Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) – Introduction
Established as a conservation area in 2049 B.S. (1992 A.D.), it has now become one of the premier trekking destinations in the country. Surrounded by the high mountains and deep valleys the Annapurna Conservation area is spread over 7,629 sq. km. It forms boundaries with Kaski, Myagdi, Parbat and Manang districts in northwest Nepal. Established in 1986, the conservation area is surrounded by high mountains and deep valleys. The conservation area is also home to 1,226 species of plants, 101 species of mammals, and 478 species of birds. The (ACAP) was initiated by King Mahendra Trust of Nature Conservation, a non-government organization funded by various international trusts. There is a high participation of the locals in the conservation activities conducted in this area.
ACAP is a trekker’s paradise as this region is known for its wide range of cultural and geographical diversities and splendid mountain vistas. Every little slant of its natural and cultural excellence will catch your eyes and soul. Annapurna Base Camp trek, Annapurna Circuit trek, Upper Mustang trek, Ghorepani- Poonhill trek, Jomsom-Muktinath trek, comes under the Annapurna Conservation Area.
Annapurna Conservation Area trek starts from the scenic town of Pokhara and also ends at Pokhara. Lifestyle and tradition of the ethnic settlement in the Annapurna region are really fascinating. Even the remote villages on this route offer quality lodges and guest houses that welcome tourists with enormous hospitality. There are over 1,000 lodges, tea houses and hundreds that provide excellent services to cater to the need of trekkers spiritedly.
Annapurna Conservation Area Location
Covering an area of 7629 sq. km., Annapurna conservation area stretches in five districts of Kaski, Lamjung, Myagdi, Mustang, and Manang. In the lap of Mt. Annapurna, this conservation area is located in the northwestern part of the country. It is exceptionally adorned with some highest peaks on Earth and the world’s deepest gorge “Kali Gandaki gorge”
Annapurna Conservation Area Climate
The Annapurna Conservation area stretches from the subtropical lowlands to dry alpine forest in the north. The climate varies according to its altitude. Within the vicinity of every 1000 m, there is a subsequent rise in altitude, where the temperature drops by 6 degrees.The average rainfall ranges from 193 mm in the trans- Himalayan region.
Means of Transportation to the Annapurna Conservation Area Project
There are plenty of options available to be at the ACAP region. Bus or taxi services are easily available from Pokhara to Jomsom in the northern part of the ACA. Alternatively, one can drive to Phedi and trek to Landruk via Dhampus.
Prominent Wildlife and Vegetation in ACAP
The wildlife and vegetation are diverse in this conservation area. The altitude of the Annapurna Conservation area ranges from 1000 m to 8000m. From the subtropical sal forest to perennial snow, this area is extremely diverse and unique. It is home to 22 different forests with 1226 plant species, in which 55 species of plants are native to Nepal. Besides plants the Annapurna Conservation Area is a habitat to about 101 species of mammals. It is a protective area for endangered species like snow leopard, musk deer, and Tibetan wolf.
Communities that belong to the Annapurna Conservation Area
Located in the western Himalayas, more tourists than the local people visit here. About 1200 people of different ethnic groups reside in this area. This area is shared equally by the ethnic Gurung,Magar Thakali, Manange, and Loba communities. Every year the Annapurna Conservation Area receives huge influx of trekkers tourism has become the occupation of most of the locals. Along with agriculture and cattle rearing, the local’s lifestyle has improved due to widespread tourism.
Things to do in the Annapurna Conservation Area Project
- High Altitude Mountaineering
- Heli-tour trekking
- Pilgrim trekking
- Rafting – Marshyangdi River
- Kayaking- Marshyangdi River
- Hotspring baths
- Sightseeing tour
List of must see places in the Annapurna Conservation Area
- The Annapurna Sanctuary
- Mardi Himal Base camp
- Trek to the Thorong la pass
- Be at the Kali Gandaki gorge
- Visit the picturesque Jomsom
- Be at the enchanting Tilicho Lake
- Experience the rush of the Marshyangdi River
- A soft trek to Poonhill
- The serene Baraha Tal
- The cascading Rupse Chhahara (Waterfall)
- Take a refreshing dip at the Tatopani Hotspring
- Get blessed with spirituality at the divine Shri Muktinath temple
Permit required for the Annapurna Conservation Area Project
To enter the Annapurna Conservation Area, you must obtain a permit by paying certain fees. The permit can be obtained from the offices of the Annapurna Conservation Area, Nepal Tourism Board in Kathmandu and NTB service center in Pokhara. One can also obtain the permit from different travel agencies as well.
It is mandatory to get the permits as it is an essential aspect for trekking in the Annapurna Region. At the various entry points in Annapurna Region, the travellers are required to show the Permit issued by the unit offices of the Annapurna Conservation Area Project.