Karnali River Rafting
It’s one of the finest big volume rafting and kayaking trips in Nepal’s spectacular, remote, jungle-clad canyons, big white and abundant wildlife.
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Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Tough
Group Size Medium Group
It’s one of the finest big volume rafting and kayaking trips in Nepal’s spectacular, remote, jungle-clad canyons, big white and abundant wildlife. The Karnali is Nepal’s longest and largest river and with its tributaries it drains most of the far west of Nepal-the ‘wild west’ as many people call it, rising in the vicinity of Tibet’s holy Mount Kailash and glacier of Kanziroba Himal, other small peaks, as well as Rara lake rapid encountered on this river is 1 to 5 class.
This bottom section of the river definitely lives up to that name-the area that it flows through is wild and relatively unpopulated with some of the most pristine jungle scenery in Nepal abundant wildlife. From the frontier town of Surkhet there is an unique and lovely two-day trek through lowland Sal forest to the village of Saul in the seldom seen area of far West Nepal. From Sauli, it’s 180 km to the nest road access at Chisopani, on the northern border of the Royal Bardia National Park.
The river section takes about seven days, giving plenty of time to explore some of the side canyons and waterfalls, which come in to the river valley. For 180 kilometers we won’t see a single sign of the modern world.
It’s one of the last places in Nepal that you can see old growth forest and have a real chance of seeing Nepal’s wildlife. The rapids are also pretty wild, with the river building to its climax in these lower canyons shortly after the sharp bend in the river ‘the elbow’ by the Lohore Khola, the valley narrows into a series of canyons, the river speeds up, and there are big rapids, one leading into another, almost continuously down to the Seti river from the ‘Elbow’ down to the Seti the gradient is 3m/km (15ft a mile), but after here, the gradient eases, as the river winds through some magnificent un-spoilt scenery, eventually emerging onto the plains and flowing through the Royal Bardia National Park to join the Ganges.
Finally leaving you close to Bardia National Park, where you can combine your rafting adventure with a safari trip and maybe spot some of the park’s one-horned rhinos and elusive tigers or you can either drive back or fly back to Kathmandu. Go on this trip if you want a true expedition style adventure and a totally classic river journey.
After breakfast, we will take a truck as far as the road goes until about lunch time [
After breakfast, we will take a truck as far as the road goes until about lunch time [this all depends on availability be flexible]. After lunch we walk all afternoon to the put-in point at Sauli. A great walk which highlights just how ”out there” you really are. You pass local villages and spectacular scenery, and then you hit the river.
After having heavy breakfast at 8:00 am we get ready for wild ride
After having heavy breakfast at 8:00 am we get ready for wild ride. This section of the River is terribly wild. Continues rapid makes rafter forget to breathe. Lunch will be served en-route and camping at 03:00 pm in First Inquiry.
This is the type of day that people imagine when they think of Himalayan water.
This is the type of day that people imagine when they think of Himalayan water. It is big and continuous. We enter into the Jungle Corridor. This is a narrowing jungle clad gorge and it is all ours. The team building is put into full practice and when your guide shouts ”all forward ” he really means it. Enjoy the ride all day and camp in this sensational setting at God-house.
More of the same including the notorious GOD'S house rapid
More of the same including the notorious GOD’S house rapid. Camp at the Seti Dovan and relax.
It isn't over yet! Keep paddling hard!
It isn’t over yet! Keep paddling hard! You really are experiencing the best of the west on yet another day of great action and breathtaking scenery and camping at Jamuna village.
This is a holiday after all so we have programmed a rest day
This is a holiday after all so we have programmed a rest day so you can take time to enjoy your surroundings and relax on a great sandy beach.
We see the rapids dying off as we come out of the gorge.
We see the rapids dying off as we come out of the gorge. We pass the confluence with the Seti River where the river broadens. Today and the next day and a half are a chance to enjoy your journey admiring the country and villages you pass. You will have seen the safety kayakers in action and will no doubt be inspired, so ask the guides for some supervised instruction, or take over the raft and learn about the river. You see there is more to a rafting expedition than just rafting.
This is the final day of river.
This is the final day of river. We end this trip in the early afternoon at Chisopani Bridge & lunch is served there. You will catch night bus at about 1530hrs to get back to Kathmandu or you can enjoy in Bardia National Park, which is famous for bird watching.
Nepal is under a constant cloud of political uncertainty as has been for years. The U.S. Department of State and other governments urge caution when traveling to Nepal, often in the form of official travel warnings. Travelers should read these warnings and exercise caution as they would before traveling to any other country.
After significant due diligence before my recent trip to Nepal, I came away reasonably confident that Nepal is safe for trekkers. A number of knowledgeable people were unequivocal in their opinions that trekking in Nepal is mostly unaffected by politics. I booked our tickets after hearing from two fellow Coloradans who were in Kathmandu preparing for a trek when the King was overthrown. Their advice was to go and that, “everything will be fine…just don’t burn tires in front of the Royal Palace.”
As with any foreign country, use good judgment and do your part to ensure that you have a safe trip. Solo trekkers are most at risk for a number of reasons and it’s best to go with a guide. Don’t walk around the streets of Kathmandu late at night (taxis are extremely cheap) and avoid large crowds. Petty theft can occur at lowland villages including from the tents of unsuspecting trekkers.
For those who decide to make the trip, the number of people trekking in Nepal remains relatively low compared to years past and it’s a great time to go.