1,030,700 sq km.
Large cities: Nouakchott, Nouadhibou
Mauritania consists largely of desert, with only along the Senegal river in the south a more humid area. The only main road runs along the coast from the Western Sahara (de facto Morocco) border to the Senegalese border. The population is very young. The main cities are sprawling areas of organised and less-organised settlements without high-rises. Only the main roads are surfaced. A 728 km long railway runs from the port city of Nouadhibou to a mining area and boasted for a long time the longest trains in the world.
Nouakchott was served by STPN (Société des Transports Publics de Nouakchott). In 1979 the fleet consisted of 27 Saviem SC10 and 2 minibuses. The fleet was renewed and in 1984 consisted of 44 buses, among which were 20 Saviem S105 and 15 Mercedes-Benz OF1617, probably with Jonckheere bodywork. STPN also recieved 8 Berliet PGK205 in 1980 and 2 in 1981, 1 Berliet G45 in 1982 and 3 Berliet PG60S in 1983. In 2007 no trace of the company could be found, apart from some bus shelters. All bus transport in Nouakchott in 2007 was by privately owned secondhand, decripit, old and worn out Mercedes-Benz minibuses.
However, it appeared that a new urban bus company was to be formed in a joint venture with GLOBAL of the Canary Islands. Three newly imported and as yet unused Mercedes-Benz -Castrosua from the Canary Islands were seen parked.Click hereto go to the pictures.
Urban transport in Nouadhibou started on November 15, 2000 through a joint venture between GLOBAL SALCAI UTINSA from the Canary Islands and the Municipality of Nouadhibou (ref: Global newsletter). The company is called MT GLOBAL. Six used Pegaso -Castrosua were imported by Global to start the city service. In June 2007 one such bus was seen parked in Nouakchott.
Motorised interurban and rural public transport is by secondhand Mercedes-Benz vans in the towns and on tarred roads. Four-wheel drive vehicles, mainly Toyota Landcruiser, are used for off-road and desert transport. Inter urban buses are a recent phenomena. Just a few years ago several companies (El Bouragh, El Gavileh and LTM) started to operate the route Nouakchott-Nouadhibou, mostly providing one round trip per day. Secondhand European buses are used, except for El Gavileh who uses Mercedes-Benz -Catosa from Mexico, 20 of which were imported in 1998. Most of these are in service with the army, it appears. A recent (2009) site mentions the companies El Bouragh, Global, Al-Moussavir, As-Salaam, Somatir and Sonef as providing Nouakchott-Nouadhibu services. The mining companies in the north have employed buses for personnel transport for a much longer time. They are reported to have recieved 15 Mercedes-Benz OF1617 -Jonckheere in 1981 and 2 in 1985.
No formal bus body builders are known to exist in Mauritania, though local workshops will repair and rebuilt (small) buses.
Contributions were made by:
(maps and basic data: www.cia.gov)
Observations made during a visit in June/July 2007
DAF Bus market studies 1985.