Karnali River is one of the finest big volume rafting and kayaking trips in Nepal-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 Kanjiroba 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 comes 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 unspoilt 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.