Banc d’Arguin National Park is one of the largest bird sanctuary areas in Africa and one of the few major wildlife reserves on the northwest coast of the continent. A primary resting ground and fisherie for millions of birds coming from Europe and Asia, this is one of the most important destinations for migratory birds in the world.
Despite its proximity to the ancient settled areas of North Africa, the coast of what is now Mauritania remained largely unsettled throughout much of history. To this day relatively few indigenous people call the region home. This helped to make the isolated coast a perfect undisturbed transit point for migrating birds. Only in recent years, when overfishing began depleting stocks, did it become necessary to formally establish the area as a sanctuary. It became a full-fledged national park in the 1980s and later a world heritage site.
Banc d’Arguin is all about the birds. Tens of thousands of African birds make the region their home year-round, while millions more from Europe, Greenland and Asia pass through seasonally. Over a hundred species have been spotted here, including Flamingo, Pelican, multiple species of Heron and Spoonbill and countless others.
Banc d’Arguin National Park covers over 12,000 square miles of area, including land and sea. It dominates about a third of the entire coast of Mauritania near the border of Western Sahara, approximately 100 miles north of Noukchott. It is open year round. There is no cost of admission. Web: www.pnba.mr (official website).