Rafting the Kali Gandaki

The Kali Gandaki is a River and Soul favorite! This river is named after the Goddess of Destruction, Kali, and known for sixty rapids in 60 minutes. The Kali Gandaki is normally a 3 day trip however you can up it to a 4 day trip by starting further upstream if you are keen for it. It is full of thrills, twists and turns, ending in a calm jade green reservoir.

Extreme whitewater rafting in the sun

The Whitewater Rapids

The Kali Gandaki will blow your mind! The water is fairly warm (I’ve kayaked it in just a rashy before) and has loads of big and bouncy rapids! The 3 day run starts off at a place called Baglung Pul and finishes at the Dam at Marmim. You can start higher than Baglung Pul if you wish. Just note that the higher you go the steeper the rapids, the terrain can be difficult to access and I can guarantee your trusty guidebook (Whitewater Nepal) will not have directions! So you will have to rely on your scouting ability to get you in and out the river in one piece. This and the lack of easy access is often the reason why most commercial companies wont run a trip beyond 3 days. River and Soul, however, can make it a 4 day tour – Check out our bespoke tours.

You jump into the river and have about 10 minutes before you get to the first main rapid. Not much warming up time! These rapids are a set called Little Brother (Grade 4) and Big Brother (Grade 4+). They are big and bouncy and will require you to get out and scout! The fortunate thing with this big water river is that the running lines are also big. There is plenty of room to manoeuvre, but make sure you don’t stray too far! One wrong turn can end you up with a serious injury – it is a grade 4 river after all!

Whitewater Rafiting Carnage on the Kali Gandaki

Little Brother and Big Brother set the pace for the rest of the journey, other rapids such as Rafter’s Refund (Grade 4) and Morning Glory (Grade 4) keep everyone on their toes. There are several other grade 4 rapids throughout the three days with dozens of grade 3 and 2 to have fun and play on! There is just such a variety of rapids from boulder gardens to big bouncy waves, there is something for everyone!

Safety kayaker in Nepal

The last day is a half day. Starting with grade 3 and then slowly dies off into a reservoir which is a beautiful jade green colour due to the hydro electric dam built here. Calm flat water allows people to jump in for a swim, play some classic rafting games (like ‘The Grand Old Duke of York’ or ‘Endies’) or why not ask your guide to teach you how to steer a raft!

Rafting down a giant gorge in Nepal

The Kali Gandaki rises and falls with the seasons. Right after the monsoon in September the river will be at its largest and river beaches will be few and far between. You better have the right guides who know where they are! Commercial rafting normally doesn’t take place until late September/October. This allows the river to fall a bit which can make it safer for clients with less experience. Between September and December the Kali Gandaki can easily drop several feet in depth, meaning the lines are constantly changing. It is important to scout the rapids before you run them, even if you have run them dozens of times before.

Being a company favourite, several of the River and Soul tours feature the Kali Gandakitake a look at them here!

Camping

The camping on this river is some of my favorite! It does depend on what time of year you visit as to where you can stop and how big your beach will be. Normally you’ll be staying on a beach – YES A BEACH! The beaches are a bleach white and are usually formed on the inside bends of the river. As I said before, the time of year and size on the river will determine how large a beach you’ll get to pitch your tent on, but they are often a couple hundred feet long!

A campsite on the Kali Gandaki

Everyone helps to unpack the full rafts of gear, the more hands there are the faster the camp comes together! Everyone pitches in from lugging the gear up the beach, to putting up tents and digging a toilet. There is lots to be getting on with! (Don’t forget to collect fire wood!) But once its done then you can sit back and relax. Chill round the fire, play cards, read a book or lay back and stare into the stary nights sky…

Your guides will be cooking a tasty meal up as soon as they land. You’ll normally get served some fresh popcorn and tea once you’ve set up your tent. For dinner you’ll be treated to a different meal every night – from the classic Nepalese Dhal Bhatt to Lasagna with a twist (the twist is that its actually more like spaghetti bolognese). Find out more of the food your likely to experience in our FAQs!

A table showing a variety of food available on whitewater rafting expeditions

Here’s a little teaser…


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