Mauritania’s Coastal Zone and Ras Nouadhibou Peninsula20.9N 17W
The Coastal Zone, or Sub-Canarian Zone, extends the length of Mauritania’s approximately 754-kilometer-long Atlantic shoreline. Prevailing oceanic trade winds from the Canary Islands modify the influence of the harmattan, producing a humid but temperate climate.
Rainfall here is minimal; in Nouadhibou it averages less than three centimeters annually and occurs between July and September. Battering surf and shifting sand banks characterize the entire length of the shoreline. Here, some dust can be seen blowing southwest off the coast.
One interesting feature of the coastline, visible near the center, is the Ras Nouadhibou (formerly Cap Blanc) peninsula. It forms Dakhlet Nouadhibou (formerly Lévrier Bay) to the east, and is fifty kilometers long and up to thirteen kilometers wide.
The peninsula is administratively divided between Western Sahara (north) and Mauritania (south), with the Mauritanian port and railhead of Nouadhibou located on the eastern shore. Dakhlet Nouadhibou, one of the largest natural harbors on the west coast of Africa, is fortythree kilometers long and thirty-two kilometers wide at its broadest point.