Fairy Circles of Marienfluss Valley, Namibia 

Fairy circles are circular patches of land barren of plants, varying between 2 and 15 metres in diameter, often encircled by a ring of stimulated growth of grass. Until 2014, the phenomenon was only known to occur in the arid grasslands of the Namib desert in western parts of Southern Africa, being particularly common in Namibia. In that year, ecologists were alerted to similar rings of vegetation outside of Africa, in a part of the Pilbara in Western Australia.

Fairy circles typically occur in essentially monospecific grassy vegetation, where conditions are particularly arid. Associated grasses commonly are species in the genus Stipagrostis. Studies show that these circles pass through a life cycle of some 30 to 60 years. They become noticeable at a diameter of about 2 metres, achieving a peak diameter of perhaps 12 metres, after which they mature and “die” as they undergo invasion, mainly by grasses.

Epic Namibia Culture & Adventure Route © Monika Newbound

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