Makalu Barun National Park
Makalu Barun National Park was established as an eastern extension of Sagarmatha National Park in 1991. It covers an area of 1500 sq km. In addition, the buffer zone of 830 sq km was extended in 1999. The elevation range of this protected area starts from 435 m to above 8000 m. For this reason, Makalu Barun National Park is the world’s only protected area that comprises tropical forests as well as snow-capped mountains. The fifth highest mountain of the world Mt Makalu (8,463 m) also lies in this protected area. Likewise, Mera Peak (6654 m), Baruntse (7,129 m) and Chamlang (7,319 m) are some of the peaks in the Makalu Region. The park is also a part of Sacred Himalayan Landscape.
Due to the big difference in altitudes throughout the park, the climate also varies immensely. The lower parts of the National Park enjoy a more moderate climate, whereas the higher parts have a cool climate. The best time to visit Makalu Barun is in Spring and Autumn. The winter is too cold to allow camping and the summer are too wet, between June and September 70% of the annual rainfalls.
Flora and Fauna
Makalu Barun National Park comprises a remarkable range of near-tropical monsoon forests on 400m to alpine grasslands on 4000m elevations. Almost 25 species of rhododendron, 47 types of orchids, 19 species of bamboos, 15 varieties of oaks, 86 kinds of fodder trees, 56 rare and endangered plants foster in 27 types of forests.
Likewise, the protected area is a habitat for an array of fauna. There are 43 species of reptiles, 315 species of butterfly, and 16 species of amphibians. The ponds, rivers, and lakes within the park inhabit 78 species of fish. In, addition 88 species of mammals and 433 species of birds been recorded in this naturally rich and diverse protected area. The park and its surroundings are also home to endangered species like snow leopard and red panda.
Areas of Interest
Arun Valley, the deepest valley in the world and Barun Valley is located in the Makalu region. These valleys are home to varieties flora and fauna. In addition, Makalu base camp and Mera Peak Base Camp are the ultimate trekking destination for trekkers looking for “off the beaten path” trekking experience. The sacred lake for Hindus called Salpa Pokhari is a must-visit. Similarly, the lakes like Yekle Pokhari, Teen Pokhari, Barun Pokhari, Dudh Pokhari, Panch Pokhari, etc are the high altitude lakes you will come across while trekking in this protected area.
The rugged landscape of Makalu Barun lends itself as a trekking destination. Depending on the trekkers’ experience one can go on a simple camping trip, or go for a more hard trek and attempt to scale the Mera Peak (6654m)
Makalu Barun is remotely located and thus the facilities are limited. Whichever food supplies you may be needing you can find in Tumlingtar, after Tumlingtar, don’t count on finding supplies on the way, so be sure to carry enough with you. To protect and preserve the environment six campsites have been designated throughout the park. These sites are: Khongma(3500m), Dobato(3500m), Yangle(3570m), Neghe(3700m), Langmale(4100m) and Shersong(4600m). Do not forget to take a well equipped first-aid kid with you as medical facilities are close to none
How to get there
There are daily flights to Tumlingtar from Kathmandu and Biratnagar to Tumlingtar could also be reached from Biratnagar/Dharan. It is a 6/7hrs drive to Hile and 3-day trek to Tumlingtar from there. You can also reach the Inkhu valley of Makalu Barun from Lukia and Phalpu. There is a regular flight from Kathmandu to Tumlingtar.
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