Grade: IV to V
The Karnali River with its graceful Class III to awe-inspiring Class V rapids, offers a classic expedition with its big volume whitewater combined with short trekking, fishing and jungle safari activities in a remote and unexploited region of Nepal.The Karnali carves the Himalayan landscape into a series of magnificent gorges and canyons as it descends slowly into the forests of western Nepal. Seasonal snow melts and storms can cause the river levels to swell drastically and create extremes of white-water rafting. It is one of the best trips offered anywhere.
We don’t see a sign of modern living for the next six days as we hit the river. Life seems so isolated and demanding, yet so rewarding with this wonderful experience in far western Nepal. Many expeditions along this route have encountered Langur and Rhesus monkeys, and reported sightings of leopards, bear, martins, deer, crocodiles and gharials and sometimes the elusive Royal Bengal tiger. Karnali apart from being one of the best white-water rivers, supports life in West Nepal with its major water source and also ropes in the finest fish habitat in Nepal, with giant catfish and Golden mahseer prowling the depths of the river.
The Karnali River during high water with its huge rapids is a serious undertaking and even at lower levels is still a thrilling ride with the rapids becoming more constricted and the gradient even steeper. One highlight of this classic river journey is a 7 km roller-coaster ride through the gorge where you encounter rapids at every bend. Rafting on the Karnali is suitable from 15th October until end of May.
Day 01 Kathmandu - Surkhet
The Karnali Experience
We fly from Kathmandu to Nepalganj and drive for approximately 3 ½ hours to Surkhet where we camp for the first night. Our camp is right next to a beautiful, refreshing spring where you can bathe and watch local people who are busy with their daily chores.
Day 02 Surkhet
After a hearty breakfast, we start driving further west on a dirt road for another 7 hours to Tallo Dhungeshwor. The river’s put-in point is here and nearby is a nice beach to camp for the night.
Day 03 Start raft trip
After a comprehensive safety talk and also a dry drill on paddling instructions (for the paddlers) we start our expedition on the Karnali River. The river starts on an easy but entertaining level, with rapids getting more exciting in the afternoon. Cotton Pony, Sweetness and Light will be the first few rapids you will tackle.
Day 04 Red Canyon Gorge
Jail House Rock, Inversion and some other major rapids are encountered today. Along the way, we explore a waterfalls and in the late afternoon pass through a deep gorge. Deer are commonly seen drinking water on the river banks.
Day 05 Totale Ghat
This is extreme white-water rafting at its best. The whole day is spent running many large and exciting rapids with skill and team work that you have developed over the last few days.Day 06 Khar Khola
Time to sit back as there are fewer rapids along the way today. Before lunch, we reach the confluence of the Seti River, a great place for those who are crazy about fishing. Village life abounds on the river banks; these people have little contact with westerners.
Day 07 Tamcha
If there are kayakers along on your trip, this is a great time for a spell sitting inside their kayaks. The vegetation now turns into jungle. In the morning you wake up to an orchestra of bird calls.
Day 08 Karnali Camp
Arrive at Chisapani around lunch time. The rafting trip ends here and we drive on to Karnali Camp. Approaching the Bardia National Park, the early riser can spot crocodiles here. We drive to Karnali Camp enjoying sightings of wildlife along the way.