The Karnali River with its graceful class III to awe-inspiring class V rapids, offers a classic expedition with its finest big volume of whitewater combined with short trekking, fishing and wildlife exploration or jungle safari activities toned with its remote and unexploited features.
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 the extremes of whitewater rafting. It is one of the best trips offered anywhere.
We don’t see a sign of the modern world for the next six days as we hit the river. Life seems so isolated and demanding, yet so rewarding with the wonderful experience on the Wild West. Karnali is one of the last places in Nepal where we could see old growth forest swarmed with Nepal’s wildlife. Many expeditions have encountered the sights of Langur and Rhesus Monkeys, leopards, bear, martins, deer, crocodiles and gharials and sometimes the surreal sights of the elusive Royal Bengal tigers. Karnali apart from being one of the best whitewater rivers supports the life of West Nepal with its major water source and also ropes in the finest fish habitat in Nepal, with giant catfish and Golden Masheer prowling the depths.
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. However, rafting on the Karnali suits from 15 of October until end of May.
Kathmandu, Nepal. International Airport
3 Hours Before Flight Time
We fly from Kathmandu to Nepalganj and drive for approximately 7 hour to Tallo Dhungeswor where we camp for the first night. Here is the River Put-in Point and a nice beach to camp for the night.
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 with an easy but entertaining level, rapids getting more exciting in the afternoon. Cotton Pony, Sweetness and Light will be the first rapids you will get to run.
Jail House Rock, Inversion and some other major rapids are encountered today. Along the way we explore a water falls and in the late afternoon pass through a deep gorge. Deer are commonly seen drinking water at the riverbank.
Extreme white water rafting at its best. The whole day is spent running many large and exciting rapids with skill and the team work that you have developed over the last few days.
Time to sit back with less rapids on the river. Before lunch we meet the confluence of the Seti River, a great place for those who are crazy about fishing. Village life abounds on the river banks; they have little contact with westerners.
If there are kayakers along on your trip this is a great time for the adventurers and to have a spell sitting inside a kayak. The vegetation has now turned into jungle. In the morning you wake up to an orchestra of bird calls.
End at Chisapani and Drive to Karnali Lodge. Approaching the Bardia National Park, the early riser can spot crocodiles here. Arrive at Chisapani around lunch time. We meet our own private transport once again. Drive to Karnali Camp or to the Nepaljung airport.