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Rules in Mauritania

The Rules of Behavior in Mauritania

The Rules of Behavior in Mauritania: A Guide for Travelers


As travelers, it is important to respect and adhere to the rules and cultural norms of the countries we visit. Not only does this show respect for the local culture, but it also helps ensure our own safety and well-being. Mauritania, a beautiful country in North Africa, has its own set of guidelines that travelers should be aware of. In this article, we will explore some key elements of behavior in Mauritania, offering practical tips for a smooth and enjoyable journey.

Key Elements

Element 1: Dress Code

Mauritania is a predominantly Muslim country, and Islamic traditions heavily influence the local culture. As such, it is important to dress modestly when in public areas. Both men and women should avoid wearing revealing clothing, such as shorts, tank tops, or tight-fitting clothes. Instead, opt for loose-fitting, conservative attire that covers the shoulders, chest, and knees. Women may also consider wearing a headscarf as a sign of respect.

Element 2: Greetings and Etiquette

In Mauritania, greetings are an important part of daily interactions. It is customary to greet others with a warm handshake and a courteous smile. When entering a room or joining a group, it is polite to greet each person individually. Additionally, it is common to exchange pleasantries and inquire about one another’s well-being before engaging in further conversation.

Element 3: Respect for Religion

Islam plays a significant role in the lives of the Mauritanian people. Visitors should show respect for the Islamic faith by observing certain customs. For example, when visiting mosques, remove your shoes before entering and dress modestly. Non-Muslims are not permitted to enter mosques during prayer times, so it’s important to be aware of the timings to avoid any inconvenience.

Element 4: Food and Hospitality

Mauritanians are known for their warm hospitality and love for food. When invited to someone’s home for a meal, accepting the invitation is considered polite. It is customary to eat with your right hand, as the left is often associated with cleanliness duties. When dining out, it’s worth noting that alcohol is prohibited in Mauritania due to Islamic laws. However, you can enjoy a variety of delicious non-alcoholic drinks.

Element 5: Cultural Sensitivity

Mauritania has a rich cultural heritage, and it is important to be sensitive and respectful towards the local customs and traditions. Avoid discussing controversial topics such as politics, religion, or tribal affiliations unless initiated by a local. Observing and appreciating Mauritanian customs, such as traditional clothing, music, and dance, can help build strong connections with the local community.

Tips for Traveling

Now that we have explored some key elements of behavior in Mauritania, let’s delve into practical tips for traveling to this captivating country.

  1. Research and preparation: Before your trip, familiarize yourself with Mauritanian customs, laws, and cultural practices. Respect and adhere to these rules to ensure a positive experience.

  2. Language: Arabic is the official language of Mauritania, but French is also widely spoken. Learning a few basic phrases in either language will greatly enhance your interactions with locals.

  3. Safety: Like any other destination, it is important to prioritize your safety in Mauritania. Be cautious of your surroundings, avoid traveling alone at night, and keep important documents secure. It is also advisable to register with your embassy or consulate before traveling.

  4. Transportation: Public transportation in Mauritania might be limited, so it is recommended to hire a reputable guide or use well-known transportation services. Always negotiate prices beforehand to avoid any misunderstandings.

  5. Currency and Etiquette: The official currency of Mauritania is the Mauritanian ouguiya (MRU). It is advisable to carry some cash, as credit cards may not be widely accepted. When paying for goods or services, use your right hand as a sign of respect.

  6. Health and Hygiene: Prior to traveling to Mauritania, consult your doctor regarding required vaccinations. It is also essential to drink bottled water, eat well-cooked food, and use mosquito repellent to prevent any health issues.

  7. Photography: As a general rule, seek permission before taking photographs, especially of individuals. Some areas, such as military installations and government buildings, are strictly off-limits for photography.

  8. Environmental Responsibilitu: Mauritania boasts stunning natural landscapes, including the Sahara Desert and Atlantic coastline. It is crucial to respect the environment by not littering and preserving the natural beauty for future generations.


This article aims to provide valuable insights into the rules and cultural norms of behavior in Mauritania. However, it is important to note that travel regulations and customs may change over time. For the most up-to-date and accurate information, it is always advisable to consult official sources, such as government websites or seek professional guidance.