It was a scene straight out of Mad Max. Kilometre upon kilometre of flat white desert sands stretching out to a seemingly infinite horizon under a canopy of dull white clouds. The only interruption to the white monotone was the thin ribbon of black bitumen road, Suddenly the wind springs up and in the dust storm white out the horizon contracts down to a few metres in front of the car. We are at the outskirts of the capitol and ugly squat concrete houses appear. Rubbish litters the roadway and crashed cars are abandoned to rust by the roadside. Perhaps the desert sands will bury all of the chaos as the houses have sand heaped up beside their wall as the Sahara advances in a process described as desertification.

What is the capitol of Mauritania would make a good quiz show question. I certainly didn’t know before I got here. The answer of course is Nouakchott. There is not much to do here. The weather clears as we make it into the city centre and we go to the beach to stroll past row upon row of brightly coloured fishing boats.

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The mosque is pretty and the museum occupies a few minutes of spare time.

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For travellers there is not even the opportunity to kick back with a few drinks as this is an alcohol free Islamic country. I am ready to come home now.