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Atar

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Atar is a city in Saharan Mauritania.

Understand

Atar is a small town which is great for exploring the Adrar region and tends to be slightly cheaper overall than Chinguetti. Atar is growing in importance due to its proximity to an airport and a regional hospital.

Get in

Atar has Mouakchott Airport ATR IATA which used to be served by a daily flight from Marseille, France but as of writing there are only small charter flights available due to the kidnappings in other parts of Mauritania.

By train

The Iron Ore Train typically departs from Nouadhibou sometime between 14:30 and 22:00, depending when the cargo is finished loading. There is only one train a day with passenger cars and tickets can be arranged in advance or bought at the Nouadhibou train station (Gare Voyageurs) for around 1500 ouguiyas. Travel in the bucket cars is free, just climb aboard, but be forewarned it will be cold and dusty. The train stops at Choum where you can easily grab a ride to Atar in one of the many bush taxis or pickups which will meet the train for around 1500-2000 ouguiyas.

By road

There is a paved and fast road which runs from Nouakchott to Atar served by a variety of minibuses (including one run by a kindly French ex-pat) and bush taxis. All of the rides going to Atar tend to leave Nouakchott from the Garage Atar at the end of town. Typical fare is around 4000 ouguiyas.

Get around

Atar is quite small and can easily be walked, although some auberges and resorts lie quite far out of town. Taxis are available and can usually be caught around the traffic circle in the center of town, fares run from around 100-300 ouguiyas depending on distance.

See

Atar has a few markets which may be of interest to the souvenir hunter and prices tend to be lower than Chinguetti although bargaining is of course expected.

Do

Buy

Eat

  • Restaurant Agadir. in the center of town serves typical Moroccan fare for around 600 ouguiyas a plate.
  • Restaurant De la Coin. A little harder to find, this hole in the wall Senegalese restaurant dishes out plates at around 300 ouguiyas.
  • Auberge Bab Sahara. On the pricier end try a home-cooked lunch (700 ouguiyas and up) or dinner (3500 ouguiyas for a 3 course menu)

Drink

The occasional beer can be found at Auberge Bab Sahara

Sleep

For its size Atar contains a good number of auberges, hotels and resorts.

  • The Auberge Bab Sahara (about a km outside of town on the road to Choum). Located has rooms ranging from mattresses on one of two terraces, a number of traditional tents or stone huts for the more luxurious. Plentiful bathroom and shower facilities (including hot water). The hospitality of the owners is genuine and they will gladly help arrange bush taxis or tours. Terrace/Tent spots start at 2000 ouguiyas (1500 for students and cyclists) and 5000 for huts..

Connect

Go next

Bush Taxis or 4x4's to Choum, Chinguetti, or Nouakchott can be arranged in the Garage, the market or at most hotels.

Many of the oases and other natural sites in the region can be seen in day trips leaving from Atar. Ask around at your hotel/auberge to arrange bush taxis, 4x4's, or rent bikes. If your feeling adventurous wander into the market and you will doubtless get offers of obliging drivers ready to show yoy what they consider to be the most interesting sites.


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