I’ve spent three months in Mauritania, Western Africa, living with a family in Kaedi close to Senegal, and traved into Ayoun, close to Mali. It’s a former French colony, but is best understood as a Muslim country.
The sandstorms and the locosts feel biblical as do the prayer calls to Mecca five times a day echoing out across the villages.
Definitely go for all the reasons that the tour books tell you not to. There is nothing like being in a country where there is so little development. Dare I say it, Mauritanians maybe suffering from malnourishment and diseases long conquered by the developed world, but they might be happier than we are, and they are certainly living a more sustainable life style… 8 years ago