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1. Visas & Passports

2. Getting there

3. Arrivals

4. Getting around

5. Eating & sleeping

6. Costs

7. Health

8. Safety

9. Communications

10. Climate

11. Shopping

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Mauritania has few banks, and in the north of the country, only Atar and Nouadhibou has a couple. Exchanging is often best done at a free black market. This has not got very much better rates to offer, but is fast. Inside banks, exchange rates vary from one to the other, and from day to day. Credit cards can not be used for cash withdrawals, and can only be used in a couple of places, and nobody is prepared to cash in traveller's checks.
Regulations say that every foreigner visiting the country must spend US$30 daily, and this is all controlled, by looking at cards you're supposed to carry. While US$30 is a lot for daily expenses in North Africa, you could soon find out that it is not enough in Mauritania. The price level in Mauritania is frankly unbelievable.
The currency of Mauritania is ougiya, which is is divided into 5 khoums, but these are not in use. Notes come in 100, 200, and 1,000 ougiyas, while coins are 1, 5, 10, and 20 ougiyas.

US$ 1=260 ougiyas 100 ougiyas=US$ 0.39
1=357 ougiyas 100 ougiyas= 0.27
1=528 ougiyas 100 ougiya= 0.19
International exchange rates as of July 11, 2007.

By Tore Kjeilen