I don’t really know why I romanticised that Mauritania would be a land of sweeping golden Saharan sand dunes against the deep blue Atlantic sea. Unsurprisingly first impressions did not match with the fantasy. Starting with the interminable wait at the border and then the drive to our first stop, Mauritania’s second city Nouadibou. All around are typical grubby African streetscapes set among flat arid wastelands. On our first evening we drive over roadless countryside on a 4WD bush bash to a 400 year old Spanish built lighthouse and then down to a beach that used to be the site of the ship’s graveyard one of the iconic pictures online of things to see here. The ships are gone and we just enjoyed sunset there.

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Sadly the new ships’ graveyard is being tidied up by the ubiquitous Chinese (what an altruistic nation!) and whereas last year there were 15 wrecked ships here today there are only 2 and by next year there will be none.


The rest of this city has absolutely nothing scenic to offer. This is Africa!

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