State Dept Travel Advisory - Level 4

Mauritania’s Travel Advisory Now Includes Level 4 Notice

Mauritania Travel Advisory expanded by US State Department 
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Africa (Vax Before Travel)

The Islamic Republic of Mauritania Travel Advisory has been expanded to include a Level 4 notice by the US Department of State.

Issued on December 26, 2019, Mauritanian’s Level 2 Advisory now includes ‘Do Not Travel’ areas designated by the government as ‘off-limits’ to foreigners and most Mauritanians.

Since the boundaries of such areas frequently change, the State Department says U.S. citizens should pay attention to all posted signs and notices of restricted entry. They should presume the following Mauritania areas are off-limits:

  • All areas north of the Tropic of Cancer
  • All areas east of 08⁰ longitude (West of Greenwich) situated within 100km of the Mali Border

These “No Movement Zones” are extremely dangerous due to their proximity to Mali, where groups engaged in an active insurgency carry out cross-border attacks into Mauritania. 

The government of Mauritania does not maintain a substantial presence in these areas and thus the police are unable to respond to most incidents there. In addition, cell phone coverage and paved roads are nonexistent. 

Furthermore, U.S. officials are unable to travel to these places and have limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Mauritania as U.S. government employees must obtain special authorization to travel outside Nouakchott. 

Moreover, U.S. government employees may travel only during daylight hours and are prohibited from walking alone outside of designated areas and times.

If you decide to travel to Mauritania, the State Department suggests these action items:

  • Use caution when walking or driving at night and be aware of your surroundings.
  • Always carry a copy of your U.S. passport and visa (if applicable). Keep original documents in a secure location.
  • Monitor local media for breaking events and be prepared to adjust your plans.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations, such as this Traveler’s Checklist.

The U.S. Embassy in Nouakchott is located on Nouadhibou Road, Avenue Al Quds, NOT PRTZ, Nouakchott, Mauritania. Telephone numbers: +(222) 4525-2660; +(222) 3662-8163

Previously, in August 2019, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to:

  • the province of Tiris Zemmour (except the town of Zouérat)
  • the province of Adrar (east of Atar)
  • the provinces of Tagant, Hodh el Chargui, Hodh El Gharbi, Assaba and Guidimaka
  • within 25km of the Western Sahara border (except the Noukchott - Nouadhibou corridor)

And, the FCO advise against all but essential travel to the rest of the country, including the Nouakchott - Nouadhibou corridor.

Mauritania has a population of about 4.4 million people and is located in western Africa, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Western Sahara to the north and northwest, Algeria to the northeast, Mali to the east and southeast, and Senegal to the southwest.

The Mauritanian tourism sector is growing rapidly but at extremely low levels. According to Minister Khadijetou M'Bareck Fall, during the 2018-2019 tourist season, a total of 4,000 foreign tourists visited Mauritania on charter flights, reported Tourism Review. 

This is significantly higher than the previous season 2017-2018 when a total of 1,500 tourists were registered.

On August 2, 2019, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its travel vaccination suggestions for anyone visiting Mauritania.

The CDC suggests various vaccines, specifically the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, since Mauritania is included in the CDC’s June 2019 worldwide measles alert.

Africa travel alerts published by Vax-Before-Travel.


Article by
Dani Reiter