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Where the iron comes from

There is absolutely nothing in Zouerate making it worth visiting. The conditions of life for people living here is still not very good. But around this place, you'll meet a lot of foreign workers. And it does seem strange that a country like Mauritania, so poor, is housing foreign labour. Not skilled, normal workers, coming up from the even poorer countries in the south.


The surroundings, though, are spectacular. Nature here is the strange mixture of Mauritanian red and iron black. The formations of the mountains are made even more dramatic through the mining that started in 1960. Trips into this region, to large to be covered by walking, can be arranged through hotels in Zouerate.

Eat and Sleep
One hotel and restaurant run by Minerfa, the mining company.

Two trains daily, often with a passenger wagon, which brings travellers all the way to Nouadhibou. Many prefer to sit on the top of the iron piles. If you choose this form of transportation, be prepared to ward off extreme heat during the day, and biting cold at night. One way costs in the wagon US$3.
Air lifts to the capital, Nouakchott, on Tuesdays and Thursdays. One way costs US$80.

Going Next
440 km north: Bir Moghrein
900 km northeast: Algeria, the country
200 km southwest: Choum
300 km southwest: Atar

By Tore Kjeilen