|KALI GANDAKI (UPPER):
(Best season: October/December and March/April).
Kali Gandaki ( Upper) river starts from Modi Khola (690m) and flows to Ramdi (370m) covering distance of 92 kms. The river is approchable from Pokhara by vehicle in about 3 hours' drive and the river days would be from 3 to 5. The difficulty in class is 4 - to (4). It is a beautiful unspoilt river with good white water, gorges, wildlife and a feeling of remoteness. Recomended for people wanting an exciting medium-length raft trip and as a self-suffcient kayak trip for intermediate and expert kayakers.
One of the famous names of Himalayan rivers, the Kali Gandaki rises in Mustang, an enclave of Nepal poking into Tibet on the other side of the Himala. here, it is a flat and braided river, flowing in an arid open valley: the explorer Michael Peissel ran this stretch of the river in a small hovercraft in 1973. At Kalopani the river drops off the roof of the World and cuts one of the deepest gorges in the world between Dhaulagiri (8167m) to the west and Annapurna (8091m) to the East. This gorge is one of the ancient trading routes through to Tibet and is now a favourite route for trekkers. Below Tatopani, the gradient eases and the river is probably runnable from upstream of Baglunng.
After the confluence with the Modi Khola, the river swings south through an area where tourists are almost unknown. The only road access in the 214 kms of river is at two places, Ridi and Ramdi, and the river feels remote and wild. The few people you will see enthusiastically bekon you over so that they can meet you. There are few valleys actually on the river - most are located on the river terraces some hundreds of meteres above, where it is cooler and where there would be fewer mosquitoes in the monsson. The Kali Gandaki is named after the goddess Kali and is considered a particularly holy river; an auspicious place to be cremated. It is also a gold bearing river. There is abundant wildlife on the river: civets and red pandas found in this river area and is a good river for the bird watcher.
Rafting in Kali Gandaki (Upper):
very few groups have rafted the Kali Gandaki compared to Trisuli river and all who have rafted it speak highly of it. If Kali Gandaki is compared with other popular rafting trips it could best be said to be something like shorter Sun Kosi trip - perhaps slightly easier white water, fine scenery, wildlife and an unspoilt valley. It makes a pleasant alternative to a Trisuli trip.
The new road built from Pokhara to Baglung few years ago has dramatically improved access to this river. The put-in and take-out are roughly 3 hours and halfday from Pokhara. True connoisseurs of river exploration will want to exted the rafting trip and continue on below Ramdi down the lower part of the Kali gandaki, into the Narayani and down to Chitwan National Park (because this lower section is easier and different in character). A 5 days' itinerary outlined herebelow is recomended:
5 Days Kaligandaki (Upper) Rafting:
Total River Days: 5 River Grade: Class 4 Best Season: Late Sept through May Rafting Starting Point: Nayapur, Kusma Rafting Ending Point: Ramdi Ghat.
Suggest clients/groups reach Pokhara a day before commencing raft trip and stay in Hotel.
09.00 Hrs: Drive from Pokhara to raft put-in point at Nayapul which takes about 3 hours and one can enjoy stunning views of Annapurna, Dhaulagiri peak as well as the sacred "Fish-tail" Machhapuchhre throughout the drive. Upon arrival at Nayapul, lunch will be served and full safety briefing will be given by the expedition leader.
The first rapids we run are "Refund" and "The Evil One" soon after the confluence with the Modi Khola river we will choose our beach campsite.
After breakfast, once rafts are ready we start down the river for a full of white water, during which you will see magnificent view of Annapurna I and Himalchuli. Along this part of the river, vines and lush vegatation hang from the cliff faces through which small waterfalls ran with our safety kayakers in position, you will negotiate numerous exciting rapids before a welcome lunch break. Our campsite this evening will be at sandy beach.
After breakfast, soon after getting on the water, we arrive at the holy village of Seti Beni. Here the river has deposited a house-sized boulder at the confluence with a smaller tributary sincce confluences are considered holy places in the Hindu religion. This boulder has become an important shrine to the local people.
A clean run through Seti Beni and then we hit a rapid called "Jungle Corridor". The river narrows through this remote gorge providing many thrilling drops and turns to challenge the rafting crews. In the afternoon "Tombstone" rapid looms on the horizon. We will choose our campsite.
After breakfast, we pass through the middle section of the Kali Gandaki. The river looses its gradient. The rapids are replaced by long coin pools and some small riffles.
This provides a nice relaxing day where you can loung in the raft and enjoy the scenery. Then a quick supply stop at Ridi Bazar at approximately midday is followed by an easy float down to our beach campsite.
This last day we run the largest rapid in the river "A Walk In The Dark". A large landslide fell into the river, creating this roller coaster rapid.
Many other smaller drops are negotiated before arriving at the Ramdi Ghat road bridge and our take-out point. After lunch, equipment is loaded into the bus and we begin a scenic drive back to Pokhara or Kathmandu.
This is a beautiful river where you feel that you are really on an expedition and it is ideal length for a self suffcient trip. There are some holes on the river that you wouldm't want to play in, but by and large, the difficulties are obvious and the river is friendly. Also a lot of fun - there are play-waves to surf almost all the way down the river. There is as much white water and fun for the kayaker on this river as on Trisuli.
Expert kayakers will be at home on this river and enjoy themselves; aspiring and confident intermediates would find this an enjoyable and fulfilling expedition, but it is recomended the support of more kayakers in the group. many expert kayakers will probably choose to start on the Modi Khola and paddle down into the Kali Gandaki. It is said that a group of German kayakers have put in below Tatopani and it probably of class 5, hard but not impossible. From Ghoreshar the river appears to be mainly class 4 and 4+.