A guide to filming in Mauritania

Filmmakers can work with a mesmerizing canvas of varied landscapes when filming in Mauritania, which includes everything from enormous desert expanses to lovely coastal districts along the Atlantic Ocean. With Meticulous planning and coordination with local authorities which are crucial to a successful filming experience. Start by securing the necessary licenses and authorization from government offices, including the Ministry of Culture or Tourism depending on where your film falls. Working with local fixers company like us who are familiar with the geography and customs of Mauritania can help ensure smooth logistical navigation and access to special places for filming.

Filmmakers can choose from a wide variety of locations when filming in Mauritania, including the wind-tossed dunes of the Sahara Desert and the coastal areas by the Atlantic Ocean. A successful filmmaking project in Mauritania requires careful planning and coordination with local authorities. In order to ensure compliance with local norms and requirements, start by getting the required permits and clearances from pertinent government bodies, such as the Ministry of Culture or Tourism. Hire local production companies or fixers who are experienced with the terrain and customs of Mauritania to help you safely negotiate logistical hurdles and reach special places for filming. Respecting local customs and cultures is crucial to the whole filmmaking process, from getting permission to shoot in local communities to sensitively and authentically presenting cultural behaviours. Make safety a top priority, particularly while filming in isolated desert areas, and provide for practical transportation. Filmmakers can capture Mauritania’s magnificent environment and tales while building positive relationships with local populations by approaching the shooting process with planning, respect, and teamwork.

Film fixer In Mauritania.

Would you like to shoot in Mauritania? We at Africa Fixers are glad to provide a variety of filming services for your next documentary or feature film.  When organizing a shoot, our local film fixer also takes other crucial factors into account. Are you trying to find a Mauritania film fixer to help you with press passes, work permits, visas, customs clearance for your kit, travel, lodging, and permission to film? You may get the most skilled and dependable film fixers at Africa Fixers, so go there for all your filmmaking requirements.

Obtaining Filming Permission in Mauritania

Obtaining filming permission in Mauritania requires a systematic approach and adherence to local regulations. Filmmakers should begin by contacting their local fixer in the country to get in touch with the Mauritanian Ministry of Culture, Arts, and Tourism to initiate the permit application process. It’s essential to provide comprehensive details about the filming project, including the locations, dates, and intended activities, as well as any necessary documentation such as scripts, production schedules, and insurance information. Working with the local fixer in most cases is the easiest way with Mauritania’s administrative procedures and can streamline the process and ensure compliance with all requirements. Additionally, obtaining permits for specific filming locations, particularly in protected areas or cultural sites, may require additional approvals from relevant authorities, such as national parks or historical preservation boards.

Visa application in Mauritania

Filming in Mauritania requires one to have a visa which can be gotten from ones embassy or consulate. You must take the following actions to apply for a visa to Mauritania. Fill out the application as completely and accurately as you can, making sure to include all required information. You can also use the self-help online application form and fill it out for your visa. In addition to the application form, you need to submit the following for your visa to be approved and issued out:

  • Original Passport with at least 6 months validity
  • Passport sized photograph. This has to be a recent photo.
  • Invitation letter
  • Proof of travel arrangements
  • Proof of status such as identity documents and work Identification, school identification.
  • Proof of Yellow Fever vaccination.

Do note that the approval process can take some days so it is important to apply several days before your arrival date to avoid any kind of inconveniences or delays.

Importing Filming Equipment in Mauritania

Yes, it is possible to temporarily import filming equipment into Mauritania for professional purposes. Filmmakers intending to bring equipment into the country on a temporary basis should ensure compliance with Mauritanian customs regulations. This typically involves obtaining a temporary importation permit from the relevant authorities, such as the Directorate General of Customs. When applying for the permit, filmmakers will need to provide detailed documentation about the filming project, including equipment lists, serial numbers, and a letter of intent outlining the temporary nature of the importation. It’s important to note that the temporary importation permit may come with specific conditions, such as a requirement to re-export the equipment within a designated timeframe and a fee payment will be required after valuation of your non-refundable bond. We advise employing a local fixer to communicate with the customs bonded agent in order to set up the importation process and ensure a smooth customs clearance. It will be simpler and faster to cross customs if you have assistance from a local fixer.

Hiring Filming equipment in Mauritania

Hiring filming equipment locally is a good idea if you are looking to film for a short period and do not want to go through the process of customs clearance. Mauritania has a number of equipment rental companies that can provide the equipment you are looking for. All you have to do is send a list of the equipment you want so that we can source it for you. Keep in my mind that you have to send in the rental request in time to avoid issues of unavailability.

Drone importation In Mauritania

Temporary importing drones for filming purposes in Mauritania is possible but requires adherence to specific regulations and procedures. Film crews intending to bring drones into the country must obtain authorization from the Mauritanian authorities, typically through the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (Direction Générale de l’Aviation Civile – DGAC). This involves submitting a formal request outlining the purpose of drone usage, specifications of the drone(s), intended filming locations, and duration of stay in the country. Additionally, filmmakers may need to provide documentation such as drone registration, insurance, and details of the operator’s qualifications or licenses. It’s crucial to note that drone operations are subject to strict regulations in Mauritania, including restrictions on flying in certain areas, altitudes, and times of day. Therefore, obtaining clearance from DGAC and adhering to all stipulated guidelines is essential to ensure legal compliance and the smooth execution of filming activities involving drones in Mauritania. The process can be length and time consuming hence you need to start on it as early as possible to ensure that you get it in time, a month or so in advance is advised.

Drone rules and regulations in Mauritania

If you are planning to fly drones in the country, you have to follow the rules and regulations which include the following.

  • Registration: Drones must be registered with the Mauritanian authorities before operation.
  • Authorization: Operators must obtain authorization from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGAC) for drone use.
  • Operator Qualifications: Operators must demonstrate proficiency in drone operation and may be required to provide evidence of training or certification.
  • Restricted Areas: Drones are prohibited from flying over certain areas, including airports, military installations, government buildings, and other sensitive locations.
  • Altitude Restrictions: There may be altitude restrictions imposed on drone operations to ensure safety and airspace integrity.
  • Flight Times: Drones may only be operated during daylight hours and must be grounded during nighttime.
  • Safety Precautions: Operators must adhere to safety guidelines, including maintaining visual line of sight with the drone, avoiding flying over crowds or populated areas, and ensuring the drone is in good working condition.
  • Privacy Considerations: Operators must respect individuals’ privacy rights and avoid capturing images or footage of people without their consent, particularly in private settings.
  • Commercial Use: Different regulations may apply for commercial drone operations, requiring additional permits or approvals for activities such as aerial photography or videography for commercial purposes.
  • Penalties for Violations: Non-compliance with drone regulations may result in fines, confiscation of equipment, or legal repercussions.

Filming locations in Mauritania

Mauritania offers a diverse array of stunning filming locations, ranging from expansive deserts to picturesque coastal landscapes and culturally rich urban centres. Here’s a detailed look at some of the top filming locations in Mauritania:

Sahara Desert: The vast expanse of the Sahara Desert covers much of Mauritania’s eastern and northern regions, providing filmmakers with breathtaking landscapes of sand dunes, rocky plateaus, and desert plains. Locations such as Chinguetti and Ouadane offer picturesque desert scenery perfect for adventure films, documentaries, and desert-themed productions.

Banc d’Arguin National Park: Situated along the Atlantic coast, Banc d’Arguin National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site renowned for its diverse ecosystems, including coastal wetlands, sandbanks, and mangrove forests. The park is home to a rich variety of bird species, marine life, and migratory birds, making it an ideal filming location for nature documentaries and wildlife-focused projects.

Nouakchott: As the capital and largest city of Mauritania, Nouakchott offers a mix of urban and coastal landscapes. Filmmakers can capture the city’s bustling markets, vibrant streets, and modern architecture, as well as its scenic coastline along the Atlantic Ocean.

Atar: Serving as the gateway to the Adrar Plateau, Atar boasts stunning desert landscapes characterized by dramatic cliffs, canyons, and rock formations. The town’s traditional architecture and cultural heritage make it an intriguing filming location for documentaries and narrative films exploring Mauritanian culture and history.

Chinguetti: Known as one of the oldest desert cities in the world, Chinguetti features well-preserved medieval architecture, including ancient mosques, libraries, and traditional houses. This historic town offers a unique setting for filming historical dramas, cultural documentaries, and heritage-focused projects.

Terjit Oasis: Tucked away in the desert near Atar, Terjit Oasis is a picturesque natural oasis surrounded by palm trees, freshwater pools, and lush vegetation. The oasis provides a tranquil backdrop for filming scenes of natural beauty and serenity.

Richat Structure: Also known as the “Eye of the Sahara,” the Richat Structure is a prominent geological formation located in the Maur Adrar Desert. Its distinctive circular shape and concentric rings make it a visually striking filming location for science fiction, adventure, or mystery-themed productions.

Nouadhibou: Mauritania’s second-largest city, Nouadhibou, is home to Port de Peche, one of the country’s largest fishing ports. Filmmakers can capture scenes of bustling fish markets, colorful fishing boats, and the vibrant atmosphere of a working port.

These and many more can be added onto your filming locations list when in Mauritania. Feel free to reach out to us for more information in regards to filming in any location in the country.

How should one conduct themselves when filming in Mauritania?

It is imperative to act with decency, tact, and knowledge of the laws and customs of Mauritania when filming. Start by ensuring compliance with local filming legislation and acquiring all required permits and clearances from pertinent agencies, such as the Ministry of Culture or Tourism. It is crucial to respect Mauritius culture and customs, thus get permission before filming in public or private areas and try not to interfere with everyday life. Respect Islamic traditions and dress modestly, particularly on holy days and in rural regions. Work together with local production helpers or fixers to overcome logistical obstacles and foster goodwill with the community. During the filming process, keep lines of communication open and express gratitude for the hospitality of the Mauritius people. This will promote understanding and cooperation amongst all parties. Lastly, make a constructive influence by respecting the environment, cleaning up filming locations, and promoting a positive image of Mauritania through your production.

Are there any limitations on the type of content that can be filmed in Mauritania?

When filming content in Mauritania, respecting cultural sensibilities is crucial as is staying away from depictions that can be interpreted as rude, offensive, or out of place in a particular culture. Furthermore, without special permission, recording in some sensitive locations or subjects—like military installations or places of worship—may not be permitted. Filming unlawful activity or anything that can encourage violence, discrimination, or injury to people or communities is also forbidden by the law. Acquainting oneself with local laws and practices is essential, as is consulting local authorities or specialists to guarantee observance and a dignified representation of local society and culture.

Best Time to Film In Mauritania.

The best time to film in Mauritania depends on the specific needs of your project and the locations you intend to capture. Generally, the dry season, which runs from November to April, is considered the optimal time for filming in Mauritania. During this period, the weather is typically dry and sunny, with minimal rainfall and comfortable temperatures, making it ideal for outdoor shooting and exploring desert landscapes.

The months of December to February are particularly pleasant, with cooler temperatures and clear skies. This period is well-suited for filming in the desert regions of Mauritania, such as the Sahara Desert and the Adrar Plateau, where you can capture stunning landscapes and natural wonders without the risk of extreme heat or sandstorms.

However, it’s important to note that Mauritania experiences significant temperature variations between day and night, especially in desert areas, so be prepared for temperature drops after sunset.

While the dry season offers favorable filming conditions, the wet season (from May to October) may also present unique opportunities, particularly for capturing scenes of lush vegetation, wildlife activity, and dramatic cloud formations. However, filming during the wet season comes with the risk of occasional rainfall and humidity, which could impact outdoor shooting schedules.

Ultimately, the best time to film in Mauritania depends on your project’s specific requirements, the desired aesthetic, and your tolerance for weather-related challenges. Conduct thorough research, consider seasonal factors, and plan your filming schedule accordingly to maximize the quality and success of your production.

Languages Spoken In Mauritania.

The variety of languages spoken in Mauritania is a reflection of the nation’s rich cultural past. The official language, Arabic, is widely used in the media, administration, and educational system. Furthermore, French is a highly valuable second language that is frequently utilized in formal communication, business, and administration. Many ethnic groups speak their native tongues in the local areas; these languages include Hassaniya Arabic, Wolof, Soninke, and Pulaar. Hassaniya Arabic is a dialect of Arabic with African and Berber elements. It is especially common among the Moors, who make up a large section of the population in Mauritania. Being multilingual is prevalent among Mauritanians, as many of them speak more than one language, which promotes cross-linguistic and cross-ethnic communication.

Accessing Mauritania

Accessing Mauritania typically involves arriving by air or land, as it is situated in Northwest Africa with no direct access to the sea. Here’s a guide to accessing Mauritania:

By Air: The easiest and most common way to access Mauritania is by flying into Nouakchott International Airport (NKC), which serves as the main gateway to the country. Several international airlines operate flights to Nouakchott from major cities in Africa and Europe, including Air France, Royal Air Maroc, Turkish Airlines, and Mauritania Airlines International. From the airport, travelers can arrange onward transportation to their final destinations within Mauritania.

By Land: Mauritania shares land borders with Western Sahara, Algeria, Mali, and Senegal. Travelers can enter Mauritania overland from neighboring countries, although road conditions and border crossings may vary in terms of accessibility and infrastructure. The most common overland entry points include the border crossings with Senegal at Rosso and with Morocco at Guerguerat.

Internal Transportation: Local transport services are available and reliable for use in Mauritania. The transport system is very efficient and safe. You have several options to choose from. This choice will depend on your budget, crew size, equipment, and any other preferences you may have. Africa Fixers provides these transportation services with professional and well-versed drivers in the local areas.

Hiring Local filming crew in Mauritania.

Local crews in Mauritania might be recruited for filming. Depending on the size and requirements of your project, a number of talents are available for a variety of professions, including camera operators, sound technicians, lighting technicians, production assistants, and more. Developing ties with local production companies or media specialists could be a great method to start your hunt for capable crew members who are aware of the terrain, traditions, and practicalities of filming in Mauritania.

Projects Filmed in Mauritania

While not as extensively documented as in some other countries, Mauritania has been the backdrop for several film projects over the years, showcasing its unique landscapes and cultural heritage. Here are a few notable examples:

  • “Timbuktu” (2014): Directed by Abderrahmane Sissako, “Timbuktu” is a critically acclaimed drama film that portrays life under jihadist occupation in Mali. While primarily set in Mali, the film also includes scenes filmed in the Mauritanian desert, highlighting the region’s stark beauty and serving as a poignant backdrop for the narrative.
  • “Waiting for Happiness” (2002): Directed by Abderrahmane Sissako, this poetic drama film explores themes of migration, identity, and modernization in a small Mauritanian coastal village. The film beautifully captures the rhythms of daily life in Mauritania and has received praise for its evocative cinematography.
  • “Heremakono” (2002): Also directed by Abderrahmane Sissako, “Heremakono” follows the journey of a young man from Mauritania who dreams of escaping to Europe. The film showcases the coastal landscapes of Mauritania and addresses themes of globalization and cultural change.
  • “Timbuktu Tarab” (2009): Directed by Khalilou M. Bâ, this documentary film explores the cultural heritage of Mauritania through the lens of traditional music. The film features performances by Mauritanian musicians and offers insights into the country’s rich musical traditions.
  • “La Petite Vendeuse de Soleil” (1999): Directed by Djibril Diop Mambéty, this Senegalese film includes scenes filmed in Mauritania. The film tells the story of a young girl who sells newspapers on the streets of Dakar and explores themes of resilience and determination.

Why Use Africa Fixers for Your Shoot in Mauritania.

Africa Fixers is an African fixing company. We support production companies and filming companies in Mauritania and other countries that are listed on our website. Over the years, we have worked with many production firms on several projects, making us quite experienced in this area. We manage all fixer services required with our skilled staff of local fixers. We have all required relationships with various service providers and government authorities in Mauritania to ensure that accreditation and filming permissions are processed fast. For further information and other necessary specifics for a successful filming experience, get in touch with us.