalf, often for a fee.
The police emergency number is + 222-45252158.
The embassy in Bamako (Mali) is accredited to Mauritania and can be contacted on +47 23 98 28 00. The embassy is open at. 8-16 (local time) Monday-Thursday and 8-13 on Friday. Outside the embassy’s working hours, the public can contact the UD’s operational center on Tel: +47 23 95 00 00 or by e-mail: [email protected]
Please note that entry regulations may change. The Foreign Service is not responsible if the following information on entry regulations or visa requirements is changed at short notice. It is the responsibility of the traveler to ensure that travel documents are valid for entry and to familiarize themselves with the current entry rules for each country.
Norwegian citizens must have a visa to enter Mauritania. If one arrives via Nouakchott International Airport, a visa can be issued upon entry. At other border crossings, visas must be obtained in advance. The passport must be valid for a minimum of three months after the end of the journey. A minimum of four weeks is required for the visa application. To obtain a “business visa” you must have a formal invitation from the host/partner in Mauritania.
The Mauritania Embassy in Berlin covers Norway and visa requests should be directed to the Mauritania Embassy in Berlin.
Nouakchott Airport is the main entry point for travel to Mauritania. Airport security can be low and corruption occurs. It is advisable to book a transfer/ taxi from the hotel upon arrival at the airport. When traveling elsewhere in Nouakchott city, travelers are encouraged to follow well-known, possibly pre-booked transfers from hotels or hosts.
Crossing the border road to Mauritania can be time consuming and officials may request payment before they allow you to cross. Today there are official border crossings from Algeria, Morocco, Mali and Senegal, but the route from Senegal is considered the safest. The border with Algeria is currently closed. Mauritanian customs can enforce strict rules on the temporary import or export of items such as firearms, drugs, alcohol and pork products. Travelers who are caught trying to bring alcoholic beverages into the country can risk immediate fines, confiscation and/or imprisonment.
The local currency is ouguiya and cannot be imported or exported. Tollers have previously confiscated ouguiya from travelers trying to leave the country with banknotes.
Norwegian citizens are encouraged to register their travels on www.reiseregistrering.no. Furthermore, Norwegian citizens are encouraged to have valid travel insurance.
There are cases of malaria and dengue fever in Mauritania. Gulf vaccine is not mandatory for entry, but travelers are encouraged to vaccinate. The health service in Mauritania is poor and all travelers are encouraged to buy travel insurance that covers home transport in case of serious illness. Reference is made to the National Institute of Public Health for health professional travel advice. For vaccines, see the recommendations of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.
Local customs, languages, laws and rules: Since Islamic beliefs and ideals have a strong place in Mauritanian society, conservative attire and behavior are encouraged. Only shoulders, short skirts and shorts are not recommended, especially in areas with few westerners. The Mauritanian government prohibits the printing and distribution of non-Islamic religious material, although possession of these materials is legal.
Credit cards can only be used at a few hotels in Nouakchott and in the northwestern city of Nouadhibou. Credit card fraud is a problem, so it is strongly recommended to pay cash bills. ATMs are available in Nouakchott and other major cities, but these are not always safe. Foreign currencies can be exchanged in banks and a variety of exchange offices, but this service is not always available without prior notice or agreement. There is a risk of receiving counterfeit banknotes, even from banks, which do not always have systems for detecting counterfeit banknotes.
Arabic is the official language. French is the first foreign language and is well-versed in the larger cities. Local tribal languages are also used. English is less common
The Mauritanian constitution recognizes Islam as the only religion of citizens and state. Religious freedom is restricted by the laws of the country. The Mauritanian Criminal Code criminalizes all insults against Islamic norms and morals, and the penalties can range from fines to capital punishment. Mission in Mauritania is illegal and may result in deportation, arrest, prosecution or imprisonment. Gay practices are also punishable. Photography of public and religious buildings, as well as of public officials can lead to prosecution.
Norway does not have a diplomatic presence in Mauritania. The Norwegian authorities’ ability to provide consular assistance to Norwegian nationals is limited. Mauritania is covered by the Norwegian Embassy in Bamako, Mali.
According to allcitycodes, the area code for calls to Mauritania is + 222. The time difference between Mauritania and Norway is two hours.
For more information on travel to Mauritania, please visit US , French and UK websites.