Between the Sahara desert and the rain forests near the western African coast lie the Sahel (Arabic Sahil), and the Savanna. The term sahel is Arabic for "shore"-it is the southern boundary of the Sahara desert, which was likened to a sea. The term savanna refers to a treeless or sparsely forested plain. Name applied to the semiarid region of Africa between the Sahara to the north and the savannas to the south, extending from Senegal, on the west, through Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, N Nigeria, Sudan, to Ethiopia on the east.