Dambos are shallow, seasonally waterlogged, tropical and subtropical African wetlands. Their importance, through their role in agriculture and water supply to downstream river networks, has been widely acknowledged. As a result, much research has been conducted on the hydrological functions of dambos and their hydrogeological structures, in an attempt to better understand, utilize and manage this regionally ubiquitous landform. However, these studies have resulted in little consensus regarding the geomorphology of dambos, their hydrological regimes and the hydrogeological model that drives those regimes. This review paper, focusing on dambo hydrology, hydrogeology and their primary determinants, highlights the key issues of the debate and draws some overriding conclusions from the divergent literature. Five hypotheses are proposed based on these conclusions, in an attempt to focus future dambo research efforts.
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