I couldn't really recommend this place to anyone, but the trouble is there's nothing else for a couple of hundred kms. and I've already tried that!!! Another place where bathroom appliances have a life of their own. At least the water was warm. I have to admit that the camel couscous was very good and filling.
Cost was 8000 UM (approx 23 euros) for a double room. Dinner was 2000 UM (under 6 euros.) All very expensive for what it is. Negotiate for what you can, 2 women that had the same type of bedroom as us paid 10000 UM because they didn't bother asking for a lower price!!! These same 2 women had been to the Auberge Saada in the afternoon, run by a women's coop and refused the room they were shown as "I wouldn't let my dog sleep in there". So, perhaps the Phare du Desert is not so bad.
The 2nd time I passed through Nouakchott, the Menata was full, so Olivia, the French owner suggested her other place, the Auberge Jeloua. Although quite a bit more expensive than the Menata (12000 UM, about 34.5 euros for a double room) the rooms are a lot bigger, you have hot water plus it is a lot quieter than the Menata, in a very quiet area. Well worth the extra money, and you can also use the unlimited Internet connection (please ask permission first) for free.
The legendary "niceness" of Olivia. Everone that has ever been on a road-trip through Mauritania in the last five years will vouch for this. Nothing is a problem for her, full of info and help for anything you need.
One of the big problems with crossing the Morocco/Mauritanian border is the fact that on the Moroccan side the post closes between 13.00h - 15.00h. As it takes over 3 hours to complete all formalities on both sides, if you miss the 13.00 deadline then it is practically dark when you leave the Mauritanian post. Choices are a 90 kms round trip to Nouadhibou or 40 kms to Boulanoir which is in the right direction for Nouakchott.
The welcome at the auberge is more than friendly enough and the food is not bad but this is one of those places that you cannot help but wish it was 7 o'clock in the morning so you can get up for breakfast, the beds and rooms are that bad!!!!The carpet seems to stick to your feet, the water is almost non-existant, all bathroom appliances have a life of their own. And all this cost 20 euros for the double room!!!!
Mind you, the other place we looked at had no electricity and water was turned off at 20.00h.
I could never class this as recommended, but in this part of Mauritania between Nouakchott and Mali it's the only place where we found a clean sheet. The big problem is it's almost 800 km from Nouakchott and another 400-odd to Nioro in Mali, so you have to stop somewhere !!!
On top of that, in November 2007 when we passed there was construction work going on, and that started at 7 in the morning. Not really a problem as you need an early start to be sure of getting through all the formalities at the border and making it to Bamako before it gets too late.
This is also the only place you'll find to get a meal.
Rooms were at around 20 euros for 2, horribly expensive for what it is, and meals were 6.5 euros.
The lodging here is very basic but enough for a weary head. Thin mattress on a blanket spread directly on the sand under a khaima.. No need for a mozzie net as the ocean breezes keep them away. Mattress is 1500 UM (less than 5 euros) pp. Seems a bit expensive but the next nearest 4* hotel is 270 kms away. Tea was offered on arrival, then the owner was dispatched to Iwik village to order some fish for the evening meal. The w.c. is a hole in a small outhouse 50 metres from the tents (don't forget a torch).
The two women who came up from the village to cook for us came up with a superb meal with just a few herbs and green beans, the fish being cooked in "papillote" on an open charcoal fire. Delicious.....
This is one of those places which people always give as a meeting point, whether backpackers on foot or have your own transport, just passing through or part of a rally, everyone is welcome. Olivia, the French owner is a hive of information and can help you organise anything you want to do with the help of her partner.
You have the choice of 6 bedrooms at 2000 UM (about 6 euros) or to sleep in a "khaima" a traditionnal mauritanian tent on the roof for 1500 UM (under 5 euros). Showers and w.c's are shared and there is a kitchen where you can cook your own food although the meals here are very good and cost 1000 UM, breakfast is 500 UM.
Parking in the courtyard is free.
The quality of the welcome whether staying a week or just overnight. A nice tree covered garden in the back or the moorish tent in the front for breakfast or just to sit and have a drink.
Always people to discuss "what you've done or where you've been" with, a terrific atmosphere to be sampled.
I didn't stay here, but visited for a party thrown by an oil company. In fact, the entire hotel may exist just to house this company's employees, but if not get a room there. It has a fantastic pool and outdoor bar. More importanly, there seems to be a lot of nightlife there, which is rare in Nouakchott. If that's what you want.
Great pool and outdoor bar. Nice new building. Good location.
The Mercure is a decent hotel for it's price in Nouakchott. The pool is great, but other amenities are lacking. If you don't mind no internet access in your room and an inconvenient location, then I guess it's OK. At US$30-40 cheaper than the Novotel (the best in town), it's a good price. It has a somewhat run-down air to it and can be very loud if you're in rooms facing the two main avenues. Get a room facing the pool. Of course, you'll always have to deal with the dueling mosques belting out their call to prayer very early in the morning. I happen to find that charming, so it didn't bother me.
Great pool and decent restaurant, but sub-par bar. All very overpriced, but that's normal in Nouakchott.
You'll be welcome at Olivia's Place . A french women who open a nice place in Nouakchot 's phone center place.
Very friendly with everybody even with the not so nice people.........from the local Nouakchot administration.
Easy accomodation : Bed and breakfast, meals(ordered), camping on the roof, beds on the roof, car park, most part of the time it is full ... you better have to call before arriving.
The camping of Ali Mahjoub, ''Baie the Levrier'', is in the south area of the town. You can hire a room or sleep in the nomad tent.
There is a small kitchen facility for making coffee, tea or soup. In the neighbourhood you can find small restaurants, shops, a luxury bakery and internetcafes.
When we arrived in the evening after a long deserttrip of about 14 hours, while one of the cars had to drag the other for almost 400 KM, Ali, the owner, offered us the Mauritanian tea in the nomad tent and after hearing our problems he started immediately to phone some mecaniciens.
We stayed 2 nights at this camping, because we had to wait for new parts for the car, which has to come by plane from Nouakchott.
Though there was a guard, a boy succeeded to steal a bag, including a passport, from one of our fellow-travellers. He just climbed over the wall at the backside of the tent. Hopefully this part of the wall will be restored. Anyway Ali phoned and accompanied the people involved to the officials.
Travelling from Atar to the west to the coast we took a track along the railway from Choum to Nouadhibou.
To spend the night we found a nice place in the small sanddunes just south of the railway. The sunset was fabulous and at the same time we heard the train coming. It is one of the longest trains on earth. We had all the time to climb to the top of the sanddune and have a look at the train passing by at a few 100 metres.
To be in the absolute silence of the desert. Only the three trains, which passed, made an enormous noise, you can hardly imagine.
After I heard from a campsite in Atar as living place of Just from the Netherlands and Cora from Germany, I know once I will go there.
By VT I found its name Bab Sahara and by google a travel report of the organisation Transsahara, visiting this campsite.
And now I visited Bab Sahara with Transsahara myself.
And it was a lovely place, where you can choose to spend the night in a cabin, a nomad tent or on the rooftop.
The best place is the roofed area, where you can have a drink or delicious meal, can chat with fellow-travellers or Just or Cora and get all kind of tips and advice.
In the compound there is a lot to see like a collection of old doors, saddles and other stuff. The showers and toilets with running water are ok and very clean.
On our way through the desert between Tidjikja and Chinquetti Baba our guide preferred to spend the night in a tent with a local nomad family. We used our own tents.
And after we heard that for the promised mezroui the goat was not slaughtered yet, we decided to prepare our own food.
Normally the silence of the desert is a very unique experience during the night, but not here. The whole night we heard the bleating goats, because the nomad family has divided the babies from their mums.
The auberge has rooms and cabins looking like iglos from the outside.
There is also a restaurant where you can order dinner and breakfast.
The buildings look very nice. You can climb to the rooftop, from where you have good views at the surrounding desert and the town.
There are showers and toilets, but during our stay hardly any water.
After we had a bushcamp between the Malinese border and Kiffa during our first night in Mauritania, it was nice to find this auberge in Tidjikja. There are some cabins with matresses on the ground, but you can also sleep in the traditional nomad tent.
There is running water and even hot showers and flush toilets.
You can also order your dinner and breakfast in the open air roofed restaurant.
The staff of the auberge can also find you a guide for the desertcrossing from Tidjikja to Atar or Chinquetti.
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