Oleshkovsky Sands is a fantastic place in the Kherson region in Ukraine, which resembles a natural desert. For this, he was nicknamed the Ukrainian Sahara. In reality, this is not only a desert. There are also areas with herbaceous vegetation, pine forests, and reed thickets. Dense artificial forests surround the parks.
The unique natural site is located near the Black Sea coast in the southern part of mainland Ukraine. The total area of the national park is 1600 km2. The territory stretches 150 km from south to north and 30 km from west to east.
The grounds of the park are ancient territory. Judging by the excavations, human settlements were already here in the 11th century. The origin of the sandy soil itself is attributed to the postglacial period. Previously, there was a dense forest with various representatives of flora. The semi-desert was formed due to rapid deforestation. Until about the 18-19th century, grasses and small shrubs grew on the territory, thanks to which the spread of the sandy cover was restrained.
After that, the situation changed. The reason was the active development of sheep breeding. Most of the steppe territories of Ukraine were given over to grazing animals. Herds of millions quickly destroyed the vegetation, moisture ceased to linger, and wind erosion led to the formation of sand dunes.
It is interesting! Friedrich Falz-Fein, who is the founder of the Askania Nova nature reserve, "helped" the formation of the Oleshkovsky sands.
In the 50s of the last century, the government tried to stop the spread of the sandy zone. For this, millions of trees were planted around the desert, with a total area of over a thousand km2, and a forestry and research station was formed. The state national park was founded in 2010. Today its territory consists of sandy areas and artificial forests. The Ukrainian dessert got its name - "Oleshki Sands" - thanks to the village of Oleshki (Aleshki), located nearby.
Oleshkovskie sands are located 30 km from Kherson. It would be best if you went like this:
The most convenient way to travel through the desert is an off-road vehicle. Such a car can easily cope with off-road conditions and will give maximum comfort during the trip. Each traveller has the opportunity to profitably order a car rental in Kyiv daily service and go to explore the Ukrainian Sahara.
The most convenient way to visit the park is with a professional guide - an employee of the garden or guides. This eliminates the likelihood of getting lost in the vast expanses of the desert. The problem is that all landscapes are the same type and similar to each other.
Important! The visit to the park is strictly limited: from 05:00 to 10:00 and from 19:00 to 22:00. The reason is the heating of sand to 70 degrees and air to 40 degrees, which increases the risk of heat, sunstroke and burns.
Keep in mind that the fauna of the sands is quite diverse. There are different creatures, so there is a risk of getting a bite.
Oleshkovsky Sands is not the largest desert in Europe but the second largest. Three ecological hiking trails have been developed on the territory. The environmental research department "Radenskoye" has developed eco-paths "The World of Oleshkovsky sands" and "Through the Oleshkovskaya desert", and the department of "Burkuta" created the eco-path "Birch grove". Each of them is interesting in its own way, both to a Ukrainian and a foreigner.
The length of the eco-trail reaches 2 km 200 m. The route is circular. Moving along it, there will be four species stops. It is rational to go along the way with a guide who will tell you about flora and fauna, as well as about the landscape diversity of the park.
The following steps are provided on the way:
You will be able to overcome the route in about 2-2.5 hours. You need to follow the green-yellow signs.
The trail will appeal to all travellers, regardless of age. The route is designed to acquaint travellers with the natural complexes, flora and fauna of the desert. The total length is 2500 m.
There are eight stops along the route. The first is a gazebo, where you can relax, eat or go to the toilet. The second is a panoramic viewpoint on a hill, from where a picturesque view of the entire reserve is open. The third is an oasis in a birch grove, which is included in the Red Book of Ukraine for a unique species of birches. The fourth is an apple tree in the desert, which is surprising because this is an atypical place of growth for it. Sparrows and magpies also live here.
The fifth stop is an unusual neighbourhood where you can see wolves, foxes, hares, lake frogs and scarab beetles. The sixth is a high desert hill that rises 15 meters. You can see the lowlands of sandy hills filled with water. The seventh is in the pines, which is a grove with Crimean and ordinary pines. Here you can enjoy your vacation and enjoy the incredible pine aroma. The eighth stop is a birch grove, where mushrooms are even found. Its uniqueness in the unusually mild winters for Ukraine.
The route is marked with unique markings, boards and signs. This allows you not to get lost and follow the eco-path accurately.
The route stretches for 2350 m. Along the way, landscapes change from sands to lakes. The following steps are provided:
The journey along this trail will take about 2.5 hours. The route is circular. If you follow the markings, you won't get lost.
Each season has its own pros and cons for travelling. Still, it is not recommended to go to the desert in the summer. It will be too hot and dry. If only this time is suitable for the trip, get out early in the morning or late afternoon.
The optimal time is April or May. These months are warm enough but not hot. You can enjoy a walk in the desert without getting burnt under the sun.
The ideal time is autumn. You can meditate, retire, choose a romantic walk or a trip with friends. For comfortable gatherings and intimate conversations, there is everything you need, namely, picturesque nature, but you need to take food and drinks with you.
In winter, trips are not very much in demand due to low temperatures. Although at this time, it is colourful and beautiful in its own way. Sands harmoniously coexist with snow, creating fantastic landscapes.
A trip to Oleshkovsky sands with children is an ideal solution. It is desirable that the kids are over two years old. Heat can be difficult for young children to tolerate. Read more about traveling with children by car.
In general, children perceive the Ukrainian Sahara as a large desert. If you bring enough toys with you, a fun pastime is guaranteed.
To make the trip really comfortable, you need to make sure that you have with you:
Important! It will help if you navigate by the time of year. If the trip is planned in winter, warm clothing is required. In the summer, you need to take plenty of water with you - under the hot sun, you are always thirsty.
Be sure to take a good mood with you. With him, the journey will be even brighter and more enjoyable.
There are various entertainments in Oleshkovsky sands. The main ones are:
When the national park "Oleshkovskie sands" has already been examined, how to get to the sea becomes a topical issue. There are several options:
The second route is the shortest and will allow you to reach the coast with a small number of tourists. The more popular resort is Skadovsk, but the trip will take about 1-1.5 hours.
There are several interesting facts about the Ukrainian desert. Key among them:
Oleshkovsky sands is a great and unique place in Ukraine. Here you can enjoy the silence and tranquillity, have a bright rest, riding snowboards and ATVs, get acquainted with flora and fauna. The trip will be remembered from the positive side. Rent an SUV on the BLS website, use the service and go on an exciting trip across the Ukrainian Sahara.