Dramatic late afternoon light over the Sahel in Northern Chad. The Sahel is Africas transition zone between the Sahara desert in the north and the Savanna belt in the south. Sahel means in Arabic "coast" or "shore", literally it is also the "coast of the Sahara". The Sahel belt is hot and dry and on most of the days quite windy, it is definitely one of the hardest inhabited regions of our world. For hundreds of years, the Sahel region has experienced regular droughts and mega droughts which led several times to large scale famine.