Reading Passage 15 – Nouakchott ANSWERS

Keywords: Year 4+, non-fiction, 10 questions [6 MCQs, 4 short-answer], informative text, facts, Simple Wikipedia, geography.

Passage sourced from Simple Wikipedia,

Recommended time: 15 minutes.

Flag of Mauritania

Nouakchott (Arabic: نواكشوط or انواكشوط) is the capital city of the African country of Mauritania. It is the largest city in that country and one of the largest cities on the Sahara Desert. The city is the administrative and economic centre of Mauritania. The Arabic name is said to mean “The place of winds” in the language of the Berber people.

The city is often a place where the urban Mauritanians and the nomadic people of the area can interact.

The population of Nouakchott is about 881,000 people. It is hard to know exactly how many people live in the city because many of them are nomadic. They find a good place to live, set up their tent for a short time and then move to somewhere else.

Nouakchott from above

Although Islam is the state religion in Mauritania, Nouakchott includes the Cathedral of St. Joseph, a Catholic cathedral.

Nouakchott has a deep-sea port. It was opened in 1986. The port is mainly used for imports. The city also features an international airport. The city is home to the Université de Nouakchott. It is the only university in Mauritania. Things to see in Nouakchott include Nouakchott Museum, several markets including Nouakchott Silver Market, and the beaches.


  1. Nouakchott is ____________ in the country of _____________.

a) the capital city; Africa

b) a city; Africa

c) the capital city; Mauritania

d) a city; Mauritania

2. Which of these statements is false?

a) Nouakchott is the largest city in Mauritania

b) Nouakchott’s population solely consists of nomadic people

c) Nouakchott has a Catholic cathedral

d) Nouakchott has a population less than 1 million

3. Why does Nouakchott have a sea port?

a) To receive imports from other places.

b) It is a place where Mauritanians and nomadic people can meet.

c) To lead people to the city’s beaches and markets.

d) The city doesn’t have a sea port.

4. Which of these is not something you can visit in Nouakchott?

a) A university called ‘Université de Nouakchott’

b) Nouakchott Silver Market

c) Nouakchott Museum

d) An Anglican cathedral

5. The article says that “it is hard to know exactly how many people live in the city”. What reason does the article provide for this statement?

a) The population is primarily nomadic, meaning that they are Catholic

b) Many people living in the city are only there temporarily

c) Nomadic people arrive to study at the university, because it is the only university in Mauritania

d) Nouakchott is a large city with too many people to count

6. Why does the article give the Arabic name for Nouakchott?

a) The majority of people who would read this article would be Arabic speakers

b) To make the article more accessible to Arabic readers

c) The city’s official language is presumably Arabic

d) Arabic is a popular language around the world, including in Nouakchott

7. Nouakchott’s population is ____________ and it is one of the largest cities in ____________.

881,000. The Sahara Desert.

8. What is the meaning of the name ‘Nouakchott’? From which language does this name come from?

The name’s meaning is “The place of winds”. It comes from the language of the Berber people.

9. Why is it surprising for Nouakchott to have a Catholic cathedral?

Nouakchott is the capital city of Mauritania. Mauritania’s official religion is Islam, not Catholicism.

10. What is the main purpose of this article?

The main purpose of this article is to inform the reader about Nouakchott, the capital city of Mauritania in Africa.

See the original passage and questions here!

Note: This passage is from an article on Simple Wikipedia. To my knowledge, utilising this passage as a free educational exercise falls under fair use. If not, please let me know. I want to make sure that everything on this website is fair and right. The questions are of my own creation.


A teaching student whose goal is to become a primary-school teacher! I'm currently working as an English tutor to almost 100 students (they're all wonderful!).

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