Honey Hunting Tour in Nepal
Honey hunting tour in Nepal is one of the amazing adventure tours. People with good knowledge of rock climbing can easily do honey hunting tour. The wild honeybees make the beehives on the rock, often near by the waterfall. There are no other ways to approach to the beehives, except climbing with the help of bamboo ladder or rope. The lead honey hunter collects honey in the bucket from the beehives and passes down to another person. Honey hunting early in the morning or in the cold is best as in the cold the honeybees are not active and leave the beehives easily.
A Short History and Brief about Honey Hunting:
Nepal is very rich in honeybee diversity. There are at least five different honeybee species in the country. A large quantity of honey and beeswax is being produced from indigenous honeybees (mainly Apis dorsata and Apis laboriosa). These bee species play a vital role in pollinating mountain crops and wild flora. However, there is a significant lack of information about the population status of indigenous honeybees, and their relationship and role in regulating honey-hunting traditions, livelihood issues, and biodiversity conservation.
ICIMOD has carried out field studies in six mountain districts of Nepal. On the basis of this information, Kaski district was selected as a site for an in-depth study of Apis laboriosa nesting sites, their habitat, and their relationship with the sociocultural and economic complex of local communities. The study also focused on the spiritual and social values of honey hunting and its role in livelihoods. The status of wild honeybees and their nesting sites was surveyed by making field visits and using questionnaires. We recorded the locations of bee cliffs using global positioning system (GPS) equipment. An innovative approach "Appreciative Participatory Planning and Action" was used to collect information on honey hunting communities - their status, the level of dependency on honey hunting and the challenges they face in a changed socioeconomic and ecological scenario
Twice a year high in the Himalayan foothills of central Nepal teams of men gather around cliffs that are home to the world's largest honeybee, Apis laborious. As they have for generations, the men come to harvest the Himalayan cliff bee's honey. The harvest ritual, which varies slightly from community to community, begins with a prayer and sacrifice of flowers, fruits, and rice. Then a fire is lit at the base of the cliff to smoke the bees from their honeycombs. From above, a honey hunter descends the cliff harnessed to a ladder by ropes. As his mates secure the rope and ladder from the top and ferry tools up down as required, the honey hunter fights territorial bees as he cuts out chunks of honey from the comb." A chance to view and experience the traditional honey hunting harvest of the Gurung people. The Bees Apis laboriosa and Apis dorsata are indigenous to the region and traditional methods of harvesting the honey on steep cliffs have remained unchanged for generations.
The introduction of non indigenous plant species and the Eurporean honey bee Apis mellifera have put pressure on these local bees to compete, and they need to fly further and further to forage their preferred plant species. This along with over harvesting has resulted in the bees' decline. The Himalayan Honeybees project for the Nepal Visitors in Kathmandu has been actively involved in the sustainable management of honey hunting and work with the local communities to ensure the survival of the species. Tourism in this area helps communities protect the flora and fauna, and so gives the bees and local hunters a chance to co-exist and continue. Nepal Visitors recommended you, if you are a adventure lovers. you should test the honey hunting trips in Nepal. its will be the real adventure feelings. The Blue Space will donate a percentage of profits from these trips to local communities who are actively involved and promoting Nepal Visitors ideas. There are great views of peaks Lamjung Himal, Manaslu, Hiunchuli, Buddha Himal and Annapurna II.
Honey hunting techniques.
Each area has its own distinctive style of honey hunting to suit local resources and bees. The basic method of lighting fire under the bee cliffs to smoke the bees from the combs appears to be universal. However, socio-cultural and spiritual practices carried out prior to hunting honey are quite different from community to community.
A group of about a dozen men-with ropes, ladders, poles, baskets and pots proceed to the cliff. First, a worship and sacrifice is performed and cliff god is offered with flowers, fruits and rice grains. At the base of the rock a fire is made from wood and foliage, so that the smoke rise to disperse the bees upwards from the lower edges of their combs, leaving the brood and honey sections of the combs clearly visible. A ladder is suspended from the top of the cliff, tightly secured to trees at both upper and lower ends. Honey hunter is fastened to the ladder by a rope and descends the rope ladder while others at the top of the cliff make sure that the rope is held securely. Two to three persons are responsible for checking, raising and lowering the rope to send items down from above and pull items up from the floor as necessary. One person, who perches on overhanging tree, looks the event carefully and gives signals to others. Near the ladder a large woven collecting basket is lowered to the nest site through another rope. When the honey hunter gets near the nest to be harvested, he uses a long stick to balance the collecting basket exactly under the comb. Its base is guided by a rope held by the people at the base of the cliff. First the brood portion of the comb is separated. The honey hunter uses a bamboo stick to pierce a hole in the brood comb area of the colony to be harvested. By piercing the comb and attaching hook to the comb, honey hunter cuts the brood portion of the comb safely. After that, wooden or iron sickles fixed to the bamboo stick cut honeycombs. Basket is guided to catch the chunks of honey as they drop down. When full, the basket is lowered down to the ground, emptied and used again. The whole operation from start to finish is very delicate. It may take 2-3 hours or more just to harvest one of the many colonies.
Sample itinerary for Honey Hunting in Nepal
Drive from Kathmandu to Khudi 186KM, 6 hrs. You drive along the Prithivi highway and come across beautiful villages, colorful people and agricultured landscapes. Today the route takes you all along the river valley.
Trek from Khudi To Ghalagaun which takes about 6-7hrs. After breakfast, the trail ascends all the way to Ghalagaun, The trail passes through the beautiful forest and if you are lucky, you will also get to see some of the areas wildlife. This area holds a tremendous potential for bird watching. It really can be a birdwatcher’s paradise.
Observe Honey Hunting In Ghanpokhari & Ghalegaun. It is beautiful place to enjoy breathtaking views of numerous mountains. It is also situated on a beautiful mountain and is populated by Gurung people who have wonderful culture & tradition
Trek from Ghalegaun to Pasgaun, which takes about 6-7 hrs. After breakfast, your trail descends to Bhujung all the way, After the Bhujung trail; you will then ascend to Passgaun. It is long and hard day trip.
Trek from Pasagaun to Pakharikot or Nanngdidhar which takes about 5-6hrs. Trail ascends gently through jungles and beautiful waterfalls. Here you can also enjoy the joyful chirpings of the birds. After lunch, the trail once again begins to descend. It is a steep descent for about half an hour. One has to ensure that you carry enough water as there is shortage of drinking water in this area. The intense heat, humidity and the direct sunlight can sometimes be unbearable.
Trek to Thumsikot, and then drive to Pokhara. Trail descends about 1150 meters and then you drive approximately 3 hrs by jeep through unpaved road. Stay overnight at hotel in Pokhara.
Drive back to Kathmandu