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Situated in West Africa, Mauritania has borders with Algeria to the northwest, Western Sahara to the North West, Mali to the east and south, Senegal on the southwest and the Atlantic Ocean on the west.

Mauritania gained independence from France in 1960. A number of flawed elections and internal coups then followed.

Mauritania can be summed up in the phrase: ‘Wild coast meets Saharan dunes’, on a scale that you won’t find elsewhere. Its Parc National du Banc d’Arguin ranks as one of the best bird-watching spots in the world, while for outdoor-adventure types, Mauritania offers the full slate of trekking options as well as exhilarating camel trips amid surreal landscapes, not to mention hot-air ballooning in the Adrar.  

Mauritania is also a location of strong historical interest, with a sprinkle of World Heritage–listed ancient caravan towns.

Aside from the fact that Mauritania imposes the death penalty for homosexuality, you should also be aware that travel here can sometimes be somewhat dangerous.

A guided tour should be reasonably safe, but it’s probably not a place for the independent traveller to consider visiting.

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