Thirty five years ago, Peregrine trek leader Mick Chapman pioneered the Annapurna Dhaulagiri trek in Nepal’s Annapurna range. Since then, it has been one of our most popular treks, heading away from the ‘tourist trail’ into remote and stunningly beautiful parts of the mountains.
In keeping with our ethos of minimal environmental impact, the trek was always run as a camping trip, with porters carrying in everything from tents to kerosene for cooking. While this was good for the landscape, the local people were not benefiting financially from hosting trekkers in their region.
In 2007, Chapman and Peregrine’s Nepalese-based operations manager, Nima Lama, joined with local community leader, Mahabir Pun, and communities along the trekking trail to begin a project of building a series of community-owned lodges to service trekkers – not just Peregrine travellers, but any trekkers wanting to take one of the most beautiful treks in the Himalaya.
The first of the lodges opened for business in November 2008 and there are now five lodges along the trail, all owned and operated by local individuals, while the lodge at Kopra Ridge, the high point of the trek, is owned jointly by members of the local villages.
Profits from all the lodges are channelled into supporting local schools. For example, at Swanta village proceeds from the local lodge help to pay wages for teachers at the school.
Article by Kerry Lorimer