The insurance covers you in many West African countries, not just Mali (but not Mauritania itself) so worth doing in Nouakchott. I bought 3 months worth - was it about 40 euros or pounds? I can't really remember. From memory it's about 60% of the price compared to buying it in Mali and helps avoid a 25 Euro (asking price) fine if a policemen gets you in Mali.
Auberge Sahara isn't a very good place to camp (Auberge Sahara Mauritanie Nouakchott
google for waypoints) but it's on the edge of town on the road coming into Nouakchott so when you arrive in the late afternoon it's an easy place to crash rather than face driving around a strange city after a tiring day or three. A room isn't a bad idea perhaps - hot showers are the norm and good.
I would then move onto Auberge Menata - a bit more expensive (basically 5 euros per person for camping, compared to 3 at Sahara) but much nicer and run by a helpful French woman who speaks good English.
You can get a Mali visa on the same morning (drop off at 9am, pick up at 12) if your heading that way (2 months, 2 entries possible) but I quite like Noaukchott and think it's an interesting place to hang out in for a few days.
I was going to stick to the road going down the Senegal river but was warned (by policemen!) that the police along this route had quite a few roadblocks, could be difficult and there were plenty of mossies around so headed inland to Sellibaby etc
Hope that helps...
Last edited by roamingyak.org; 6 Dec 2007 at 11:00.