Your guide to being an expatriate in Mauritania

Caffeinate Your Mauritania Expat Journey: Find Essential Info and Connect with Expatriates Today!

Mauritania, officially the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, is a country located in the Northwest African region. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, Morocco, Algeria, Mali, and Western Sahara. The capital and largest city is Nouakchott. Mauritania has a predominantly desert climate and is known for its rich cultural heritage. The country's economy is predominantly based on fishing, agriculture, and mining.


Expat destinations in Mauritania

Demographics of Mauritania:

Ethnic groups

Other: 7%

White: 20%

Merina: 2%

Beidane: 14%

Haratine: 10%

Black Moor: 15%

Black African: 32%


Pular: most widely spokenAfro-Asiatic language

Punic: ancient

Wolof: also used in neighboring Senegal

Arabic: official

French: spoken by the urban elite

Soninke: Sudanic language

Fulfulde: most widely spoken Chadic language

Religion Overview

Mauritania is an Islamic republic, with the vast majority of the population practicing Sunni Islam. Islam plays a significant role in Mauritanian culture and is integrated into daily life.

Major Religions


Mauritania has a predominantly desert climate, with extremely hot summers and mild winters. The country witnesses scant rainfall and experiences sandstorms known as 'haboobs' in certain parts.

Economy Overview

Mauritania's economy is primarily driven by fishing, which accounts for a significant share of the country's exports and employment opportunities. The country also boasts of significant reserves of iron ore and gold. Agriculture is a significant contributor to the country's economy, with cereals, fruit, and vegetables cultivated in the southern part of Mauritania.

Key Industries

  • Fishing
  • Iron ore mining
  • Gold mining

Major Companies

  • SNIM (Société Nationale Industrielle et Minière): a state-owned mining company
  • SMH (Sociétè Mines de Fer de Hamoud): a state-owned iron ore mining company
  • Socam (Société des Chemins de Fer Mauritaniens): a state-owned railway company

Culture and Language Overview

Mauritania's culture is deeply rooted in its historical past, primarily stemming from its Arab and Berber influences. Music, particularly traditional music such as the Tindéney drums, are an integral part of Mauritanian culture. Mud-brick structures, known as 'Ksars,' are predominant in Mauritania's rural areas.

Cultural Highlights

  • Asni: a traditional handmade Berber rug
  • Tindéney drums: a set of four drums played during traditional ceremonies and celebrations
  • Cave paintings: evidence of the country's ancient population dating back to the pre-Homeric era
  • Annual Goree Festival: a three-day celebratory event hosted in Dakar, celebrating African culture and history

Geography and Landmarks Overview

Mauritania is predominantly composed of desert regions, making it challenging to cultivate vegetation. The country's coastline stretches across thousands of kilometers of pristine beaches, attracting tourists. Lake Rétingan and Banc d'Arguin National Park are significant geographical landmarks, filled with migratory birds and marine life.

Notable Landmarks

  • Lake Rétingan: a UNESCO World Heritage Site comprising an array of salt deposits and fossilized oyster beds formed over millions of years
  • Banc d'Arguin National Park: a national park comprising six islands, known for its birdwatching opportunities and desert flora
  • Boutilims Island: a small island located off the southeastern coast that serves as a UNESCO biosphere reserve

National Holidays

  • January 1: New Year's Day
  • January 3: Commemoration Day for the Victims of Terrorism
  • March 29: Omar Bradley Day
  • April 3: National Day
  • April 22: Earth Day
  • October 18: Independence Day
  • November 12: Prophet Mohammed's Birthday
  • December 19: National and Solidarity-Based Education Day

Political Stability

Mauritania operates as an Islamic Republic, with the President serving as both the Head of State and Government. The country's political system is influenced by religious beliefs, where the State seeks to preserve religion's integrity. The constitution states that the President and legislative members must be Muslims, and Islam serves as the state religion. Mauritania's political stability is a subject of debate, given its frequent changes in political leadership and allegations of human rights abuses.

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