The Annapurna Conservation Area has been established in 1992. It has an area of 7629 sq. km., which is the largest conservation area of Nepal. The Annapurna Conservation Area is the largest by its boundaries covering 7,629km2 (2946 sq. mi) across the Manang, Mustang, Kaski, Myagdi and Lamjung districts. The initial range of an altitude is from 790m (2590 ft.) to the peak of Annapurna at 8091m (26535 ft.).
Annapurna is a major trekking destination in Nepal. More than 40,000 tourists annually visit the conservation area. Ghandruk and Lwang are typical Gurung villages with scenic splendors. The National Trust for Nature Conservation, a leading non-profit and non-governmental environmental organization in Nepal, launched the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) in 1986.
ACAP’s grassroots philosophy involves local people in all aspects of conservation and development. The project aims to improve the socio-economic condition of the local people by integrating conservation and development. It encourages local people’s participatory involvement in the management of natural resources and community development activities.
In 1986 ACAP was implemented by MTNC in Ghandruk as a pilot project covering one VDC with the area of 200 km2 in 1990. Its work area had expanded to 16 VDCs with an area of 1500 km2. Officially gazetted in 1992 covering 55 VDCs with the present area
- To conserve the natural resources of the ACA for the benefit of the present and future generations
- To bring sustainable social and economic development to the local people
- To develop tourism in such a way that it will have a minimum negative environmental impact
Annapurna Conservation Area Location
Covering an area of 7629 sq. km., Annapurna conservation 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 has some highest peaks on Earth and the world’s deepest gorge ‘Kali Gandaki gorge’ is located in the area.
Flora and Fauna of Annapurna Conservation
This area is very rich in flora and fauna. The area is rich in biodiversity and harbors 1,352 species of plants, 128 species of wild mammals, 518 species of birds, 40 species of reptiles, 23 species of amphibians, and 348 species of butterflies.
Wildlife and Vegetation
Annapurna Conservation is a habitat to about 101 species of mammals including endangered species like snow leopard, musk deer, Tibetan argali and Tibetan wolf. This is the only area where all 6 Himalayan Pheasants of Nepal are found.
How to Get Annapurna Conservation
The area is easily accessed from Pokhara. A three-hour bus drive to Beni in the west and start trekking into the area. Or a one-hour bus drive to Besi Sahar in the east to start the Annapurna Circuit trek. A one-hour bus drive to Naya Pul (Birethanti) to start the trek to Annapurna Base Camp or Jomsom, or fly to Jomsom from Pokhara and trek back down.
Tourism Activities in Annapurna Conservation Area
The Area (ACA) is primarily known for trekking – a popular adventure activity for tourists. Though different types of adventure activities are organized in the area. Like Mountaineering, Trekking, Heli-tour, Pilgrimage trip.
Annapurna Conservation Permits & Regulations
If you’re trekking in the Annapurna, you’ll need to purchase an Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP) ($30 USD) before you go. You get the permit at Nepal Tourism office based in Kathmandu or the Pokhara tourist office before you begin the trek.
Annapurna Conservation Area Map
Map of Annapurna Conservation Area showing the locations of tourist (TV) and distant (DV) villages from publication.