The Annapurna region is located in the heart of Nepal Himalayas and dominated by the majestic mountains that make up the Annapurna range. Using Pokhara as a base you can access three major trekking routes in central Annapurna Region i.e. Jomsom-Muktinath, Annapurna Sanctuary and Annapurna circuit (Thorong la Pass 5416 m) itself. Starting at Beshisahar (843 m) at the foot of the mountains and is known as the gateway of Annapurna circuit trekking likewise Pokhara is also a main gateway to explore various short treks of one to four – five days, including the Royal trekking, Siklesh trekking, short Ghorepani – Poonhill trekking. And with people with a little longer time can cover the Annapurna Sanctuary, Annapurna Base Camp, Khayar Trek, Mardi Himal Trek, Panchase Trekking and Jomsom – Muktinath trekking in one to 2 weeks. Approximately two-thirds of the visitors of Nepal visit the Annapurna region for trekking because of its easy access, nice hotels in the hills and good scenery of both high mountains and lowland villages.
But please note Mustang is also geographically a part of the Annapurna region, but because treks to Mustang are subject to special restrictions, this is described it in the separate page because they are also less popular.
Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP)
The ACAP project was established in 1986 under the guidance of the King Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation and encompasses the entire Annapurna range, more than 7600 sq. km. Back then it was an innovative approach to environmental protection as it was declared a “conservation area” instead of a national park. But because of the large number of people who lived within this region the involvement of local people was sought with an emphasized environmental education.
Part of the project included the training of lodge owners, with an emphasis on sanitation, deforestation and cultural pride who in turn passed on the knowledge to the operators to encourage hoteliers to charge a fair price for food and accommodation. On top of this ACAP encouraged the use of kerosene for cooking throughout the region, and requires its use above Chhomrong in the Annapurna Sanctuary and on the route between Ghandruk and Ghorepani. And to maintain this decree that a “conservation fee” of Rs 2000 would be collected from all trekkers who obtain trekking permits for the Annapurna region. And used this money to improve the sanitation system by encouraging the construction of toilets throughout the area; use them no matter how disgusting they are. ACAP has also made provision for the supply of kerosene in those parts of the conservation area where using firewood is totally prohibited. In addition to providing information, they established a centre that sells iodine, solar battery chargers and other products that can help you to protect the environment while you are trekking.