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Kali Gandaki River Rafting with Ultimate Descents Nepal

Kali Gandaki River is named after Goddess Kali, the Kali Gandaki rises in Mustang, an enclave of Nepal on the Northern side of the Himalayas. As it tumbles down between the Dhaulagiri and the Annapurna ranges, it creates one of the world's deepest river canyons. Once an ancient trading route to Tibet, it is now a popular trekking trail.

The Kali Gandaki is a popular medium length river journey, combining great whitewater with some of the prettiest scenery in Nepal, seldom-visited villages, and truly quiet and introspective evenings. Both experienced and novice rafters will love it. The rapids on the Kali Gandaki are much more technical and continuous than on the Trishuli (Class III - IV depending on the flow) and in extremely high water, it is not a place to be unless you are an accomplished kayaker and have experience in avoiding big holes. At medium and low flow, it is a fun and challenging river with rapids keeping you busy on all but one day. Being one of the holiest rivers in Nepal, every river junction on the Kali Gandaki is dotted with cremation sites and above ground burial mounds. If you've been wondering what's under that pile of rocks, we recommend you against exploring it. A dam built in 2001 means that trips now have an obvious finish point and it is hard to miss the take out!

Kali Gandaki River Rafting : 3 Days Rafting Package - (Pokhara - Pokhara)

Your river trip begins and ends in Pokhara. If you need to get to Pokhara from Kathmandu, there are a few options depending on your budget and time schedule. All the options are relatively easy to arrange and if you want, we can book one for you. A tourist mini-bus costs about 700 NRS (US$ 7) as opposed to 600 NRS for a local bus. We feel that the minor difference in price for the tourist mini-bus is well worth it. It leaves at 7a.m. from Kantipath and takes approximately 7hours to get to Pokhara. In addition, there are regular flights from KTM to Pokhara that cost US$ 117 each way and takes about 30 minutes. Accommodation in Pokhara is more readily available and is cheaper than KTM. We will gladly assist you in arranging accommodation depending upon your taste and budget.

DAYS 1-2

From Pokhara, we take a chartered bus out of town and up through the foothills of the Annapurna Mountain. The view from the bus is fantastic. The private bus ride takes about 2-3 hours. Once at the river, the guides inflate the rafts, prepare lunch and give a safety talk. The guides then tie all the equipments into the rafts, which is quite a site to witness. After lunch, we push off into the current leaving the road behind for the next 3 days.

A raft trip down the Kali Gandaki isn't just a vacation, it is an education. Our river guides spend the first part of the afternoon explaining the finer points of how to paddle through whitewater and stay in the raft as it bucks and contorts through the rapids. For those who missed a point in the previous briefing, there is a lesson on how to swim through whitewater using the flotation device and paddle to keep your head up and your feet to push off the rocks. The guides will also teach you what they are looking for when they run the river-the innocuous looking rise in the water that hides a hole or the way you can use the pillow of water rebounding off a rock to push the raft where you want it. Whitewater rafts are amazingly versatile and stable crafts and in the care of an expert raft guide, it is possible to run exhilarating lines safely and confidently. Your guide is a professional person who has devoted his/her life to learning and running Whitewater Rivers. Under his/ her careful indoctrination, the raft crew learns how to work as a team, practicing on the small rapids that are encountered on the first kilometer of the river. Team work is what makes it possible to run any river safely and this extends beyond your raft. All the raft and safety kayakers work as a team, communicating with and supporting each other - it's impressive to watch. You are never in a rapid alone. By the time we get to the harder rapids with names like: Wake & Bake and Cobra, the crew will be working together with exquisite timing and precision. Just after running Little Brother and Big Brother, the Modi Khola tumbles down from the Annapurna Base Camp into the Kali Gandaki river.

Below the Modi, the river swings south through an area where tourists are almost unknown and our journey begins in earnest. Your education doesn't stop with rafting either. Being Kali's river (Hindu goddess of Destruction), the Kali Gandaki is one of the holiest river in Nepal. All along the river are sacred cremation beaches where the Nepalese bring the dead bodies for burning, performing rituals and prayers as they send the deceased into the next life.


As part of the dam project there is now an obvious place to take our at the confluence with the Andhi Khola, The reservoir extends upstream to Seti Beni and requires a 4 km of flat water 'dog paddling' on the final day. The bus ride back to Pokhara takes about 5 hours and is a very pleasant journey with little traffic and good views of terraced fields and the day to day life of rural Nepal.

Note that you are planning to travel onto Chitwan after your trip, then it is better to do this direct from the take-out rather than returning to Pokhara. your rafting company should be able to organize a taxi to meet you here and take you straight to Chitwan- about 3 hours drive via the Tansen road-note that some Safari Camps (e.g. Island Jungle Resort) are located on the west side of the park and can be accessed off the Tansen road, saving maybe one hour driving.

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  • Nepal River Organization Trust
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