Mauritania opened the scoring against the run of play as Diallo Guideye got the beating of Itumeleng Khune with a low shot from 19-yards out in the 17th minute.
South Africa then upped the tempo as they looked to level shortly afterwards, and so they did when Thulani Hlatshwayo headed down Mpho Makola's corner to allow Hlompho Kekana to head home from close range.
Gabuza had a great chance to hand Bafana the lead, after a defensive lapse from Mauritania, but Brahim Souleymane was quick off his line to thwart the big striker.
The half ended as Souleymane was receiving treatment on his bloody face after the collision with Gabuza.
Seven minutes into the second half, Kekana had the ball in the back of the net but the far-side officiak flagged for an offside as the goal was ruled out.
in the 55th minute, the hosts had a glorious opportunity to take the lead but Thamsanqa Gabuza's penalty was comfortbaly saved by substitute goalkeeper Boubacar.
The rest of the half went at a stop-start as the visitors tried to waste time to hold on for the draw.
With 15 minutes to go, Mauritania were reduced to 10 men when Diakhite was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Khune, but South Africa could not capitalise on the one-man advantage.
Shakes Mashaba has already named his line-up, which features five changes from the side that beat Gambia 4-0 in their last outing, while Thulani Hlatshwayo will don the captains armband.
Though the result will have no bearing on South Africa's qualification chances for next year's Afcon finals in Gabon, Mashaba has fielded a full strength XI seeking revenge from their 3-1 away defeat to Les Mourabitones exactly a year ago.
The fixture, however, will serve as a pre-World Cup qualifying freindly as Bafana look to build momentum going into their opening 2018 World Cup Qualifier against Burkina Faso next month.
Meanwhile, Mauritania are still very much in the running for a spot at next year's continental competiton as a win would leave them second, behing group winners Senegal, and could advance as one of the two best second-placed teams.
Bafana XI: Khune, Mobara, Langerman, Mphahlele, Hlatshwayo (c), Jali, Kekana (Furman 67'), Makola, Modiba, Vilakazi (Motupa 83'), Gabuza (Rantie 60').
Subs: Mabokgwane, Daniels, Furman, Masango, Rantie, Motupa, Hlanti
Mauritania XI: Souleymane, Wade, N'diaye, Sally, Camara, Guideye, Yaly, El Id, Khalil, Bagili, Diakhite