Mauritania is a country of captivating human, cultural, physical and climatic contrasts.
In the north is the Sahara desert, scattered with a multitude of oasis, verdant havens of serenity. Towards the south, the desert gives way to the savannah of the Sahel, which in turn merges with the humid regions on the banks of Senegal River. The country also has 700 km of Atlantic coastline, with abundant fish population.
Mauritania has a population of about 4 million, distributed between four communities which coexist in harmony despite the differences in their languages and lifestyles; the Arabs, the Pulhars, the Soninkes and the Wolof.
They all belong to the Maliki school of Sunni Islam, which is known for its tolerance.
Over 80% of Mauritania is desert, a climate to which only palm trees, dromedaries and goats are adapted. The food that they produce has made it possible for humans to live in this areas, maintaining their welcoming lifestyle, for many centuries.
The staple foods of the inhabitants of the oasis, produced and consumed for much of their history, are dates, milk, wheat, barley, and camel and goat milk.
More recently, the inhabitants have also started cultivating vegetables such as carrots, turnips and cabbages in the shade of the palm trees. Mint is also grown and is used to make the ubiquitous green tea.
Fish and its derivatives are eaten by communities living near the coast, such as the Imraguen.
The fishermen are helped by dolphins which drive schools of mullet towards the shore. The fishermen wade into the water and gather up the fish in nets that they carry on their shoulders.
The women than clean and dry the fish, and remove the roe during the reproductive season.