Being in African developing countries for the first time, namely in Mauritania, can be culturally shocking and surprising. But don’t panic, it’s not that risky. In the few coming lines, we’ll be trying to put you in the picture through a brief collection of tips about what to expect, and how to behave in public settings. Always have an open mind and remember that it’s not home; no place’s like home. Nonetheless, too much skepticism and fear of locals might spoil your experience so live it and leave it simple. Are you ready?
So let’s jump right into the tips.
As a tourist, you’re going to receive too much unasked unwanted attention. The stares are natural and harmless, and you’ll get used to them. This happens everywhere even in the places where there is a bunch of tourists on a regular basis. If you’re very self-conscious, you can wear sun glasses. That might help avoid it. Women basically suffer from it when travelling especially from men. So, just acquire the ability to ignore it, otherwise it’s going to give you a bad experience and ruin your trip.
Things won’t work out sometimes.
Mauritania, as most African countries, still has a number of infrastructural challenges. Especially in rural places, the water might stop running, or is cold while you requested it hot and the electricity is out sometimes. This can get you laughing, and sometimes irritated, but knowing in advance that it is probable, is definitely going to help you have less frustration.
Beggars! Beggars! Beggars!
Because of poverty, you might be surprised by the huge number of beggars on the streets, mainly children. You can’t give to every beggar, and you can’t hold back because you might feel a bit of guilt there. Hence, we suggest that you keep a good amount of little change and coins to give to only those who you think deserve. If unwilling to do so, nice smiles will do the job for you.
No Internet Access
You might fancy updating your status on Facebook, tweet, or broadcast but your wish won’t always be answered as you move to different new places. The internet does not cover all corners of the vast land of Mauritania. Therefore, it would be a great idea if notify your partner/parent back home that you’re going to be offline for some unspecific time.
Are you good at bargaining?
As a visitor, it’s very humane and noble to contribute to the economy of the small poor areas you visit. You’ll even sometimes buy tons of things you don’t need, just to show gratitude for hospitality and kindness. However, whether you need or not, we suggest that you bargain if it’s not that cheap. Though it’s time consuming. Of course the lack of linguistic skills would hinder you, but you still need to use every trick in the book to get the vendor reduce. They will be friendly no matter what and all the time, so go for it.
Ask before shooting!
Please ask local people before taking photos of them, or their material. Who wouldn’t hate a stranger taking their photos on the walk? When it comes to large numbers of goats, camels, or cows, you better think twice before picturing them. The cattle is the property of some, and it’s commonly thought that you take the goat or camel’s spirit by taking picture of it. You might think it’s silly, but it’s not a joke to them. So, be extra careful.
Having said that, we now propose you a list of the things that you better bring along.
– A torch, electricity goes off sometimes, or you might be in the middle of the desert.
– Toiletries ( plus wet wipes)
– A hat, our sun is scorching now and then.
– Sunscreen for the reason above.
– Power adapter.
– First-Aid kit, thought the risk of injury is the same as anywhere else.
– Sleeping bag/Mosquito net
– Swimsuit if intending to swim.
– A small camera better with SD card and extra batteries.
– Light cotton t-shirts / Woolen jumpers, our weather is so changeable