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Why carry an IDP while driving in Mauritania?

Your IDP is a valid form of identification in more than 150 countries worldwide and contains your name, photo and driver information in the 12 most widely spoken languages in the world – it is understandable to most of the local officials and authorities of the countries you visit.

It translates your identification information into 12 languages — so it speaks the language even if you don’t. Mauritania highly recommends an International Driving Permit.

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1. Apply Online

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Top Destinations in Mauritania

The Islamic Republic of Mauritania is located on the Atlantic coast of Africa, with Nouachkott as its capital. Also known as “The Land of Winds and Ghosts,” Mauritania is full of sweeping desert dunes and sparkling coastal waters. With several UNESCO World Heritage sites, it’s considered one of the cradles of humanity. Truly a place to visit for anyone seeking an adventure unlike any other.

When driving around the country, always remember to bring your International Driver’s Permit for Mauritania. Our website allows you to order one online. You can also apply for an International Driver’s Permit for Mauritania at the office of the Ministry of Equipment and Transport. Through the IDA website, you can get your digital copy in 20 minutes while they ship you the physical copy of your International Driver’s Permit for Mauritania. A zipcode provided will ensure faster delivery of your international driver’s license for Mauritania to your address.

Chinguetti

A former trading post in 777AD, Chinguetti is an ancient city of major importance. Though the desert has reclaimed the city in its sands, the important structures remain until today as a testimonial to the stone city’s amazing architecture. The walls of Chinguetti that still clearly define the ancient streets today were all painstakingly built by hand, one stone at a time.

Driving to Chinguetti is relatively easy with your International Driver’s Permit for Mauritania. The website for UNESCO has declared Chinguetti as a world heritage site. Mauritania is trying to preserve Chinguetti. However, the landowners are afraid that conservation efforts result in the loss or destruction of the artifacts. So efforts are being put in place to increase awareness and tourism. Hoping that this will generate enough revenue to fuel local conservation efforts.

Driving Directions:

  • Continue to Utilisation de Akjoujt/N1 for 26 min (21.1 km)
  • Head northeast for 180 m
  • Turn right at the 1st cross street, then go 650 m
  • Keep right 160 m, Slight right 170 m, Turn right 20.0 km,
  • Follow N1 to Atar for 4 hr 42 min (407 km)
  • Turn left onto Utilisation de Akjoujt/N1. Continue to follow N1 for 405 km.
  • At the roundabout, take the 1st exit and stay on N1 for 2.5 km
  • Drive to your destination in Chinguetti for 1 hr 8 min (81.8 km)
  • You have arrived at Chinguetti

The best time to visit Chinguetti, or anywhere in Mauritania, would be their “cold” season, which is between November to March. It’s during this season that it’s easiest to drive around with your international driver’s license for Mauritania. The benefits being the nights are cooler and the days are more temperate. Julys to September are the most difficult months due to rains, which turn the sand into sludge near roads.

Another popular reason for people visiting Chinguetti is to see the Chinguetti library, which houses ancient scrolls and tablets that Islamic scholars study till today. The Chinguetti mosque houses the library and contains some of the rarest and oldest religious documents found today. The best part is that if you drive to Chinguetti with your international driver’s license for Mauritania, no fees are necessary.

Richat Structure or The Eye of Africa

A naturally formed world wonder, the Richat Structure also known as the “Eye of the Sahara'' or “Eye of Africa,” is a crater almost 50 km wide. It is formed by the rising of lava through the earth’s crust but failing to break through the surface. The structure then collapsed in on itself, forming the Eye as it is known today. To this day, geologists come to the Eye to study its composition, while tourists take all sorts of tours to see the Eye.

Some people prefer to take a camel tour to the Eye and slowly go around the Richat. There are also balloon tours available, so you can appreciate the Eye from the air and see just how massive it truly is. But the most popular way to visit the Eye is by taking a 4x4 and driving to and around the Eye. Some have stated it’s the reason they even applied for an international driver’s license for Mauritania. No fee is required to drive to the Eye, unlike the other options.

Driving Directions:

  • From Nouakchott International Head northeast for 180 m
  • Turn right at the 1st cross street, go for 650 m
  • Keep right for 160 m
  • Take a Slight right then another 170 m
  • Turn right, then go 20.0 km
  • Turn left onto Utilisation de Akjoujt/N1. Continue to follow N1 for 404 km.
  • Turn right, then go another 400 m
  • Welcome to Atar

These instructions lead you to Atar, where most treks to the Eye start. It’s difficult to drive directly to the eye, as there are no roads, and you will need to navigate using coordinates. So instead, tourists are encouraged to drive to Atar with their international driver’s license for Mauritania. Contact numbers for guides and guided tours will be posted on walls or in eateries in Atar.

Banc d'Arguin National Park

The Banc d’Arguin (Bay of Arguin) is undoubtedly one of the world’s unique places. A unique meeting of desert and ocean, the bay naturally formed a special region of biodiversity and beauty. You will find over 300 species of migrating birds that stop at the Banc to feed and rest on its sands. Beneath its waters, you will find sea turtles and dolphins playing in the naturally cool waters of the Atlantic.

Nature and humanity have found such a unique balance in Banc d’Arguin, living in harmonious mutualism. The fishermen of the Imraguen tribe, who are the only people allowed by the Mauritanian government to live on the Banc, work in coordination with dolphins to drive fish into the fishermen’s nets. This ensures a good haul by the fishermen, and the dolphins don’t need to expel so much energy hunting the fish.

Driving Directions to Banc d’Arguin:

  • From Nouakchott International Airport, Head northwest for 850 m
  • Take a slight right, then go for 230 m
  • At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit then another 4.3 km
  • Turn right travel another 3.1 km
  • Turn right onto Autoroute Nouadhibou/N2 an go 206 km
  • Welcome to Chami. The entrance to the park is south of here.

Most Important Rules of Driving in Mauritania

Mauritania has very few rules, and as a visitor, it’s up to you to educate yourself before you around driving with your international driver’s permit for Mauritania. English is rarely spoken in Mauritania, which makes your IDP, a translation of your license to the local language, all the more important. If you don’t have an international driver’s license for Mauritania, our website offers quick processing of your license.

Police checkpoints are common, and you will find yourself stopping at multiple police checks. If the police flag you down, the first step is to show them your native driver’s license and your international driver’s license for Mauritania. Address the police respectfully and calmly, and they will extend the same to you. Always listen to police advice, especially when they tell you to avoid a certain road. Mauritania has driving dangers that are unique to the country.

In case of any accidents, while driving with your international driver’s permit for Mauritania, the contact numbers for the emergency service are easy to remember. All of them start with 222 with either a 17, 18, or 19 at the end, depending on the responders you need to get in touch with.

The Importance of your International Driver’s Permit

Your international driver’s license for Mauritania has benefits beyond its main purpose. As a local language translation of your native license, you can use your international driver’s license for Mauritania as a requirement when transacting with local services such as a bank. Never drive without both your native driver’s license and your IDP. Not having both of them is considered driving without a license in Mauritania.

You can easily acquire an IDP by going to the International Driver’s Association application page. To apply for an international driver’s permit for Mauritania, the requirements are to fill out some forms, upload your documents, and get approval for an international driver’s license. Email address, contact number, and home address have to be provided, and you will soon receive your international driver’s permit for Mauritania. A zip code will ensure faster delivery.

Alcohol will get you in Trouble

Mauritania is considered a “dry country”, meaning alcohol is forbidden. However, there are still people and establishments that carry alcohol for the consumption of tourists and locals. If you do consume alcohol, make sure to never drive, even if you only had a little. Getting charged with drunk driving could result in the revocation of your international driver’s license for Mauritania. The requirements for drunk driving here are simply smelling of alcohol.

The penalties in Mauritania for drunk driving are severe. For first-time offenders, it’s a hefty fine if you were cordial while being given a violation ticket. If you are belligerent, a night in jail will accompany that citation. A second offense could cause the revocation of your local license and/or your international driver’s permit for Mauritania. Address the police respectfully, and they may let you off with another citation rather than spend the night in jail.

Seatbelts for Everyone at All Times

Seatbelts are required as you drive around with your international driver’s permit for Mauritania. This requirement applies to all passengers of a vehicle, not just the front seats. There are only a few rules while driving in this country, and the police enforce the seatbelt law at all times. In a country where people tend to disregard traffic lights and signs, this isn’t a bad idea.

In case of an emergency. make sure you present to responders your international driver’s permit for Mauritania. The contact numbers for emergency services are 22217 for police, and 22218 for the fire department, and 22219 for traffic-related issues. For light altercations, present your international driver’s permit to the office of the Gendarmerie Nationale (National Police) and make a statement.

Hands-free Only

Being distracted by a phone call is always bad while driving. But being distracted while driving in a fast-paced driving culture like Mauritania is disastrous. The government recognizes this and has implemented laws against the use of mobile phones while driving. If you really need to make that call, always use a hands-free device to keep your hands on the wheel.

Always stay alert while driving with your international driver’s license for Mauritania. The price for being distracted as you traverse the roads of a foreign country could be a steep one. Make sure to either use the speakerphone option or hands free-device, but don’t let the call distract you. If you have to, pull over and finish your conversation before driving again.

Always carry your Papers

Visitors to Mauritania should always carry all their documents while driving. These include your native driver’s license, your insurance, car rental contract, and your international driver’s permit. Address police officers with respect, and you will sooner find yourself back on the road than if you are confrontational. If you have lost your international driver’s license in Mauritania, the price for shipping and handling are the only things you have to worry about.

The International Drivers Association offers free replacement of your IDP sent to you immediately. If you are re-applying for an international driver’s license for Mauritania, the office of the Ministry of Equipment and Transport can provide a new one. But beyond its main purpose, there are other uses for your international driver’s permit for Mauritania. English isn’t widely spoken in Mauritania, and your IDP is a form of I.D that can be read by locals.

Driving Beyond your International Driver’s Permit

When you sign up for an IDP, you can choose the validity period that you like. The validity period of your international driver’s license can span from one to three years. You can even get your international driver’s license an extension on its validity. Pay attention to the expiry date of your IDP, as driving with an invalid license could land you in trouble.

If you plan to stay in the country permanently, then you may apply for a local license and not get a renewal on your international driver’s license for Mauritania. The office of the Ministry of Equipment and Transport can assist you. To reach them acquiring a local license instead of an international driver’s license for Mauritania, the contact numbers and details for the Ministry of Equipment and Transport are the following:

Website: www.transports.gov.mr/index.php?lang=fr

E-mail(s): ugp.pcpr@gmail.com

Phone: 0222-3759-1381 / 0022-1773-3324-39

Or you can get in touch with them to renew your international driver’s license for Mauritania. Their website is only available in French or Arabic, but there are plenty of translation tools out there to help you navigate the website. If you have trouble with navigating their website to get info for your international driver’s license for Mauritania, their email address may be the more convenient way to reach them.

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