Nouadhibou is the second largest city in Mauritania and the real economic center. Similar to Nouakchott, Atar and Tidjikja, the city's history is closely linked to French colonial history.Founded in 1905 in French West Africa as Port-Etienne, Nouadhibou was intended to compete with Spanish-controlled cities further north - in what is now Western Sahara. The fishing port's importance grew as its boats were modernized, often with French or Spanish money. The transportation of petroleum and iron ore through the port contributed to economic growth.
However, in addition to the export of raw materials, fishing is still one of the most important economic activities in Nouadhibou today. Every day, local fishermen return with their catch around 5 p.m.. There are still Mauritanians and Senegalese who set sail from the Port Artisanal in the classic dugout canoe pirogues and then sell their fish at the market. Equally, however, there are also larger - often rusty - barges with which industrial fishing is possible. These depart from the Port autonome, which, with the Port Artisanal, forms the city's fishing port. The industrial boats often catch and process their fish on behalf of Chinese companies. The Mauritanian state also grants concessions to foreign corporations so that they can also fish on a large scale off the coast, usually out of sight of the city.
Almost all of Nouadhibou's attractions are located at the port. Visitors are especially interested in the Port artisanal with its hundreds of pirogues. Once, there was also a ship graveyard here, where more than 100 large barges had been rusting away undisturbed in the water for decades. In 2006, however, the EU began to clean up this environmental sin. Coming from Western Sahara (de facto Morocco), Nouadhibou is the first port of call in Mauritania. The city offers a good first impression of the diversity of the country. Unadorned, it shows how people earn their daily bread. At the port there are many workers from Senegal and Mali. Between the economic center and the capital, there is a highway that is well developed by Mauritanian standards. On the way lies the national park Banc d'Arguin, which especially nature lovers should not miss. Nouadibou is included in each of our Adrar tours as the end point of the train ride and can also be combined with other tours, such as the NATIONAL PARKS tour.