Mauritania was an exotic holiday destination until a few years ago, when Al Qaeda operatives began targeting foreign nationals for kidnap. The Paris-Dakar Rally was moved to South America as a result and tourists are now rare. The border regions have a high risk of banditry. Much of the country is part of the Sahara desert.

Atar has huge canyons and Moorish ruins, while Banc d'Arguin is a spectacular national park on the Atlantic Coast with millions of birds among its dunes. Noudhibou, close to the Moroccan border. Its bay has dozens of shipwrecks as captains brought their boats from all over the world to scuttle them there.


Mauritania flag

Why you should go:

For its remoteness and desert landscapes.

Why you shouldn't:

You don't like Al Qaeda.

Map of Mauritania