The Annapurna Sanctuary trek is a journey that takes you right up to the mighty south face of Annapurna where you will be ringed by Himalayan giants and for a moment may wonder how you arrived here and how you might get out! This trek leads you gently up through the foothills of the Annapurna range, passing through traditional villages ringed by delightfully manicured rice fields, rhododendron and oak forests. From Poon Hill, perched on the edge of the imposing Kali Gandaki valley you can enjoy spectacular views of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna South.
An approach path with dazzling views leads up the Modi Kola valley to provide a gateway through the local Gurung villages to the hidden amphitheatre of the Annapurna Sanctuary, passing under the towering ‘fishtail’ peak of Machhapuchhare. Only then can the true 8091m summit of Annapurna be seen at the top of the gigantic south face, first climbed in 1970 by Don Whillans and Dougal Haston – truly, a memorable finale!
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Days 1 and 2 Depart UK, and arrive Kathmandu usually early evening the next day. Transfer to hotel close to the famous, bustling Thamel district of Kathmandu and within easy walking distance of the Monkey Temple a place with lovely gardens where one can relax.
Day 3 Fly to Pokhara and spend the rest of the day exploring this delightful lakeside town.
Day 4 A 2-hour drive takes us to near Birethante (1050m), the real starting point for the trek. Time to relax and take lunch whilst final preparations are made with the porters. We start ascending the BhurungdiKhola on good trails with lots of steps to Tirkedunga. 3 hours walking.
Day 5 A steep start to the day as we enter thick forest and climb to Ulleri in about one hour. The trail continues up and up, but passing several small villages and plenty of teahouses offering refreshments. The vegetation changes to bamboo and on the latter stages the trail opens up to give us glimpses of Annapurna South. Our destination is Ghorapani, a settlement perched on a col and a major crossroads of trekking routes. 6 hours walking.
Day 6 A pre-dawn start to make the one hour ascent to Poon Hill, probably Nepal’s most famous sunrise watching location. And rightly so – as the soft morning light strikes Annapurna South, Machhapuchhre and across the mighty Kali Gandaki valley, Dhaulagiri – camera will be clicking to capture these magical moments. Back to Ghorepani for breakfast, then we follow the ridgeline eastwards which climbs a little before descending to Tatopani. 6 to 7 hours walking.
Day 7 Two possible routes today, both of which take us down through Rhododendron forests to the Modi Khola river which drains the sanctuary. A final ascent takes us to the village of Chomorung. 6 hours walking.
Day 8 After an initial descent to cross the Chomoro Khola, we climb high above the Modi Khola and follow this up into a narrowing gorge through Bamboo, Oak and Rhododendron forest. All the time majestic Machhapuchhre gets closer and closer and reveals the twin peaks of its iconic ‘fishtail’ summit. Finally after more climbing, we arrive at the bizarrely named Himalaya Hotel. 7 hours walking.
Day 9 A shorter day today as we continue the ascent up and through the ‘Sanctuary Gates’. After all the steep ground we have crossed for the past few days it is quite a relief to arrive at the level grassy terminal moraine – the site of Machhapuchhre Base camp and our home for the night. 4 to 5 hours walking.
Day 10 A truly awesome day as we turn the corner and head westwards up into the Sanctuary itself. The walking is easy – nothing too steep – so minds can focus on the truly wonderful mountain scenery that greets you as you walk deeper into this hidden world, losing behind you the narrow gateway that gave access to this special place. After 3 hours we arrive at the cold Annapurna South Base Camp (4130m), and rest a while to absorb the 360o circle of peaks that surround us, with the South Annapurna glacier grinding away below us. The mighty south face of Annapurna 1 is smack in front of us, with Hiunchuli, Annapurna South, Baraha Shikar (Fang), Singu Chuli (Fluted Peak) and Tharpu Chuli (Tent Peak) completing the circle. We then have to turn leave this magical place, and retrace our steps to the Himalayan hotel. 8 to 9 hours walking.
Day 11 We retrace our steps back to Doban, past the Bamboo Lodge back down to Chromrong. 4 to 5 hours walking.
Day 12 We start the day walking west on the trail leading to Ghorapani from which we descend to the village of Khumnu. Crossing the Khumnu Khola we then begin a steep ascent to the small settlement of Uri. From here it’s a gentle walk to Ghandruk. Here we can spend a pleasant afternoon with the chance to explore its narrow alleyways and handicraft trade. 4 to 5 hours walking.
Day 13 We descend to cross the Modi Khola and climb up to the large Gurung, Magar and Brahmin village of Landruk high above the east bank. The now well paved trail undulates along the ridge to Deurali (2100m) before descending to Pothana. 6 to 7 hours walking.
Day 14 An easy descent takes us down to Dhampus and on to the road at Phedi from where it is a 30 minute drive back to Pokhara. 3 hours walking.
Day 15 A short flight takes us back to the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu.
Days 16/17 Depart Kathmandu and arrive back in UK.
Annapurna Sanctuary at noon
It is vitally important that you have adequate travel insurance for your trip with Adventure Peaks. We recognise the complexity and variety of choice in the insurance market and know that many of you either have your own preferred insurer or have annual multi trip cover in place already. If this is the case, please ensure that your insurer is aware of your Adventure Peaks itinerary and can agree to cover the activities being undertaken.
Adventure Peaks do not provide any advice on travel insurance, although it is a requirement of our booking conditions that you have travel insurance which covers the activities which you are likely to be undertaking on your holiday. Cover must include emergency medical, helicopter evacuation, repatriation and rescue expenses.
It is strongly recommended that suitable cancellation insurance is purchased at the time of booking as all deposits are non-refundable and non-transferable.
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