The Ferlo Desert, also known as the Ferio Desert, is a desert in northern-central Senegal.
The Ferlo Desert occupies an area of some 70,000 km2, over one-third of the country’s total area. It forms part of the region ofDjourbel which extends to within 45 miles (70 km) to the east of Dakar to the west and south of St Louis, known as “Baol” to the locals.
The Senegal River flows through the region, and valleys occur in the Sine Saloum Delta north of The Gambia. There are endless plains and sand dunes, with scattered rocks and small valleys with clay soils in which small water bodies form. The plain is crossed by the courses of numerous tributaries of the Senegal River, which for most of the year are dry and fill with water only occasionally during the rainy season (July to September).
The climate is very dry, characterized by a long dry season (which lasts for nine months a year), with winds from the very dry Sahara Desert. The wet season, in the period from July to September, is short and brings irregular rainfall brought by the humid air masses from the Gulf of Guinea
Flora and Fauna
The semi-desert zone of the Ferlo is known for its baobab trees. Leguminous plants such as Zornia glochidiata and Alysicarpus ovalifolius and Graminaceae such as Cenchrus biflorus, Dactyloctenium aegyptium, Chloris prieurii, Eragrotis tremula, Aristida mutabilis and Schonefeldia gracilis have been observed.
The national reserves Ferlo Sud Wildlife Reserve (Réserve de faune du Ferlo Nord) (RFFN) and Ferlo Sud Wildlife Reserve (Réserve de faune du Ferlo Sud) (RFFS) lie within the Ferlo desert region. Ferlo Nord Wildlife Reserve, established in 1971, covers an area of 6,000 square kilometres .Ferlo Sud Wildlife Reserve was established the following year, and is a little larger at 6,337 square kilometres).