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Mauritania - Enviornment

Mauritania Environment

With a 700 km (435 mi) Atlantic coastline, Mauritania takes up a slab of Western Africa some 1,030,400 sq km (402,000 sq mi) in size, about the same size as the US state of New Mexico or twice the size of France. Sharing borders with Morocco, Algeria, Mali and Senegal, Mauritania is about 60% desert - a figure that increases relentlessly as the Saharan sand spreads south-westward towards the sea. The further south you travel, the less intense the desert conditions are, giving way to scrubland and savannah. On the southwest boundary of the Senegal River there is a 400 km (250 mi) strip of fertile land where most of Mauritania's food crops are produced.

In the flood plains of the Senegal River, the new Diawling National Park is managing to attract birds - including endangered species. This influx adds to the already impressive birdlife found along the Atlantic coast. On the ground, however, the encroaching sands have sent animals as well as people packing; all that remains as far as animal life goes are a handfull of gazelle and the occasional bustard.

There is no rainy season, just hot-and-dry and hotter-and-dry. Rainfall is almost totally absent in the Sahara region. From June to August, temperatures average about 40°C (104°F), although along the coast, breezes keep the temperatures down a little. Weather between December and March in the capital Nouakchott is nearly perfect, with maximums averaging 29°C (85°F) and overnight lows of 13°C (55°F). Many places can register temperatures below freezing at any time of the year, so pack warm gear.

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