Mauritania

NOUAKCHOTT PORT DE PÊCHE

Regardless of the time of day or day of the week, Port de Pêche in Nouakchott is in constant motion and hectic. There are always fishing boats leaving and others returning, with the daily catch quickly unloaded and brought to the market by hand or on donkey carts.

But the peculiarity that catches the eye is certainly the copious quantity of colorful pirogues that lie idle on the sand a few steps from the foreshore, piled one on top of the other, row after row. Each part of the pirogues has a unique, bespoke cut and is painted by hand in bright colors. Drawings representing animals, people, traditional motifs and symbols also adorn the boats.

TRAVEL

Khasab to Kumzar: 10 min from the city center of Nouakchott

Nouakchott map

These pirogues are built by artisans of the Fula and Wolof ethnic groups, originally from Senegal but well rooted in this segment of the Mauritanian economy. A small 3 meters long pirogue takes about a week to build, while a 20 meters long pirogue takes about a month. It is difficult to estimate how long they will last, as this largely depends on how often a pirogue is used, how well it is maintained and how good it was initially built, but fifteen years seems to be the longest one can hope for.

Port de Pêche in Nouakchott
Port de Pêche in Nouakchott
Port de Pêche in Nouakchott
Port de Pêche in Nouakchott

The reckless boats with few brave men set sail in a hurry in search of fish in good and bad weather.

Port de Pêche in Nouakchott
Port de Pêche in Nouakchott
Port de Pêche in Nouakchott

The beach in front of the market is bustling with activity. It is nothing more than a cacophony of colors, smells and sounds. Like an unstoppable assembly line, there are people who refuel or waterproof boats, repair fishing nets or rest and chat.

Port de Pêche in Nouakchott
Port de Pêche in Nouakchott
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Port de Pêche in Nouakchott
Port de Pêche in Nouakchott

Closer to the market, there are people who hurry back and forth with trays of fish, which they sort, gut, fillet and lay out on large trestles to dry.. There are women who sell snacks, cook and catch up with the latest news. Children playing, young students meeting and having fun together.

Closer to the market, there are people who hurry back and forth with trays of fish, which they sort, gut, fillet and lay out on large trestles to dry.. There are women who sell snacks, cook and catch up with the latest news. Children playing, young students meeting and having fun together.

And as per tradition, imprint of the French colonialism, there is no shortage of baguettes sellers along the beach.

Nouakchott-Port-De-Pêche -Fish-Market7
Port de Pêche in Nouakchott

Photo credits: Giulio Aprin

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