Super Sahel Facts: Learn About This African Region!

Divya Raghav
Oct 12, 2022 By Divya Raghav
Originally Published on Mar 31, 2022
Edited by Erin Murton
Fact-checked by Sonali Rawat
Sahel facts state that it is in southwestern Africa and stretches for about 3417.54 mi (5500 km) to the south and 279.61 mi (450 km) to the north, sandwiched between forests and deserts.

The Sahel region is a narrow region located in West Africa.

Sahel is an Arabic word that means 'shoreline' or 'edge'. It has dry land where no agricultural activity can occur.

The region is today facing many problems, including soil erosion. There are strong seasonal variations in rainfall, sometimes resulting in severe drought or extreme flooding . Since 1970, rainfall has been below average. As a result the land has become drier, leading to increasing issues with drought in that area.

The population of the region has increased recently because of better health care. There has been an improvement in the birth rate of the people and a reduction in the death rate. There are many more things that you may want to know about the region. Read on to find out more about the Sahel!

Geographical Location Of Sahel

The Sahel region is a narrow belt of land situated in West Africa. It is a dry land of about 279.6 mi (450 km) wide and 3,417.5 mi (5,500 km) long. The region lies at the Southern edge of the Sahara desert in the north and the Sahelian forest area to the south.

It has a tropical semi-arid climate, and the temperature is relatively high. The area receives only 3.93-7.87 in (100-200 mm) of rainfall a year.

It is more concentrated during the month of summer, and that too can be unreliable. It is a dry area and getting dryer, making it hard to grow crops and keep livestock. Soil erosion is a growing problem in the regions, made worse by flash floods and strong winds.

Flora And Fauna

The climate in the Sahel is mainly dry, with rainfall being very seasonal and becoming more scare. This is causing increasing problems with draught, significantly impacting the lives of the people living there, making agriculture difficult.

The natural habitats do not have much protection in the region, which is also subject to an increase in the local population. There is a need for a lot of trees to be cut down to meet demands for firewood, thus causing deforestation.

The crops cannot be grown easily because as well as a lack of water, the soil there has become infertile, and there is a lack of nutrients. If these conditions continue for a long time, there will be very little agricultural success on the land. More people are keeping animals for food because of these issues with growing crops.

In the Sahel region, the climate is semi-arid tropical. It is hot throughout the year. It rarely rains in this region. Summer months are the peak rainfall times, though it is unreliable.

Desertification And Soil Loss

When there is dry land, there is little or no vegetation, leading to increased soil erosion in most countries of the Sahel zone. The exposed ground is susceptible to soil loss, especially during flash floods when top soil gets washed away.

This can also lead to a reduction in available groundwater in the Sub-Saharan Africa region. An initiative for combating desertification in Africa, called Great Green Wall, was founded in 2007.

Challenges And Crises Faced By The Sahel

Several challenges are faced by the people living in the Sahel Region. Already mentioned above are the increasing problems associated with soil loss and draught, which is making framing and the growth of crops very difficult in the region.

Unfortunately, climate change is making these issues worse, with less predictable rainfall, increased flash flooding and storms. The area is undergoing desertification, which is when the land gradually loses much of its vegetation and becomes more and more arid, moving towards desert habitat.

In addition to the issues faced by changes in the climate, the countries in the region are also subject to significant unrest and violence from armed groups, as well as economic insecurity and poverty.


What is the Sahel famous for?

The Sahel is known for its potential for renewable energy. It is one of the regions rich with an abundant supply of natural resources, humans, and culture.

What is life like in the Sahel?

People in the Sahel are semi-nomadic cattle herders that move with the seasonal flooding of Niger. In addition, some farmers manage their living from sorghum and millet crops.

What animals live in the Sahel?

The Sahel is inhabited by many different animals. The birds you can find there include lots of migratory bird species. Mammals species such as oryx, gazelles, african buffalo, elephants and giraffes live in the Sahel.

What countries are in the Sahel?

It includes the west to eastern parts of Northern Senegal, Cameroon, Chad, The Gambia, Burkina Faso, Senegal, and Niger.

Why is farming so difficult in the African Sahel?

Several significant obstacles make it difficult for farming: climate change, financing, Technology & Education, and policy & infrastructure.

Why is desertification taking place in the Sahel?

It is taking place in the Sahel because of the growth in population, reduction in rainfall, land degradation, and lack of environmental policies.

What does the Sahel mean in English?

The Sahel is an Arabic word, and its meaning in English is 'shore' and 'edge'.

How big is the Sahel?

The area of the Sahel is 1,178,850 sq mi (3,053,200 sq km). A distance of 3,670 mi (5,900 km) lies between it and the Red Sea. 

How are environmental problems in the Sahel being addressed?

Several environmental problems are being addressed in the Sahel, such as land degradation, rainfall, and soil loss.

What is life like in the Sahel?

Cattle herders and farmers earn their living semi-nomadically in the Sahel, where grazing land and desert meet.

What is the most common economic activity in the Sahel?

The most common economic activity in the Sahel is agriculture,

Why does the Sahel have conflict?

It has faced the conflict of displacement, poverty, and hunger. It is even compounded by climate change and also because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Is the Sahel a desert?

It is the transition zone between the belt of humid savannas in the south and the Sahara desert.

Does the Sahel get rain?

The Sahel receives 3.93-7.87 in (100-200 mm) of rainfall per year in the north and 19.68-23.62 in (500-600 mm) of rainfall in the south.

What is the climate of Sahel?

The climate of Sahel is arid and hot; there are also seasonal variations in the temperature and rainfall.

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Written by Divya Raghav

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance, Master of Business Administration

Divya Raghav picture

Divya RaghavBachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance, Master of Business Administration

With a diverse range of experience in finance, administration, and operations, Divya is a diligent worker known for her attention to detail. Born and raised in Bangalore, she completed her Bachelor's in Commerce from Christ University and is now pursuing an MBA at Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Bangalore. Along with her professional pursuits, Divya has a passion for baking, dancing, and writing content. She is also an avid animal lover who dedicates her time to volunteering for animal welfare causes.

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Fact-checked by Sonali Rawat

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature, Masters of Art specializing in English and Communication Skills

Sonali Rawat picture

Sonali RawatBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature, Masters of Art specializing in English and Communication Skills

Sonali has a Bachelor's degree in English literature from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University and is currently pursuing a Master's in English and Communication from Christ University. With considerable experience in writing about lifestyle topics, including travel and health, she has a passion for Japanese culture, especially fashion, and anime, and has written on the subject before. Sonali has event managed a creative-writing festival and coordinated a student magazine at her university. Her favorite authors are Toni Morrison and Anita Desai.

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