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The Holy City of Sahara

Getting there is half the fun. The crossing from Atar is shocking, where narrow roads follow the mountain sides, even when this has made some turns of the road so sharp that they can't be done in one turn. The nature is totally wild. The result is that this remote place is the most frequently visited tourist spot in Mauritania. But by Mauritanian standards, this is close to nothing, anyway.
The old city is fairly old, the western side dates back 700 years. The age has to do with most of old Chinguetti being constructed from stones. The main attraction in the city is the old mosque. But as Chinguetti once was really venerated as one of the most holy cities in Islam (ranked, even today, as number 7), this is off limit to non-Muslims.

Eat and Sleep
Sleeping and eating is not easy in Chinguetti. Rooms are to be found, but there are not many of them, and the choice range is limited. Tent is not a bad idea, but beware where you put it, dunes are moving, and you don't want any of them crawling over you during your sleep. When it comes to eating, some families hospitality could be your best bet. But an extreme lack of diversity in raw materials around here makes even a feast ordinary. But, who would travel all this way and expect four course meals?

Land Rover connections with Atar, 1 hour, US$5 one way. Connections to the even more remote Ouadane, are difficult and expensive, and has to be arranged in Chinguetti.

Going Next
100 km west: Atar
60 km northwest: Amogjar
120 km northeast: Ouadane

By Tore Kjeilen