I take a taxi to work every day. I get anywhere in Nouakchott for about one dollar. If I want to share my taxis with other passengers, it is half of that. I have met a few reliable taxi drivers and I call them on their cell phones whenever I need to go somewhere. If they are busy, my house is only a few steps away from a busy street where I can get a taxi within one minute. Taking taxis here is extremely convenient.
I am always amazed by the state of the taxis I see. Yesterday I saw a car that had so many holes in it that I could see straight through it. If it weren't for the four passengers in the backseat, it would have been invisible. You couldn't pay me $100 to step inside that car.
When I first arrived in Benin as a Peace Corps volunteer, one of the staff came to give us a safety lecture. She told us it was Peace Corps policy that all volunteers must fasten their seat belts in taxis. Apparently she had never taken a taxi in Benin because if she did she would have known that none of the taxis have seat belts! I think of her well-intentioned advice often. It was the same in Ethiopia working for the IRC. Most of the seat belts were broken there as well. Here in Mauritania it is the same but I always check just in case. I feel much safer traveling in a country without traffic laws when I am wearing a seat belt.
I don't like taking taxis in the night time. So if I am out late, I usually get rides with my friends. Last week my friend came to pick me up in this car. It had some serious problems! He put a jerry can inside to make it run and miraculously it worked. I refused to take a ride in this one though! Some times it is safer to take a taxi...