Atar, Mauritania
Date: Lodging: Distance: Total:
17/03/2000 MKT Hotel 592 KM 63791 KM

Another graceful Mauritanian dancer

Women drape their bodies in beautiful fabrics and men wear traditional 'boo-boos' in blue or white.

The unmarried men and woman sat separately during the dancing in Atar.

Tea is immensely important in the Mauritanian society - this woman takes great care in pouring the tea over and over to accomplish the perfect bitter, yet sweet taste of green tea, sugar and slight mint.

A woman, dressed in a man's white traditional costume, joins a friend in an age-old Mauritanian dance. Since married women do not dance with men other than their husbands, this woman 'disguised' herself as a man. Custom is mainly for men to dance with men and women with women.

Mauritanian women dancing at a private party. The vibrant colors worn by the women provide such a fabulous contrast to the dusty, golden, Sahara desert.

In Atar, our host presented me a delicate fabric to cover myself like other Mauritanian Muslim women.

Women in Atar playing traditional music and song - note the jerry can being used as an instrument

Adrar Region tablet-top mountains

The oasis of Chinguetti is Mauritania's most visited site.

The west side of Chinguetti is the oldest part of town.

An old book in one of Chinguetti's ancient libraries - both hold the Koran

Handmade keys make entry a time-consuming process.

Parts of Chinguetti in the Adrar Region date back to the 13th century.

The brown, low mountainous Adrar Region

17 March 2000 - We reached Chinguetti passing through glorious, brown, tabletop mountains. Parts of Chinguetti in the Adrar Region date back to the 13th century - the stone homes on the west side reminded me a little of Samarkand and Bukara, also built by Muslims. We visited an old Koranic library, where the attendant used a homemade key of wood and nails. As the sun set over the desert oasis town, the sand looked like liquid gold.

When we were in Nouakchott, the capital, people kept telling us we had not seen Mauritania if we hadn't visited Chinguetti and the Adrar Region. Perhaps they are correct, as this is an old desert town as different from the capital - which is essentially only three or four decades old - as imaginable.


  Terjit Oasis
  Atar - a tourist destination (Jim)
  The Adrar Region - potential
booming tourist area (Jim)