The first commercial run of the Tamur was in 1990 and there have been very few descents since then. In November of 1991 we ran an expedition down this river and proved to ourselves that all we had heard about it being an "exceptional trip" was right. The trip combines one of the best short Himalayan treks with a challenging and exhilarating river journey. Tamur drains the snows of the mighty Kanchanjunga massif, the third highest peak in the world and flows through a truly beautiful and unspoiled gorge. The superb sandy beaches, few villages and limited agriculture along the river provide Tamur with the most pristine rafting environment in Nepal.
Although the Tamur is still relatively untravelled, it probably has created more whitewater interest than any other commercial rafting rivers in Nepal. With three days of trekking through the foothills of the Himalayas followed by 120 km of exceptional whitewater thrill, Tamur is a highly recommended, active and exhilarating wilderness journey.
Day 1 - 2
We begin our expedition with an overnight bus journey to Dharan Bazaar, where we rest for a while to consume a hearty breakfast, before we continue to drive another 3 to 4 hrs to reach Basantapur. Our route takes us through the bustling market town of Hile where the surrounding villagers come to trade their wares. From Hile the drive to Basantapur has spectacular views from Everest to Kanchanjunga. At Basantapur we arrange for our team porters to carry all our equipment to the put-in. In this interesting hill top town we rest for the night, before beginning our trek the next morning.
Day 3 - 4
The next 2 days are spent trekking through small villages, magnificent rhododendron forests and beautiful meadows. This is said to be one of the most scenic treks in Nepal. From our trail along the ridge-top we have commanding views of the spectacular Himalayan ranges of Makalu, Jannu and Kanchanjunga as we make our way to the holy lake, Gupha Pokhari, at around 10000 ft.
After Gupha Pokhari the trail begins to descend through rice terraces until we reach our put in at Dobhan. We camp at Dobhan overnight at the confluence of the Sewa Khola and the Tamur River. Our porters, who have amazed us in the last few days with their strength and agility, carrying among other things huge 80 kilo rafts on their backs, return to Basantapur leaving us to prepare ourselves for exhilarating days ahead on the river.
Day 5 - 10
In the morning of the 6th day, after having a delicious breakfast prepared by our multi-talented river guides, we inflate the rafts, load on the gear, have a safety talk and practice and finally head off down this magnificent river.
The Tamur probably has more whitewater interest than any other commercial rafting river in Nepal and is frequently stated as one of the best white water trips in the world. The first 16 km of the river from Dobhan allows no respite – just continuous class 3, 4+ and 5 whitewater and it does`t take long before everyone is paddling as a tight team. It is very satisfying rafting that requires a degree of precision as we make our way through steep and technical rapids.
The Kaveli river is the first major tributary coming in on the left adding about a quarter of the volume and there are some difficult rapids below here. With so few descents of the Tamur, many of the major rapids are still waiting to be named.
Just after the Hinwan Khola confluence, the river widens out and for the first time we witness small villages and cattle grazing along the river`s sides. The local people who live in the small villages of this middle section of the river, belong to a fascinating array of tribes and castes. Most of them have never seen westerners before and therefore are both very curious of our presence and equally welcoming.
The beaches for camping are excellent and with relatively few villages and little agriculture, this has to be one of the most pristine rafting environments in Nepal. There is plenty of wildlife to be seen with troops of monkeys living in the more remote jungle gorges and exceptional birdlife all the way down the river. The last few days of rafting where the river turns back to the west are incredible. This section is the real test of our teamwork as impressive steep canyon walls enclose the river and the rapids are powerful and continuous. There are 40 odd rapids in the last 4 hours before the Tamur exits these canyons and cascades into the mighty Sunkosi. The combined rivers, now called the Saptakosi (seven rivers) surge onwards with huge volume to the Ganges and the Indian plain.
We take out at Chatara near Dharan bazaar about 10 km downstream.
Our bus will meet us at Chatara and after packing all our equipment we will go into the town for a Nepali feast and a short rest on dry land before returning to Kathmandu in our private bus. However, if you are allergic to long bus journeys, there is the option of a flight back.