Oleshkivski Sands


"Oleshky" is actually the ancient name of the city Tsjurupinsk, near which desert is located. The origin of the Oleshkivski Sands significantly influenced the unique landscapes of the place. There is an interesting presumption that the desert was created in the result of the fact that the huge array of continental ice was moving through the ancient valley of the Dnipro river during the ice age. The glacier occasionally came from the north along the Dnipro riverbed and brought hundreds of kilometers of soil mass with it that remained after the ice thawed. This soil formed a natural dam that separated the lakes near the glacier from the lower part of the river bed.

Oleshkivski Sands - is the second largest desert in Europe, which covers an area of about 1,600 square kilometers.

When glaciers melted, the water level in these lakes gradually climbed and the dam could not hold against the water pressure and broke down. The huge flow of water moving down from Dnipro to the Black Sea washed away everything on its way. Around the place where Nova Kakhovka is located, the current decreased and trillion tons of sand washed from the banks of the Dnipro, settled to the bottom and created a massive sand area.

Despite the fact that there has always been sand in the valleys of the Dnipro, the human activity strongly contributed to the spread of sands. Especially the active sheep farming conducted here in 18-19 centuries.

Cattle began to destroy the vegetation, thus increasing the size of sand dunes. As well as wind erosion, that has contributed highly to the expanding of the sand area.

Since the late 18th century actions were taken to control the spread of the sand area. Oleshkivski Forestry was created to support such actions. However, in the second half of the 19th century, after the land was given to farmers, forests were severely damaged by irrational use, which led to an increase in the sand dunes. To stop this process, active planting of pine forests, orchards and vineyards began. Therefore, it is correct to define Oleshkivski sands as a semi-desert.

Desert is conventionally divided into seven arenas, each with different natural and climatic features.

Like all deserts, it consists of numerous bahrans, about 5 meters high (separate are up to  20 meters high), which move due to the wind. In summer the temperature of the sand reaches 75 ° C, the rains are rare, and sandstorms occur from time to time. Deep under the sand layer, fresh water can be found, but its use is strongly limited, as it is necessary for the desert growth containment.                                    


Dawn at Oleshkivski Sands is one of the grandest and most spectacular phenomenons in the world. When the dawn is breaking, the birds and insects create quite a spectacular view.


Lizards are widespread and can be seen often crawling under the feet. This animal has an interesting habit of crawling out in the middle of dunes, open its mouth, dissolve its famous "ears" (the fold of skin at the corners of the mouth) and lingers in this incredible heat.


Here, in a unique way sandy steppe meadows, groves, swamps and lakes coexist. Fauna and flora of Oleshkivski Sands are also distinctive - you will not find some of the plants and animals anywhere else in the world.

Tourist routes

All resources for the active tourism

In the middle of the XX century the military training was held on this territory, which included strategic bombing. This fact influenced the creation of huge dunes up to 20 meters, preserved to this day.

Since 2010 Oleshkivski Sands has become a national park, which provides preservation of natural and environmental unique features of the territory.

At the Oleshkivski Sands the varieties of active tourism can be successfully developed.  An excellent location close to the railway station contributes to that fact. Also 30 km to the south a sea coast is located, so visitors can reach the desert, without wasting any time.

You can find a number of opportunities for active tourism at the Oleshkivski sands: hiking, biking, horseback riding, auto, motorcycle tours and trophy on the sand.

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Oleshkivski Sands are located 40 kilometers to the east of Kherson.
The easiest way to get there is by car, driving through Tsuryupynsk, and then - to the east.

There are also travel agencies that organize active 2-3 day tours in Oleshkivski Sands.

Mailing address: 75500, Kherson region.,. Henichesk, 54 Petrovskoho Street,
Tel. (05534) 3-21-09, fax 3-65-90

E-mail: nacpark@genich.hs.ukrtel.net, nacpark@mail.ru

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