Work and Travel in Mauritania
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN MAURITANIA FOR TRAVELLERS
Mauritania is a country few people would even be able to place on a map. Yet imagine what you can do if you travel in Mauritania. It’s an untamed land that few travellers ever dare to see. You’ll get the chance to work and travel in Mauritania with our tips.
This travel guide to Mauritania will show you everything you need to know about the opportunities available here.
1. Improve Literacy Rates in Mauritania
Located in West Africa, the harsh desert landscape means that many far-flung communities don’t have the chance to take advantage of a proper education. Literacy rates nationwide are set at about 60% for a reason.
Join a charity and join one of the most rewarding volunteering opportunities in Mauritania. You’ll be showing local people, young and old, how to read and write.
This is the sort of project that guarantees lasting change.
2. Join an Agricultural Project in Mauritania
A huge part of the population exists through farming. However, the desert climate and the impact of climate change means that it can be difficult to get a consistent crop year after year. Charities and NGOs are helping to provide the help farmers need through modern equipment and knowledge of the latest farming techniques to make the most of what they have.
You don’t need to be a qualified farmer to assist in this project. This work in Mauritania will allow you to assist the experts and bring you into contact with real people.
And some of these projects may even be combined with homestay projects.
3. Provide Computing Skills in Mauritania
Mauritania is extremely poor and suffers from a lack of technological knowledge. Many businesses have yet to gain access to the digital world.
Help them as you travel in Mauritania through providing computer literacy skills. As long as you know how to use a computer, you’ll be able to make a giant difference.
The work is easier than you might think, as you show them how to work basic programmes and how to turn a computer to the advantage of their business.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR MAURITANIA
Mauritania doesn’t operate in the same way as many other African countries in the western half of the continent. It used to be the case that you needed to acquire a visa from a Mauritanian embassy in advance. There are only eight countries in the world that have the chance to enter Mauritania for 90 days without a visa, and all of those are located in Africa.
For everyone else in the world, you can get a visa-on-arrival easily enough. However, you must land at Nouakchott-Oumtounsy International Airport to qualify. You’ll be entitled to 90 days in Mauritania.
For travellers who are moving overland through West Africa, the best option would be to visit a Mauritanian embassy in advance.
It’s much easier to apply for a visa in your home country, but it’s possible to apply for visas from countries like Senegal and the Gambia.
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN MAURITANIA
The majority of the spring season is relatively dry, with a small rainy season in the south beginning in July. We recommend moving to the Nouakchott region or the desert. The spring season brings cool winds from the trade winds.
To avoid the heat of the desert, work and travel in Mauritania with a concentration on desert projects. Working on agricultural projects and helping to teach people how to read and write are both good choices.
The summer season is, as you would expect, one of the worst times to travel in Mauritania. Many of the volunteering opportunities in Mauritania shutdown in the summer because of the unbearable desert temperatures. It’s not uncommon for the desert to see temperatures nearing 50C, which can make the conditions dangerous for those who aren’t used to them.
The coastal regions are not as bad. This is where you can engage in conservation projects and enjoy working with the marine life there.
Another option for working in the summer could involve teaching English. The main language spoken across the country is Arabic, along with Hassaniya. Young people realise the importance of learning English, so native English speakers are always welcome.
You can work both in schools and as part of community groups aimed at young people.
We recommend avoiding the southern region as this is when the rainy season hits.
The autumn is much like the spring. If you want to look for work in Mauritania in the desert regions, this is another time to visit.
You may also want to consider working with women’s empowerment groups in the cities. You’ll help local women be more independent and to learn different skills.
Other than that, refer back to the ‘Spring’ section for more information on the things you can do in autumn.
The winter season is much like the autumn season. It’s the best time of year to visit Mauritania if you don’t like excessively hot temperatures. But beware of the night in the desert because temperatures can nearly hit freezing.
We recommend that you work on either the coastline or in the southern regions, where you’ll be able to escape the cold of winter.
Refer back to the ‘Spring’ section for more information on some of the winter volunteering projects available.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN MAURITANIA
Mauritania has few connections with the Western world. It also has a history of violence and oppression, with Mauritania being one of the centres of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. This means that tourists are few and are usually there as part of a guided tour.
Independent travellers are rare, so expect a lot of interest from the locals. There’s no hostility to travellers working or volunteering in Mauritania.
However, dealing with the differences in culture can be difficult for some people. So this is not a place to work in if you’re not used to living and working in developing countries.
Do you want to work and travel in Mauritania?