The Adrar massif in the north is full of stunning desert scenery. Take a 4x4 off-piste across rocky terrain and through narrow canyons to explore the lush, hidden oases which have provided water and refuge to traders crossing the Sahara for centuries. The Adrar contains two of the countries magnificent historical cities. Chinguetti was once a trading center and center of Islamic scholarship whose architecture remains unchanged in nearly a millenium. Along with Ouadane and a few other small towns, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And don't forget not to miss the world's longest train either just for a glimpse or to hop into an iron ore car filled with Mauritanians for the 12-hour ride from the Adrar to the coast. The remains of the Almoravid capital Azoughui as well as rock paintings are also draws of the Adrar.

Much of the central coastline is part of Parc National du Banc d'Arguin—home to millions of migrating birds each year. At Nouamgar, you can watch the unique spectacle of local tribesmen communicating with dolphins to round up teams of fish into shallow waters for them to be netted.

In the southeast, the oasis city of Oualata was the southern end of most trans-Sahara trading routes in the 13th & 14th centuries. The city boasts colourful buildings, many of which feature intricate geometric designs. The city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and also boasts a manuscript museum with examples of ancient scrolls in fine calligraphy.