The Senegal River, or Sénégal Fleuve, considered a sweet water river, is a 1,790 km (1,110 mi) long river in West Africa, that forms the border between Senegal and Mauritania. It was called Bambotus by Pliny the Elder (from Phoenician "behemoth" for hippopotamus) and Nias by Claudius Ptolemy. It was visited by Hanno the Carthaginian around 450 BC at his navigation from Carthage through the pillars of Herakles to Theon Ochema (Mount Cameroon) in the Gulf of Guinea. There was trade from here to the Mediterranean World, until the destruction of Carthage and its west African trade net in 146 BC.
The Sénégal's headwaters are the Semefé (Bakoye) and Bafing rivers which both originate in Guinea; they form a small part of the Guinean-Malian border before coming together at Bafoulabé in Mali. From there, the Senegal river flows west and then north through the spectacular Talari Gorges near Galougo and over the Gouina Falls, then flows more gently past Kayes, where it receives the Kolinbine. After flowing together with the Karakoro, it prolongs the former's course along the Mali-Mauritanian border for some tens of kilometers till Bakel where it flows together with the Faleme river, which also has its source in Guinea, subsequently runs along a small part of the Guinea-Mali frontier to then trace most of the Senegal-Mali border up to Bakel. The Senegal further flows through semi-arid land in the north of Senegal, forming the border with Mauritania and into the Atlantic. In Kaedi it accepts the Gorgol from Mauritania. Flowing through Bogue it reaches Richard Toll where it is joined by the Ferlo coming from inland Senegal's Lac de Guiers. It passes through Rosso and, approaching its mouth, around the Senegalese island on which the city of Saint-Louis is located, to then turn south. It is separated from the Atlantic Ocean by a thin strip of sand called the Langue de Barbarie before it pours into the ocean itself.
The river has two large dams along its course, the Manantali Dam in Mali, built as a reservoir, and the Maka-Diama dam on the Mauritania-Senegal border, near the outlet to the sea, preventing access of salt water upstream.
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