Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

  • Reviewed: 27 March 2017, 16:41 NZDT
  • Still current at: 24 September 2018

Do not travel

Do not travel to eastern and northern regions of Mauritania, and in the border areas with Mali, and Western Sahara due to the activities of extremist groups and the risk of banditry and kidnapping. Land mines are present along the border with Western Sahara.

Do not travel to the provinces of Tiris Zemmour, Adrar, Tagant, Hodh ech Chargui, Hodh El Gharbi, Assaba, Guidimaka and within 25 kilometres of the border with Western Sahara (with the exception of the Nouakchott to Nouadhibou corridor).

Avoid non-essential travel

Avoid non-essential travel elsewhere in Mauritania due to the threat from kidnapping, terrorism and the unpredictable security situation.

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There is an ongoing threat of kidnapping against westerners throughout Mauritania. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and other groups have specifically targeted and kidnapped foreigners in parts of North Africa and pose a significant security threat in Mauritania. Much of the country is remote and terrorist and criminal groups have ease of movement across porous national borders. There remains a strong possibility that foreigners kidnapped by tribal groups could be on-sold to AQIM.

New Zealanders should maintain a low profile and a high level of vigilance at all times. Ensure appropriate personal security measures are in place and avoid unnecessary travel in remote areas. Travel routes and times should be varied to avoid establishing a predictable routine.

There is a high threat from terrorism in Mauritania. Terrorist attacks could be directed against any locations known to be frequented by foreigners, as well as premises and symbols associated with the Government of Mauritania. New Zealanders are advised to monitor the media for information about threats to safety and security in Mauritania and to follow any advice and instructions issued by the local authorities.

Violent Crime
Crime levels in Mauritania are moderate but increasing and there have been reports of carjackings, robberies and other crime affecting foreigners in the capital Nouakchott. We recommend you avoid the beach at Nouakchott and the district of Le Cinquième at night. Bandits are active across Mauritania, particularly in remote areas, and armed groups operate in the Saharan-Mauritania region, in areas extending north beyond the line between Zouérat and Oualata.

New Zealanders are advised to avoid travel after dark and to isolated areas and to avoid displaying or wearing items that appear valuable, such as mobile devices and jewellery. When travelling by car, keep doors locked and windows up at all times and hide valuables from view. If you plan on travelling outside urban areas, we advise seeking reputable local advice and travelling in convoy with adequate security.

Civil unrest
Demonstrations occur from time to time in Mauritania, including in Nouakchott. Most are peaceful although some have involved clashes between security forces and demonstrators. Developments elsewhere in the wider region may trigger public unrest.

New Zealanders in Mauritania are advised to avoid all demonstrations, protests and large public gatherings as these may turn violent with little warning.

General travel advice
As there is no New Zealand diplomatic presence in Mauritania, the ability of the government to assist New Zealand citizens is severely limited.

Modesty and discretion should be exercised in both dress and behaviour in Mauritania to avoid offending local sensitivities.

New Zealanders travelling or living in Mauritania should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for medical evacuation by air. You should also check your travel insurance covers travel to Mauritania – exclusions may apply.

New Zealanders in Mauritania are strongly encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Travel tips

See our regional advice for Africa

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