Located in the northeastern region of Nepal, Sagarmatha National Park comprises of rich Himalaya terrains. Brandishing the obscure valleys and ethnic settlements, Everest region, the UNESCO world heritage site is home to multitude of flora and fauna and ethnic tribes of Sherpa.
Sagarmatha National Park was gazetted in 1976 with over 2,500 Sherpa inhabitants living within the region. UNESCO declared it a world heritage site in 1979, making it the country’s first national park that was inscribed as a Natural World Heritage Site.
In January 2002, a Buffer Zone comprising 275 km2 (106 sq mi) was added. Under the Buffer Zone Management Guidelines the conservation of forests, wildlife and cultural resources received top priority, followed by conservation of other natural resources and development of alternative energy.
Tourist arrival in the area began in the early 1960s, preceding the successful Everest ascent by Hillary and Tenzing Sherpa. Today, it hosts more than 20 villages, comprising of 6,000 or more people living inside the protected area.
In 2010 alone, almost 25,000 tourists entered Sagarmatha National Park, mainly en route to Everest base camp.
Flora & Fauna
Different kinds of plants or vegetation grow in the region, mainly coniferous and alpine. Primarily divided into 3 different elevations, the lower elevation of around 3,500 m (11,500 ft) and above mainly contains Birch, juniper, blue pines, firs, bamboo and rhododendron. The middle elevation contains only dwarf or shrubs. As we surpass the middle elevation, flora types are restricted to lichens and mosses which cease to grow above 5,000 meters due to permanent snow line covering the region.
It is a habitat of at least 118 species of birds, including Himalayan Monal, Blood pheasant, Red-billed chough and yellow-billed chough; rare mammal species of musk deer, snow leopard, Himalayan black bear and Red panda.
Yaks are predominantly found in the Khumbu region. Cheese and milk obtained from these Himalayan beasts are the must try delicacies.
Most of the park (69%) comprises barren land above 5,000m with 28% being grazing land and nearly 3% forested, this combined with the resident Sherpa population, who are reliant on subsistence agro-pastoralism provides a number of management challenges.
Sagarmatha National Park falls en route to Everest Base Camp. The most popular trek trail in the world, as declared by WorldExpeditions.co.uk. Cultural exploration and observation of nature in the region is highly regarded during the trek.
Costs & Permit
One must obtain a permit to enter Sagarmatha National Park. The permit costs are as follows;
- SAARC Nationals – Rs. 1,500 per person (Approx. US $15)
- Non-SAARC Nationals – Rs. 3,000 per person (Approx. US $30)