Nepal has a reputation for being one of the best places in the world for rafting, with outstanding river journeys ranging from steep, adrenaline-charged mountain streams to classic big-volume wilderness expeditions. Warm water, a subtropical climate and huge white sandy beaches that are ideal for camping add further to the appeal. Rivers like Sunkoshi, Bhotekoshi, Karnali, Tamur, Bheri, Trisuli, Seti, Kaligandaki are some of the rivers that are well known for White Water Rafting. While rafting on these rivers, there’s great scenarios of green valleys, hills and mountains, different kinds of birds and animals. Also, one can see the lifestyle of the people living in remote areas. When we say Rafting, it’s more than just floating on the river.
Before you decide on a river, you need to decide what it is that you want out of your trip. There are trips available from two to 12 days on different rivers, all offering dramatically different experiences. Some have big volume of water, some with exciting rapids while some are flat and calm. Depending on your nature one can choose a river to raft and make the best memories.
First, don’t believe that just because it’s a river it’s going to be wet ‘n’ wild. Some rivers, such as the Sun Koshi, which is a full-on white-water trip in September and October, are basically flat in the low water of early spring. So, it’s important for one to make the booking on peak season so one can make the best out of the trip.
Highwater level for rafting!
September to early October and May to June Rivers can be extremely high with monsoon run-off. Any expeditions attempted at this time require a very experienced rafting company with an intimate knowledge of the river and strong teams, as times of high flows are potentially the dangerous times to be on a river. So, for monsoon we highly recommend Trisuli river of a day or 2 days trip because it shows its true potential on this season. Since, most of the other rivers have a high volume of water, its impossible to raft on any other rivers.
Longer trips such as the Sun Koshi (in the autumn), the Karnali and the Tamur offer some real heart-thumping white water with the sense of journey inherent in a long river trip. With more time on the river, things are more relaxed, relationships progress at a more natural pace, and memories become entrenched for a lifetime. River trips are much more than gravity-powered roller-coaster rides; they’re liquid journeys traversed on very special highways.
Why travel on a bus when you can raft down the highways?
Choosing the right outfitter!
There are dozens of rafting companies in Kathmandu claiming to be rafting and kayaking operators. A few are well-established companies with good reputations, and the rest are newer companies, often formed by guides breaking away and starting their own operations. Although these new companies can be enthusiastic and good, they can also be shoestring operations that may not have adequate equipment and staff. Most of the small travel agencies simply sell trips on commission; often they have no real idea about the details of what they are selling and are only interested in getting bums on seats.
Ultimate Descents Nepal specializes in long participatory rafting trips as well as kayak instruction and clinics on the Seti River or at its Sun Koshi Beach Camp.