SahelAfrica at the southern edge of the Sahara Desert.
Well off-the-beaten-path for all but the hardiest of travellers; very unstable in the north
Interest for the traveller here is primarily centred on the Saharan dune regions
One of the largest countries in Africa and home to the world's oldest continuous major civilisations; it has been very prone to conflict
There is a very small population in this region of Africa. Cities are rare and far between but here are the main ones.
- — historically a very important stage on the trans-Saharan caravan routes in northern Niger
- — capital of Mali
- — capital of Sudan and by far the largest city in the region
- — one of the main ports in Mali and a good gateway for many impressive attractions such as Djenné, Timbuktu, and Dogon Country.
- — capital of Chad
- — capital of Niger and perhaps the most accessible Sahelian city for the traveler
- — capital of Mauritania
- — large Red Sea port city
- — a city of great historical importance particularly for education and the spread of Islam.
- — Two hours from Niamey in Niger, one of West Africa's largest animal markets, plus a colorful array of other traditional market and artisanal goods (Sundays)
- —a trek through this landscape of scattered cliff-side villages in is not to be missed by any Mali visitor
- — once a religious and commercial center to rival Timbuktu, this small town of multi-storey mud buildings in Mali is quite a sight
- — a large trans-border National Park, most accessible from Niamey in Niger
The Sahel runs 3,862 km from the Atlantic Ocean coast of Mauritania in the west to the Red Sea coast of Sudan in the east. The ecoregion definition takes in part of other countries but for the purposes of this travel guide, it includes all of Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Sudan. The region consists of semi-arid grasslands, savannas, steppes, and thorn shrublands lying between the Central African wooded savanna to the south, and the Sahara to the north.
The topography of the Sahel is mainly flat, and the region mostly lies between 200 and 400 m elevation.