The Karnali lies in the western part of the nation in what is called the “Wild West” of Nepal, an area only recently opened for tourism. It is Nepal’s mightiest river and most experienced river travelers, who have rafted or kayaked down the Karnali, agree that it is one of the best trips offered anywhere.
Rising in the vicinity of Tibet’s holy Mount Kailash, the Karnali carves the Himalayan landscape into a series of magnificent gorges and canyons as it descends slowly into the forests of western Nepal. On this river you can expect exceptionally big-volume rafting through jungles inhabited by nomads, deserted beaches and small villages. Seasonal snow melts and storms can cause the river level to swell drastically and create the extremes of whitewater rafting.
In high water, the Karnali is a serious undertaking, with fairly straightforward yet huge rapids. Even at lower levels, it is still not a walk in the park as the rapids become more constricted and the gradient steeper. One highlight of this classic river journey is a 7km long gorge, “thrill-a-minute roller-coaster ride,” with rapids at every bend. Although we must admit, any season suits the Karnali.
Spring 2024 Departure Dates
11th Mar - 20th Mar
26th Mar - 4th Apr
7th Apr - 16th Apr
21th Apr - 30th Apr
02nd May - 11th May
Fall 2024 Departure Dates
07 Oct-16 Oct
18 Oct - 27Oct
29 Oct- 07 Nov
09 Nov- 18 Nov
21Nov - 30 Nov
Shorts / ½ pants
Sport sandals or comfortable shoes that can get wet and will stay on your feet
Quick dry long shirts
Track pants / comfortable long pants
Jacket (waterproof shell)
Comfortable Shoes for trekking and rafting (Tamur River)
Warm hat (in cold months) and sunglass
Toiletries/Sunscreen / sunscreen lip protection
Head lamp / flash light
Personal first aid kit
Sleeping bag (if you do not have one – we will provide a complimentary rental)
A little cash for treats,
Tipping is certainly appreciated by the guides and other river crew, who work hard to make sure you have fun and a safe trip. If you feel your guide has done a good job keeping you entertained, safely looked after and has shared the wonderful river environment with you, then feel free to show your appreciation.
The total number of people on the team varies with the duration of the trip and how many guests there will be. The team will always include the expedition leader and the main river guide, under whose supervision there is a team of additional river guides and a minimum of two safety kayakers. All of our team members are river professionals who have the required certification for commercial river descents. The river crew prepares the camp logistics, including meals, but the clients are encouraged to join in.
A minimum of 4 people are required to make the trip operational. Each raft must be at least 6 people and 1 guide, however we can add up to 8 people depending on the river.
If you are just learning to raft, start off with a Class II or III (or an easy Class IV) rafting trip. If you are really nervous about being part of a paddle boat, an alternative is to ride along on an oar boat, which we can offer on different rivers. Many rafters who are confident in the water, healthy, and feel adventurous, drop right into a Class IV river without any prior experience. Our guides will make sure you are trained in safety and proper paddle techniques. For Class V rivers, you must have prior class IV experience.
Yes! We provide private transportation to and from the river for each rafting trip and this is included in the cost of the trip. However, if you would prefer a flight, this can be arranged for an additional cost.
Typically you will have approximately 4-5 hours of actual river journey each day. The rest of the time is spent on setting up the campsite, preparing logistics, etc. This can be a good time for personal exploration and interaction with the natural surroundings or fellow travellers.
We don’t recommend bringing video cameras, or even expensive still cameras, on trips. If you do choose to bring a more expensive camera, or any camera really, we suggest that you protect it with a waterproof case; many are available which fit different shapes and sizes of cameras. Oftentimes, our river trips also have a professional photographer, whose photos you can view and order after the trip.
The meals will include both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options which are hygienically prepared by our team members everyday. Sometimes, local delicacies are served as well. You are also welcome to bring your own nonperishable foods/snacks and any alcoholic beverages you would like to enjoy at the campsite in the evening.
Transportation to the put-in point and back from the put-out point
Internationally certified rafting guides and safety kayakers
State-of-the-art rafting equipment and safety gear (including dry bags, helmets, life vests, etc.)
What's Not Included
Clothing and footwear
Any expenses/items of a personal nature
The Western Bend
06:00 am/ Sales office, Kathmandu
06:30 am from Sales office, Kathmandu
Put in Point:
Take out point:
IV – V
Time on Water:
5-6 Hours each Day with 1 Layover
Bus ride to the Put-in:
Available both ways
15 – 70 years old
Spring – Mar-May
Fall – Oct – Dec