• Mauritania


    The official name of the country is the Islamic Republic of Mauritania. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Western Sahara in the north, Algeria in the northeast, Mali in the east and southeast, and Senegal in the southwest. As of 1 Januarythe population of Mauritania was estimated to be 4, people.

    With an area of 1, square kilometerssquare milesMauritania is the 28th largest country in the worldand the 11th largest in Africa. Nouakchott is the capital and largest city of Mauritania. It is one of the largest cities in the Sahara. The city also serves as the administrative and economic centre of Mauritania. Kediet ej Jill at meters 3, feet above sea level is the highest peak in Mauritania. The mountain and its surrounding area are rich in iron deposits.

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    Due to the magnetic field, compasses cannot function on the mountain. Similar magnetic fields allowed the discovery of other deposits in the region in the s. Fringing the Atlantic coast, the park comprises sand-dunes, coastal swamps, small islands and shallow coastal waters.

    It is a major breeding site for migratory birds. A wide range of species include flamingos, broad-billed sandpipers, pelicans, and terns. The Ancient Ksour of Ouadane, Chinguetti, Tichitt and Oualata are founded in the 11th and 12th centuries to serve the caravans crossing the Sahara, these trading and religious centers became focal points of Islamic culture. They have managed to preserve an urban fabric that evolved between the 12th and 16th centuries.

    Typically, houses with patios crowd along narrow streets around a mosque with a square minaret. They illustrate a traditional way of life centred on the nomadic culture of the people of the western Sahara. Not only is the view from the pier breathtaking, but the activities of the fisherman coming in after a long day at sea is enchanting. Hundreds of local men drag pounds of nets from their sailing vessels onto the shore to the fish mongers, who skillfully fillet the catches to sell at the nearby market.


    Mosque Saudique is a mosque in Nouakchott. The mosque was built by Saudi money. Once thought to be an impact crater due to its circularity, the unusual formation is now widely believed to have been caused by the erosion of what was once a geological dome.

    The country derives its name from the ancient Berber kingdom of Mauretania, which existed from the 3rd century BC to the 7th century in the far north of modern-day Morocco and Algeria. French colonization at the beginning of the 20th century brought legal prohibitions against slavery and an end to interclan warfare. A majority of the population of Mauritania depends on agriculture and livestock for a livelihoodeven though most of the nomads and many subsistence farmers were forced into the cities by recurrent droughts in the s and s.

    Oil was discovered in Mauritania in in the offshore Chinguetti field. Although potentially significant for the Mauritanian economy, its overall influence is difficult to predict. Mauritania was the last country to legally abolish slavery ; it only became punishable as a criminal act in Prev Article Next Article. Mauritania is a country in Western Africa.

    The official language is Arabic. Mauritania has 2 national parks. You may also like. Add Comment Cancel reply.We use cookies to collect information about how you use GOV. We use this information to make the website work as well as possible and improve government services. You can change your cookie settings at any time. As countries respond to the COVID pandemic, including travel and border restrictions, the FCO advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. Any country or area may restrict travel without notice.

    If you live in the UK and are currently travelling abroad, you are strongly advised to return nowwhere and while there are still commercial routes available. Many airlines are suspending flights and many airports are closing, preventing flights from leaving. Additional advice to British nationals who are still in Mauritania following the suspension of commercial flights and the closure of all land borders.

    Mauritania : Destiny of the Sands - Documentary

    See information on measures introduced in Mauritania to limit the spread of the virus. As of Tuesday morning, 17 March, flights between Mauritania and all other countries were suspended. All land border crossings are now closed. Find out how to return to the UK from Mauritania. See coronavirus travel advice for guidance on international travel. Sign up for email alerts for Mauritania travel advice.

    Existing advice for Mauritania remains in place:. Following the attack on the coalition base at Taji in Iraq on 11 March, and subsequent US airstrikes, tensions may be raised across the region. There is a possibility of an increased threat against Western interests, including against UK citizens. You should remain vigilant and keep up to date with the latest developments, including via the media and this travel advice.

    Terrorists are likely to try to carry out attacks in Mauritania, including kidnapping. You should be especially vigilant in public places and monitor local media. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners. See Terrorism. Consular support is not available from the British Embassy in Nouakchott. Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.

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    Accept all cookies. Set cookie preferences.View Alerts and Messages Archive. A passport, visa, and evidence of yellow fever vaccination are required. Mauritanian visas can be obtained at most Mauritanian Embassies or at the Nouakchott airport on arrival. Overseas inquiries should be made at the nearest Mauritanian embassy or consulate. The U. Embassy in Nouakchott cannot provide assistance to private citizens seeking Mauritanian visas. Terrorism: The U. Travel in Mauritania is discouraged, particularly in the easternmost region, due to activities by terrorist groups including al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb AQIMwhich are active in the neighboring regions of Mali.

    Be particularly vigilant when traveling by road outside of populated areas. Embassy discourages travel outside of urban areas unless in a convoy accompanied by an experienced guide, and even then only if equipped with sturdy vehicles and ample provisions. Nighttime driving should be avoided.


    Travel at night between cities in Mauritania is prohibited for U. Embassy staff and all driving outside of the capital of Nouakchott requires a minimum two vehicle convoy. Landmines remain a danger along the border with the Western Sahara and travelers should cross only at designated border posts. Political concerns: Protests and political rallies occur frequently in Mauritania, and can sometimes turn violent.

    Embassy urges U. A number of homes and private individuals, including U. In Nouakchott, armed robberies and burglaries are occurring at homes as well as on busy streets in broad daylight. Some of these incidents have been violent, and the use of knives and other weapons is becoming more common.

    Because of the increase in criminal activity, U. Embassy staff and their family members are prohibited from walking alone outside of designated areas and times. Given the lack of government regulation of taxi fares and poor regular maintenance, U. Embassy staff and their family members are prohibited from using public transportation and local taxi services.

    Domestic Violence: U. Tourists are considered to be participating in activities at their own risk. Emergency response and subsequent appropriate medical treatment is not available in-country. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage. If you break local laws in Mauritania, your U.

    Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U. Embassy immediately. Mauritania recognizes Islam as the sole religion of its citizens and the state. Religious freedom is restricted and affronts against Islamic modesty and morals carry penalties which range from fines to the death penalty.Independent from France inMauritania annexed the southern third of the former Spanish Sahara now Western Sahara in but relinquished it after three years of raids by the Polisario guerrilla front seeking independence for the territory.

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    A series of presidential elections that he held were widely seen as flawed. A bloodless coup in August deposed President TAYA and ushered in a military council that oversaw a transition to democratic rule.


    AZIZ was subsequently elected president in July and sworn in the following month. AZIZ sustained injuries from an accidental shooting by his own troops in October but has continued to maintain his authority.

    He was reelected in to a second and final term as president according to the present constitution. AZIZ will be replaced through elections scheduled for June The country continues to experience ethnic tensions among three major groups: Arabic-speaking descendants of slaves HaratinesArabic-speaking "White Moors" Beydaneand members of Sub-Saharan ethnic groups mostly originating in the Senegal River valley Halpulaar, Soninke, and Wolof.

    Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb AQIM launched a series of attacks in Mauritania between andmurdering American and foreign tourists and aid workers, attacking diplomatic and government facilities, and ambushing Mauritanian soldiers and gendarmes.

    A successful strategy against terrorism that combines dialogue with the terrorists and military actions has prevented the country from further terrorist attacks since However, AQIM and similar groups remain active in neighboring Mali and elsewhere in the Sahel region and continue to pose a threat to Mauritanians and foreign visitors. Mauritania's large youth cohort is vital to its development prospects, but available schooling does not adequately prepare students for the workplace. Girls continue to be underrepresented in the classroom, educational quality remains poor, and the dropout rate is high.

    Women's restricted access to education and discriminatory laws maintain gender inequality - worsened by early and forced marriages and female genital cutting. The denial of education to black Moors also helps to perpetuate slavery. Although Mauritania abolished slavery in the last country in the world to do so and made it a criminal offense inthe millenniums-old practice persists largely because anti-slavery laws are rarely enforced and the custom is so ingrained.

    Drought, poverty, and unemployment have driven outmigration from Mauritania since the s. The Mauritania-Senegal conflict forced thousands of black Mauritanians to take refuge in Senegal and pushed labor migrants toward the Gulf, Libya, and Europe in the late s and early s.

    Mauritania has accepted migrants from neighboring countries to fill labor shortages since its independence in and more recently has received refugees escaping civil wars, including tens of thousands of Tuaregs who fled Mali in Mauritania was an important transit point for Sub-Saharan migrants moving illegally to North Africa and Europe.

    In the mids, as border patrols increased in the Strait of Gibraltar, security increased around Spain's North African enclaves Ceuta and Melillaand Moroccan border controls intensified, illegal migration flows shifted from the Western Mediterranean to Spain's Canary Islands.

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    Indeparture points moved southward along the West African coast from Morocco and Western Sahara to Mauritania's two key ports Nouadhibou and the capital Nouakchottand illegal migration to the Canaries peaked at almost 32, The numbers fell dramatically in the following years because of joint patrolling off the West African coast by Frontex the EU's border protection agencySpain, Mauritania, and Senegal; the expansion of Spain's border surveillance system; and the European economic downturn.

    Mauritania's economy is dominated by extractive industries oil and minesfisheries, livestock, agriculture, and services. Half the population still depends on farming and raising livestock, even though many nomads and subsistence farmers were forced into the cities by recurrent droughts in the s, s, s, and Recently, GDP growth has been driven largely by foreign investment in the mining and oil sectors. Mauritania's extensive mineral resources include iron ore, gold, copper, gypsum, and phosphate rock, and exploration is ongoing for tantalum, uranium, crude oil, and natural gas.

    Extractive commodities make up about three-quarters of Mauritania's total exports, subjecting the economy to price swings in world commodity markets. Mauritania processes a total of 1, tons of fish per year, but overexploitation by foreign and national fleets threaten the sustainability of this key source of revenue.

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    The economy is highly sensitive to international food and extractive commodity prices. Other risks to Mauritania's economy include its recurring droughts, dependence on foreign aid and investment, and insecurity in neighboring Mali, as well as significant shortages of infrastructure, institutional capacity, and human capital.

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    In DecemberMauritania and the IMF agreed to a three year agreement under the Extended Credit Facility to foster economic growth, maintain macroeconomic stability, and reduce poverty. We read every letter or e-mail we receive, and we will convey your comments to CIA officials outside OPA as appropriate. However, with limited staff and resources, we simply cannot respond to all who write to us.Story John D. Moulkheir Mint Yarba escaped slavery in She has asked the Mauritanian courts to prosecute her slave masters.

    The master who raped Moulkheir to produce the child wanted to punish his slave. He told her she would work faster without the child on her back.

    Trying to pull herself together, Moulkheir asked if she could take a break to give her daughter a proper burial.

    Instead of understanding, they ordered me to shut up. Moulkheir told her story to CNN in December, when a reporter and videographer visited Mauritania — a vast, bone-dry nation on the western fringe of the Sahara — to document slavery in the place where the practice is arguably more common, more readily accepted and more intractable than anywhere else on Earth. That happened innearly years after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in the United States.

    So far, only one case has been successfully prosecuted. Even knowing those facts before we departed, what we found on the ground in West Africa astonished us. Mauritania feels stuck in time in ways both quaint and sinister. That reality permeates every aspect of Mauritanian life — from the dark-skinned boys who serve mint-flavored tea at restaurants to the clothes people wear. A man wearing a powder-blue garment that billows at the arms and has fancy gold embroidery on the chest is almost certainly free and comes from the traditional slave-owning class of White Moors, who are lighter-skinned Arabs.

    A woman in a loud tie-dye print that covers her hair, but not her arms, is likely a slave. Her arms are exposed, against custom, so she can work. The issue is so sensitive here that we had to conduct most of our interviews in secret, often in the middle of the night and in covert locations.

    Our official reason for entering the country was to report on the science of locust swarms; our contacts for that story were unaware of our plan to research slavery. If we were caught talking with an escaped slave like Moulkheir, we could have been arrested or thrown out of the country without our notebooks and footage. That point was made clear to us in a meeting with the national director of audiovisual communications, Mohamed Yahya Ould Haye, who told us journalists who attempted to report on such topics were jailed or ejected from the country.

    More important, getting caught talking about slavery could have put our sources at risk. Anti-slavery activists say they have been arrested and tortured for their work.Flights Vacation Rentals Restaurants Things to do.

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    Mauritania Vacation Rentals.Dozens killed as migrant boat sinks off Mauritania coast. Vessel left the Gambia last week and had been carrying at least people. Published: 5 Dec Published: 1 Mar Women's rights and gender equality Jail fear prevents women in Mauritania from filing rape complaints, study finds.

    Campaigners demand change to law that means survivors of sexual violence can be imprisoned for adultery. Published: 6 Sep Modern-day slavery in focus Mauritanian presidential hopeful arrested amid fears of political foul play. Campaigners voice concern over imprisonment of anti-slavery activist Biram Dah Abeid on eve of legislative elections.

    Published: 9 Aug Modern-day slavery in focus The unspeakable truth about slavery in Mauritania. Though outlawed, slavery persists in Mauritania. Photojournalist Seif Kousmate spent a month there photographing and talking to people touched by its blight.

    Published: 8 Jun My best shot Dawit L Petros's best photograph: a shipwrecked Japanese trawler.


    Published: 17 May Wheat in heat: the 'crazy idea' that could combat food insecurity. Durum wheat varieties can withstand 40C heat along the Senegal River basin, and could producetonnes of food. Published: 23 Mar Modern-day slavery in focus Mauritania failing to tackle pervasive slavery, says African Union.

    Published: 29 Jan Plan for 5-nation army in the Sahel strongly backed by France and Italy but funding resisted by Trump administration. Published: 30 Oct Aid alone won't stop refugees fleeing to Europe's shores Tony Blair. An international alliance must create a plan for the fragile African states of the Sahel to prevent catastrophe in a region already buckling under the strain.

    Published: 18 Sep Published: 25 Aug Guardian world networks In an age of autocracy, meet the dissidents speaking truth to power.

    Strongmen are back in vogue, but these six people are determined to defy the despots. Published: 22 Feb Modern-day slavery in focus African Union hearing on child slaves hailed as milestone for Mauritania.


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