The main types of swords in the Sahel are the takouba, the kaskara and variants of the Mandingo sabre.
The takouba is most often associated with the nomadic Tuareg. However the form is found among a very wide variety of ethnic groups and across a vast geographical area. It was equally used among the Hausa of Nigeria, the Fulani and reached into Kanem and Bornu. Swords of a similar form doubtless were also used in the Songhai empire.
The kaskara is best known from the British campaigns in the Sudan and immortalized by the film version of general Gordon's last stand in Khartoum. This type is found across the Sudan and Chad. The visual similarities with Medieval European swords has fascinated collectors for generations. However it is likely the form was the result of Mamluk influence in Egypt.
The Mandingo sabres are broad category. These guardless swords often feature European blades, although native blades are perhaps more common. Covering a wide area the type is also encountered deep into coastal West Africa.