Mardi Himal trekking – rhododendrons, yaks and stunning Annapurna views

This trek has so many advantages, and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone wanting to get a sample of Nepal’s scenery over a short, manageable six day trek.

For such a comparatively short trek, the base camp elevation reached is quite high – 4,500m, overlooking the Annapurna Base Camp in a valley a few hundred meters below. However, beginners should not be intimidated by this, as a good pace set by your guide will mean reaching base camp is do-able for even those with less than average fitness.

The scenery is incredibly varied – on commencing at Pothana we saw some villages and local people going about their day, and in the subsequent few days we trekked through dense, green, damp forest covered in vines and moss.

On reaching a higher elevation of about 3000m, we started seeing the rolling Himalaya foothills and valleys, the terrain getting drier as we trekked among grasses and rocky terrain, the blooming rhododendron trees sometimes framing our path and carpeting the ground with bright pink flowers.

Nearing the highest point of our trek, we stopped for a lemon ginger honey tea at the very last tea-shop before base camp. The teashop was perched on the edge of the mountain at 4200m and as we stood next to it, it seemed to be floating in the clouds, adorned in multicoloured prayer flags and Nepal’s two red triangular pennants.

A little higher, and Padam guided us to the base camp, a walk along a narrow ridge that steadily grew snowier, with the towering Annapurna mountains rising majestically from all sides. Walking towards the Macchapuchare in the glowing snow, with the sun shining down on us and perfect blue skies, feeling eclipsed by mountains over 8000m around us, was one of the most wonderful feelings I’ve ever experienced in my life.


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