The largely-desert country presents a cultural contrast, with an Arab-Berber population to the north and black Africans to the south. Many of its people are nomads. In the Middle Ages Mauritania was the cradle of the Almoravid movement, which spread Islam throughout the region and for a while controlled the Islamic part of Spain.
Mauritania is a large African country situated in the northwestern parts of the continent on the Atlantic coast. Occupies an area of 1,030,700sq.km. and a population of around 3.2 million inhabitants, of which nearly 900,000 live in the capital Nouakchott. It borders with Western Sahara, Algeria, Mali and Senegal. If you look at a map of Africa will clearly see how straight the border lines are, resembling a geometric figure. The reason is that, unlike countries in Europe whose borders follow natural land forms such as mountains or rivers, the borders of Mauritania are outlined in the distant colonial past and are not consistent with relief forms and natural features.
The main fascination lies in the spectacular and breathtaking sites that offer epic sand dunes, the massive green oases and eye-catching plateaus stretched vehemently on Mauritania’s Adrar region landscapes giving this country a fresh breath. Moreover, Mauritania retains its top attraction aspect with the biggest monolith found nowhere in Africa but only in Mauritania.
Mauritania is a huge but sparsely populated country. Its position between North and West Africa, has made Mauritania a blend of both worlds. Contrary to neighbouring Morocco, Mauritania does not receive many tourists. Despite the challenging conditions of the road network, there are oasis towns with beautiful sceneries well worth visiting.
Adrar, a region 400 kilometres (250 miles) northeast of the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott, once had had a small but thriving excursion business, offering the extremes and the beauty of the desert to European travellers with a taste for adventure. The Adrar is the undoubted jewel in Mauritania's crown, but sadly it remains firmly off-limits for security reasons – all Western governments currently advise their nationals against travelling to the Adrar. When it again becomes safe to visit, it's epic Saharan country, and shows the great desert in all its variety: the ancient Saharan towns of Chinguetti and Ouadâne, mighty sand dunes that look sculpted by an artist, vast rocky plateaus and mellow oases fringed with date palms.