SAHEL (Arabic for "shore"); a common place-name in countries where Arabic is the dominant language. By sahel any coast belt may be indicated, but the name has become the definite designation of certain districts, e.g. the Tunisian coast between the gulfs of Hammamet and Gabes. Another region so called is that part of the Sahara washed by the Atlantic. The name is also used to designate the territory under French jurisdiction west of Timbuktu and north of the Senegal. Sahel thus understood comprises regions which form the inter- mediate zone between the fertile lands of the Sudan and the desert. In its plural form, Swahili, the word has become the tribal name of the natives inhabiting the coast strip opposite Zanzibar.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)