KARNALI River Waterkeeper Expedition 2017 - 12 Days

“KARNALI: The last and most pristine Himalayan River” 

The Waterkeeper Expedition highlights impacts of the proposed tallest Dam in the World on Nepal’s most pristine and only free flowing Karnali River

We invited you all to join this special Expedition, river conservationist, journalist and river activist will be on. 

River only Cost: US$900/person, 24th Oct – 4th Nov, 2017, 12 days expedition.

On 24th Oct –  4th Nov 2017, the Karnali River Waterkeeper will host a 12 days expedition on the Karnali River in Nepal to highlight the impacts of the proposed development of the world’s tallest dam.  Members of Waterkeeper Alliance, the largest and fastest growing nonprofit solely focused on clean water, will be joined on the trip by journalists, river advocates, and engaged members of the public. The trip will be led by Megh Ale, who runs Karnali River Waterkeeper and the Nepal River Conservation Trust.

The proposed Upper Karnali Dam has been mired in controversy for years due to funding uncertainties and how its hydroelectricity would be shared between Nepal and India. At one point, the World Bank provided money to study the feasibility of the dam, but has since come under fire for its support. Foreign banks, investors, and engineering firms in Canada, India, and the United States have engaged on-and-off over several years to study and fund the dam.

Two plans of the dam have been proposed. If built, the initial proposal from Indian engineering firm GMR is for a 1,345 feet high (410 meters) dam, making it the world’s tallest. The Nepalese government has also proposed a 159-meter dam with less hydroelectric capacity. At either height, the dam would flood a beautiful gorge on the Karnali River which is one of the last free-flowing rivers in Nepal. Factions in Nepal are arguing intensely over the dam, some wanting a bigger dam with more hydroelectric capacity, others wanting the Karnali River to be protected because hydropower is increasingly damming and destroying many of Nepal’s rivers. The initial project is particularly controversial in Nepal because only 12% of the electricity would stay in the country, while the other 88% would go to India. Much of the opposition can be seen on social media via #SaveKarnali, with many protesters calling for the GMR contract to be canceled.

"We need to protect the free-flowing Karnali River for the future benefit of the Nepalese people" said Megh Ale of Karnali River Waterkeeper and the Nepal River Conservation Trust. “Our rivers are increasingly being dammed in the rush for hydropower, but the Karnali is a special place that should be protected from its origins at Holy Mt. Kailash in Tibet and into India’s Ganges.”

After a successful Expedition on fall 2016 now the Karnali River Waterkeeper and NRCT will organize 2 expeditions in a year, one in fall and one in spring so we aware more and more people along the river communities as well as National and International by showing our presence and concerns. This Expedition will be led by River Guide Megh Ale, an Ashoka Fellow, Founder and President of Karnali River Waterkeeper, River Conservationist, and Ultimate Descents Nepal once again.

We invite environmentalists, journalists, river conservationists, and river activists around the world to be part of this Ultimate Descents Nepal expedition to help save the most pristine and only free flowing river in Nepal.

ITINERARY: This will be a very special river trip and will have two days more on the river then our regular trip as we will drive to propose hydro dam site Daaba of upper Karnali and camp, which is 34km upstream from our regular put in. For those who wish to join the 10 days Karnali River Expedition, 24th October to 4thNovember, 2017

The trip is longer than the normal trips as we will be spending more time at the proposed dam site, and power house site. We will have an environmental scientist and also a journalist who will be joining this trip.

Once you finish the trip on 12th day, you could either drive to Bardia or back to Kathmandu.


  • Itinerary:
    October 23rd:Pre departure meeting in the evening
    October 24th: Depart from Kathmandu to Kohalpur (12-14 hrs drive) and overnight at Kolhapur.
    October 25th: Depart at 8 am after breakfast to Daaba around proposed dam site. Drive approx. 8 hrs, overnight at river bank.
    October 26th to 3rd November:  After breakfast start rafting at 11 am on the Karnali River.
    3rdNovember:  End expedition by mid-day and fly to Kathmandu. People, who drive after expedition to Kathmandu, arrive next day around 10:00am on4thNovember.
     (Or people may wish to stay longer at their own cost)
    Note: People who will fly to and from the expedition will be 10 days and who drive both ways then it will be 12 days which includes 1 lay over day.
    River only Cost: US$1100/person
    (Without domestic airfare and lodging in Kathmandu) 
  • 12 days Karnali River expedition with professional river guides, 
  • River Guides: Rescue-3 International, Whitewater Rescue Technicians (WRT) certified, safety kayakers, 
  • And state of the art equipment for whitewater rafting and camping.

With domestic airfare US$1570/person

  • Round trip airfare between Kathmandu – Nepalgunj,
  • Airport/ hotel pickup and drop off, 
  • 9 days Rafting expeditionwith professional river guides, one lay over day
  • River Guides: Rescue-3 International, Whitewater Rescue Technicians (WRT) certified, safety kayakers, 
  • And state of the art equipment for whitewater rafting and camping.

Note: With in minimum 6 pax will pay for 2 journalists for the expedition. 

Ultimate Descents Nepal will keep a side 5% for Karnali River conservation on full payment and above cost. 


Expedition leader: Megh Ale (Ashoka Fellow)

Founder President 

Nepal River Conservation Trust (NRCT)

Cell: +977 9851031431, mail: megharivers@gmail.com

Package Details

Location : Karnali

Duration : 12 Days

Price : Package cost: US$ 1570 / River only cost: US$1100/person

Cost Includes

  1. Rafting expedition with professional river guides, international Whitewater Rescue Technicians, safety kayakers, and state of the art equipment for rafting and camping.

Cost Excludes

alcoholic beverages, personal expenses and insurance.