The Sahel is located south of the Sahara Desert and north of the Sudanian Savanna. It stretches across the entire continent of Africa, from the eastern coast to the western coast.
The Sahel is named after the Arabic word "sahel," which means "shore" and "coast," because of its vegetation that is similar to what would be normally found on a shoreline. The area varies in size as it travels from east to west. In some places, the Sahel is several hundred kilometers in width; in others it is up to a thousand kilometers wide (620 miles). The rainfall for the area is just as varied as its size. The northern region receive as little as 4 inches of rainfall per year while the southern region receives around 24 inches per year.