The main mosque of Nouakchott is a gift from Saudi Arabia. It’s adjacent to the entrance to the Presidential Palace. Unfortunately it’s forbidden to visit the palace. As a matter of fact it’s heavily guarded and you’ll be warned away!
I read that you can go inside the Olympic stadium, however, when I arrived it was completed locked up. I do recommend taking the risk that it could be open when you go. This is where the Mauritania national team play there African world cup qualifiers. More importantly, you could make some cool pictures in the empty stadium. You may be thinking, when were the Olympics in Nouakchott? Maybe in the future!
How to get from Nouakchott to Rosso
Minivan – Nouakchott to Rosso, Senegal border – 2500 Ouguiyas
The minivan from Nouakchott to Rosso leaves from Carrefour Madrid. Give the address to the taxi driver and tell him you need a taxi to Rosso, he should know where to take you and if not, find another taxi. I arrived at 7am and there were plenty of people to fill up several minivans. The service to Rosso is 2500 ouguiyas.
Once at Rosso, get off at the last stop and you’ll probably be followed by hecklers wanting to help you get through the border. I did need a copy of my visa page to give to an official at the police station, so have this prepared in advance. Do not let any hecklers carry your bag, but do slyly use them as they know the points you have to visit to get your stamp out of the country. You don’t have to pay anyone anything and the heckler who hasn’t let you out of their site probably just wants a small tip or to change your money.
Rosso Border Crossing
Ferry over the Senegal River in Rosso – Free
There are ferries constantly crossing the river over to the Senegalese side of Rosso which is a free service for foot passengers. Despite this, private boats will approach you and try offer you a paid service. I recommend you ignore them.
Police greet the ferry in Senegal, they take your passport and you go straight ahead to the police station and wait for a stamp. You don’t need a visa to enter Senegal and the stamp is free. People will lie to you and say it’s illegal to take money through customs in Senegal. I changed my leftover ouguiyas, about 20 euros worth, which is more than enough to get to St Louis or Dakar, where you will find ATM machines. The police didn’t ask, or look for, euros / dollars, so it is fine to take these through. They did check my yellow fever certificate though so make sure you have one.
You do get a better rate for ouguiyas at the border though, I changed mine at 6000 ouguiyas for 10000 Francs, which is actually better than the XE exchange rate. Check the rate before coming to the border so the money changers don’t take advantage of you, because they will try. I then took a bike to the bus station which I agreed to be 300 francs, but during the ride he talked it up to 500 for the baggage.
How to get from Rosso to Saint Louis or Dakar
Share taxi from Rosso to St Louis – 2000 francs + 1000 for baggage
The share taxi to Saint Louis was 2000 francs, and an extra 1000 francs for my luggage. It was a Peugeot 505 estate from the 1980s with no air conditioning. The doors and windows didn’t work properly, none of the gauges worked and it wouldn’t start in first gear. Thankfully it made it to Saint Louis in just over 2 hours.
Alternatively, if you wish to go to Dakar, these share taxis leave from the same place.