Mauritania

Mauritania

Use High Level of Caution
Avoid Travel to the following regions: Adrar, Tagant, Tiris Zemmour, and Hodh ech Chargui

The Islamic Republic of Mauritania is situated in western Africa, bordering Morocco, Algeria, Mali, Senegal and Western Sahara, and the Atlantic Ocean on the west. The country is predominately desert, but with a fertile Senegal River valley. The population is about 3.4 million people. Although Arabic is the official language, Pulaar, Soninke, and Wolofa are also recognized national languages. French and Hassaniya are also spoken.

The country was made a colony of France in 1920 and remained so until 1960 when the country attained independence. Mauritania is considered a developing country. The government is an Islamic republic with a president as chief of state and a prime minister as head of government.

The capital, Nouakchott, has some adequate tourist facilities. However, outside the capital, facilities for tourists can be very limited or even non-existent.

Currency MRO: Mauritanian ouguiya
Language Arabic language
Capital Nouakchott
Recent Alerts 1
Latest Alert May 16, 2017 - Two cases of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever from Mauritania now in Senegal

Diseases To Be Aware Of

The diseases listed below are those which occur most often in Mauritania. Other, less frequently encountered diseases might be displayed within the Travel Alerts section if they have occurred recently.

Hepatitis A

There is a significant risk for hepatitis A virus exposure in Mauritania.

Hepatitis B

There is a significant risk for acquiring hepatitis B in Mauritania.

Typhoid Fever

Unvaccinated people can become infected through contaminated food and water in Mauritania, especially when visiting smaller cities, villages, or rural areas where food and water sources may be contaminated.

Malaria

Malaria risk exists throughout the year in the whole country, except in northern areas (Dakhlet-Nouadhibou and Tiris-Zemour). In Adrar and Inchiri there is malaria risk during the rainy season (July to October inclusive).

Yellow Fever

There is a risk of yellow fever transmission in this country. This country requires a yellow fever vaccination certificate for travellers 1 year of age and older arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission. The vaccination is recommended for all travellers aged 9 months and older travelling to areas south of the Sahara Desert, but not for those whose itineraries are limited to areas in the Sahara Desert.

Rabies

Rabies occurs in this country. Travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., campers, hikers, adventure travellers, and cavers) may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals. Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk.

Schistosomiasis

This disease is present in this country and is acquired through contact with fresh water, such as swimming, bathing, or rafting. Well-chlorinated swimming pools and contact with saltwater in oceans or seas will not put travellers at risk for schistosomiasis.

Cholera

Cholera may occur in this country.

Meningitis

Meningitis outbreaks may occur in this country. Travellers who visit during the dry season (December to June) or expect to have prolonged contact with the local population are especially at risk.

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis occurs in this country. Travellers to this country are at risk for tuberculosis if visiting sick friends or family, working in the health care field, or having close prolonged contact with the general population.

Dengue Fever

Dengue fever may occur in this country.

Chikungunya Fever

Chikungunya fever may occur in this country.

Vaccinations to Consider

The following is a list of recommended vaccinations for travelling to Mauritania.

Hepatitis A Vaccine

There is a significant risk of exposure to hepatitis A for this country, therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Hepatitis B Vaccine

There is a significant risk of infection with hepatitis B for this country, therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Typhoid Fever Vaccine

There is a risk of exposure to typhoid fever in this country through consumption of unsafe food and water. Since exposure to unsafe sources is variable within this country, the vaccination against typhoid fever is generally recommended, especially when visiting smaller cities or rural areas, where food and water sources may be contaminated.

Yellow Fever Vaccine

There is a risk of yellow fever transmission in this country. This country requires a yellow fever vaccination certificate for travellers 1 year of age and older arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission. The vaccination is recommended for all travellers aged 9 months and older travelling to areas south of the Sahara Desert, but not for those whose itineraries are limited to areas in the Sahara Desert.

Rabies Vaccine

Vaccination against rabies is recommended for travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., campers, hikers, adventure travellers, and cavers) who may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals. Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk and should be vaccinated.

Meningitis Vaccine

Because this country is located in the sub-Saharan meningitis belt, vaccination against meningitis is recommended if travelling during the dry season (December to June).

Cholera Vaccine

The U.K. NaTHNaC recommends the oral cholera vaccine for some travellers whose activities or medical history put them at increased risk, travelling to areas of active cholera transmission. These risk factors include: aid workers; those going to areas of cholera outbreaks who have limited access to potable water and medical care; travellers for whom the vaccination would be considered potentially beneficial, such as chronic medical conditions.

Medications to Consider

The following is a list of recommended medications for travelling to Mauritania.

Anti-malarial Drugs

Anti-malaria medication is recommended for travellers going to Mauritania. Recommended medications are atovaquone/proguanil, doxycycline, or mefloquine. Anti-malaria drug resistance for chloroquine is present.

Safety and Security in Mauritania

Emergency Numbers

117
118
116 Gendarmerie - outside of cities
118

Personal Safety

The crime rate in Mauritania is moderate. Petty theft and robbery occur. Reports indicate an increase in incidents against foreigners, including theft, robbery and assault. Always avoid the beaches with no security, and avoid all beaches at night. Avoid the district “le Cinquième” in Nouakchott.

Avoid showing signs of wealth. Keep belongings and documents secure at all times. When travelling by car, always keep doors locked and windows closed. Avoid travelling outside urban areas after dusk. It is recommended that anyone travelling outside urban areas be part of a convoy and accompanied by a guide.

Westerners are at risk in Mauritania due to terrorist groups’ activities in the region, including al Qaida, and some countries warn their citizens against travel to this country. Terrorist groups have stated their intent to attack western interests in Mauritania.

Homosexuality is a crime punishable by imprisonment in Mauritania.

The drug laws are severe. Those found in possession of any illegal drugs can receive a prison sentence.

Areas To Avoid

Avoid travel to the following areas due to terrorist activity:

  • Border areas with Mali, Algeria, Morocco and Western Sahara;
  • The Hodh, El Charghi and Hodh El Gharbi regions;
  • The eastern half of the Assaba region (east of Kiffa);
  • Tidjika and the eastern half of the Tagant region of central Mauritania;
  • The Tiris-Zemmour region of northern Mauritania;
  • The eastern half of the Adrar region (east of Chinguetti);
  • The province of Dakhlet-Nouadhibou and Inchiri.

Avoid the road from Nouakchott to the port of Nouadhibou.

Thousands of landmines are buried along the Mauritanian side of the border with the Western Sahara, even as close as a few kilometres from Nouâdhibou. Travellers should cross only at designated border posts.

Extreme Violence

There is a high threat from terrorism, including kidnapping, particularly against foreigners. There is a threat of kidnapping in Tiris Zemmour, Adrag, Tagant and Hidh ech Chargui.

Political Unrest

There have been demonstrations and protests in Mauritania and some have led to clashes between the protesters and the police.

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