Karnali River Rafting
Adventures in Nepal don’t get much better than the Karnali River Rafting. Nepal’s longest and largest river, the Karnali, begins its life near to Tibet’s holy Mount Kailash. It carves its way through the Tibetan plateau and through the Himalaya into Nepal’s lush western forests. After the snow melt this river becomes a raging torrent with huge rapids which offers brilliant rafting and kayaking. A highlight is the 7km long gorge which is one long raging rapid that sucks you in one end and spits you out the other (in one piece!). This is one of the Nepal’s must do rivers.
Not only is the river a gem for its white water, but it’s course travels through a relatively underpopulated area. A true remote expedition. Filled with pristine jungle allowing the paddler good chances of viewing the abundant wildlife like deer, leopards, tiger, jackals, mongoose, monkeys and small brown bears. Although the river is remote, the bus ride and short trek to the start point is pleasant and extremely scenic making it a worth while all round trip. If your looking for an adventure then it’s got to be Karnali River Rafting!
The take out of the Karnali is right by Bardiya National Park. Why not extend your stay for a few nights and go on safari as well?
Rafters need no previous experience to raft the Karnali. Everybody is welcome to come and experience Nepal’s river life.
This is a great river for the advanced kayaker. You need to be a confident Class IV paddler with a solid roll to kayak this river. Plenty of big rapids and surfing waves to keep you entertained. If you are a beginner kayaker coming on a rafting trip, we will give you the opportunity to try out kayaking on some of the easier sections of the river.
Please note if you are kayaking with us and want to bring your own kayak, then please feel free to do so, but if you are joining a trip with us we do NOT charge for kayak hire!! Click here to choose your boat.
You’d be mad to miss out on an opportunity to join us on the Karnali for some exhilarating river rafting
IV / V
GRG Office, Thamel, Kathmandu at 9am on fixed departures
Volume in November : 300cms (10500 cfs)
October – November or end of March – June
US$900 / GB£725 per person
If you’ve opted to travel by bus, we will leave early afternoon from Kathmandu after loading the bus up and drive to Surkhet and spend the night in a hotel. The bus journey takes approximately 20 hours depending on traffic and road conditions. Alternatively, if you plan on traveling by flight, you’ll have an extra day to explore Kathmandu today. (recommended!)
If you have opted for the flight rather than the bus, you will catch the first flight from Kathmandu to Nepaljung, where our gear bus will be waiting to collect you. The flight alone offers amazing views of the Himalaya.
After a hearty breakfast we will drive to the put in of the river where depending on what time we reach we will either camp at the put in of the river or paddle down a few hours to a secluded beach on the riverbanks. Your 180km expedition has begun.
The rafting begins, woohooo!! The days that follow are going to be one wild ride from rapid to rapid and from one pristine white sandy beach to the next. Our favourite rapids including Jail House, Meat Grinder and Gods House. For the most part our camps will be isolated and remote. Occasionally we will be met by locals coming down to the beaches to see what is going on. Nights will be spent enjoying drift wood campfires telling stories of the nights before, and singing and dancing with locals from the area.
The river is banked densely with jungle and has some truly breath taking scenery. And did we mention some epic rapids for you to raft and kayak. The last couple of days, after the confluence with the Seti river, the river flattens out, allowing us to relax and enjoy wildlife spotting. Whilst extremely rare, the lower Karnali is home to the endangered River Dolphin, and Gharial crocodiles (don’t panic, these funny looking reptiles only eat fish!).
We will start to notice the difference in scenery (and temperature) as we drift further south. Highlights are ‘Gods House, Sweetness and Light and Jail House’, just a few rapids you will never forget.
Our last day on the water. We will paddle to our take out point at Chisopani, unload the gear for one last time and jump on the waiting bus/plane back to Kathmandu.
Or as you are in the area, you can spend a few chill out days at Bardiya National Park looking for wild elephants, tigers and fresh water dolphins before returning to Kathmandu.
After a long 18 hour drive (or a quicker half hour flight depending on your budget) we will finally arrive in Kathmandu, ready for the first hot shower in over a week.
Come join the crew this evening for a night in the famous Tom and Jerries pub for one final beer and a game of pool whilst we share stories of the fun we had.
- Sun cream
- Shorts or cropped trousers and T-shirt you don’t mind getting wet
- Clothes for traveling in before and after the trip
- Sun glasses with sports strap
- Capped hat if you wish
- Teva style sandals or trainers
- Warm fleece for after the trip
- Camera (can be stored in our dry bags/box whilst rafting)
- Small amount of money for snacks and treats if you wish
- Water bottle
- Personal medication
- Sleeping bag and mattress (if you do not have, please ask and we can provide for you free of charge)
- Dry clothes for the evening(s). Make sure you bring warm clothes with you as the night times can get cold, especially in the winter months.
- Warm hat, gloves and scarf for the winter months
- Pajamas (Thermal Pajamas are recommended in the winter months)
- Small wash kit – biodegradable products are preferred if you have them
- Book, deck of cards or small travel games
- Personal medication (please let us know of any pre-existing medical conditions before participating in any whitewater trip)
- A small amount of money for treats here and there
- Photocopy of your passport & visa