Rafting in the River Karnali

Rafting in the River Karnali
The Karnali River has the distinction of rising from the base of the holy Mt. kailash in Tibet which is visited by hundreds of thousands of pilgrims each year. The karnali is also the mightiest and longest river in Nepal. With its milder Class III to spectacular Class IV rapids, this is one incredible ride. Rafting here can be combined with fishing and jungle safari which is the ultimate river experience for any adventurer.

Along the Karnali one encounters a number of fabulous gorges, deserted beaches amd steep canyons as it cuts through te rugged Himalayan landscape, rushing down towards the forests of low-lying western Nepal. The river's level can rise dramatically after a storm as snow melts faster in the mountains giving rise to a more turbulent whitewater. This is undoubtedly one of the best river trips. Some of the rapids encountered are: captivity, Flip and Strip, God's House, Elbow and Sweet Well.

The  Karnali  trip  takes one  through wild territory where  no  civilization  is encountered  along  the  river  for  days on  end. The  remoteness  of the  river adds to the sobering experience in the wild. Langur and Rhesus monkeys are a common sight and other wildlife that may be seen are:  leopards, bear,  martins, deer, crocodiles and gharials. Besides rafting, the Karnali  is also famous for  its  beautiful  Golden Mahseer, a most sought after  fish. This being one of the best fish habitats in Nepal, giant catfish are also found within its waters besides the many other species of gaming fish.

Karnali has huge rapids and demands to  be  taken seriously.  As  the river reaches  the lower regions, it flows at a greater gradient allowing for a11. excit• ing  ride  as the  rapids become  more constricted.  The river rewards thrill seekers with a series  of rapids along a 7  km  roller-coaster ride   through the gorge.  What's more,  the Kamali can be taken on in  any season  which is unusual for  a country with monsoon floods.

The 10 day Karnali Thiller
Day 1 - Surkhet
An hour long flight from Kathmandu brings guests to Nepalgunj and a drive straight away  to  Surkhet  for  a  night halt.

Day 2 - Tallo Dhungeshwor 
The put-in point on the Karnali is Tallo Dhungeshwor which is reached after a six-hour drive through beautiful sal forests. The village of Sauli is reached after passing through many small villages and the  scenery on the way is spectacular.

Day 3 - First Enquiry
Soon after breakfast, it  is  time  for adventure on the river. From the first day on there are exciting wild rapids to face. A lunch stop follows, after which the descent on the Karnali continues until First Inquiry is reached. This is the  location chosen for a campsite for the  night. Another lovely night is spent by the river.

Day 4 - God's House
The fourth day promises more adventures. The river in this section is made up of wild  torrents as the  boat enters the 'Jungle Corridor' flowing through a narrow gorge that is surrounded by forest. Here,  collective effort is needed to maneuver the boat and the  instruction of the guide  has to be strictly followed. The whitewater is delightful and a wonderful time is had by all. The long day on the river  comes to an end at the superb camping site near God's House, the 'day's major rapid.

Day 5 - Seti Dovan
This day also proves to be full of action and more fun is guaranteed. The rapids around this area are tricky and calls for more technical handling. After rapid God's House, there are many challenging rapids until finally the campsite at Seti Dovan is reached.

Day 6 - Jamuna Village
There's a lot of hard paddling to do on this day. There's also much to admire as the landscape seen today is simply marvelous. After a full day of action and fun, the boat arrives at Jamuna village where tents are set up for the night. Campsite is always a great place for conversation which generally hovers around the day's adventures.

Day 7- Campsite
This day is for relaxing and taking in the surrounding lush green vegetation, a visit to a local village and the serene jungle to see wildlife roam free. The camp  is on the beach where a good meal ends the day.

Day 8- 9- Bheri Confluence  
Once out  of the  gorge,  the  rapids slowly ease off and further down at the confluence of the Bheri and karnali, the river broadens and the gradient decreases as it meanders through astounding scenery. Finally it comes out onto the plains and flows through the Bardia National Park. Today and the next two days is a good time to admire the countryside and another half day of superb view.

Day 10 - Chisopani
The tenth day is also the last day on the Karnali. It comes to an end in the early afternoon at Chisopani Bridge, the largest suspension bridge in Nepal. The  last lunch is enjoyed together by the river, as the Karnali winds its way through the valleys, canyons and deep gorges.

Those  seeking more adventure go on to spend  a few days in the splendor of nature at the Bardia National Park where  safaris take visitors on a grand tour  of the  forest to catch wildlife in their natural habitat. Others head for Nepalgunj airport and a flight back to Kathmandu. The grandest trip of them all comes to an end.