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Kali Gandaki River

  • Kali Gandaki River

Trip facts

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Overview

This trip is considered to be the most beautiful and enjoyable trip in all Nepal. There is a great mix of jungle scenery and lowland forests. The river lies far west of Kathmandu in a very rural area that has recently been opened to foreigners. It is a class 4 river that takes a week to run. There is also the option to visit Bardia National Park and explore the jungle at the end of the trip.

Rivers are one of our planet’s natural highways. They can also provide a jolting, roller-coaster ride through a very big bathtub, an exhilarating tussle with the forces of nature. You don’t have to be experienced, you just need a healthy appetite for adventure, don’t mind being wet all day, have a sense of humour and the desire to experience something new.

Nepal is a river runner’s paradise. Rightly famed for its trekking credentials, Nepal is also renowned for its wilderness rafting. No other country has such a choice of multi-day trips, away from the roads in magnificent mountain settings, with warm rivers, a temperate climate, exotic cultures and friendly people.

Of the trips available, a popular, medium length river descent is the one that travels the length of the Kali Gandaki river, combining exhilarating white water and spectacular scenery. This is one of the famous names of Himalayan rivers. The Kali Gandaki rises in Mustang, an enclave of Nepal that pokes into Tibet. Initially a flat river, it soon drops off the edge of the world and cuts one of the deepest gorges in the world between Dhaulagiri, height 8167m to the west and Annapurna, 8091m to the east. These two peaks are only 38km apart, providing a vertiginous gorge. Once an ancient trading route to Tibet, it is now a favourite with thrill seekers.

The river passes through an area where until fairly recently, tourists were virtually unknown. There are few villages on the riverbanks – most are located on terraces perched hundreds of metres above. Named after the Goddess Kali, the river is considered particularly holy and an auspicious place to be cremated. Consequently many of the river confluences are dotted with cremation sites and burial mounds – do not be tempted to investigate the contents of these cairns!

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