A short 20 minute drive from Nouakchott and you'll reach the largest Camel Market on the West Coast of Africa. Tinweich Camel Market is where all of the local camel traders gather twice a week. This is one busy place with many buyers turning up from across Mauritania and also other neighbouring countries. Very amusing to watch the haggling between buyers and sellers!
In the centre of Nouakchott is Khaimah Tower (also known as QNB Bank), which has a small cafe on the upper level. This is a great spot to get an overview of the city, a few local landmarks, and panoramic photos. I was surprised at the green areas within the city itself!
There's a daily local fish market at the port in Nouakchott, which is a great spot to go and people watch. Whether you go early morning to watch the fishermen reel in their catch, or at the end of the day when the locals are trying to grab a last minute bargain, the whole place has a real buzz about it. The port is directly on the beach, so you can see the whole process. The fish sellers, the fishermen in the ocean, and the buyers turning up in vintage battered up cars as far back as the 1980's.
The drive from Nouakchott to Terjit is a lengthy 400km over 6 hours, but the road conditions are surprisingly good.
Terjit is a Desert Oasis and is a beautiful spot to camp overnight. There's a sense of peace and tranquility about this place, but then there's also hiking trails through lush greenery, panoramic views on the mountain tops, and great star gazing at night.
There's a couple of small desert campsites ran by locals with good facilities and food available.
A one hour drive from Terjit will bring you to Atar. The drive is very picturesque with winding roads through the desert, but Atar itself is simply just a stop off point to re-fuel and pick up local supplies from the markets. If the iron ore train ride is on your itinerary, then this is by far the best spot for you to pick up food and blankets.
In my opinion, the true highlight of Mauritania is the Iron Ore Train Journey. This truly was the adventure of a lifetime. A 14 hour train journey across the Sahara Desert hitching a ride on the back of the longest train in the world (over 3km in length). The desert views, sunrise, and star gazing cannot be beaten! Such an epic experience and one I would recommend. Click here for separate blog post.
The main sport that brings communities together on a global basis is definitely football. Specifically in Africa, many of the locals don't have the necessary means to purchase luxury items like a football, so use other alternatives like a coke can.
I ended up in Choum prior to boarding the Iron Ore Train and found a small shop owner selling footballs. I purchased three for the local children and instantly got involved in a kick around. The look on their faces when receiving an 'actual football' was worth it alone. Note - There's also some cool 'out of service' trains along the tracks in Choum too!
There's a local restaurant in Nouakchott called 'Djeinaba', which has been open for many years. It's locally run by an elderly lady who's regarded as a local celebrity based on the delicious cuisine she serves. Most locals will be able to point you in the right direction of this restaurant. Two points worth noting - The camel stew is a winner, and the restaurant closes early around 3pm.