I had been looking forward to rafting on the Kaligandaki for a long time. I had had a taster of Nepal river rafting on the Lower Bhote Koshi, but this was something else.
It is very special to snake your way through Nepal on a raft often being faced with some unfriendly looking rapids. The views you get from rafting are very different to those whilst trekking, the cliff faces seem so much closer and taller as they plunge down towards the water. Not only are the views different to trekking, but the exercise forces you to exert just as much energy, only using different muscles.
We were given a comprehensive safety briefing beforehand for our 8-man raft and practiced the various paddling commands. It was certainly very important to do so as two of the biggest rapids of the whole three days came soon after launching. Appropriately named little brother and big brother they immediately threw us (literally and metaphorically) into the spirit of rafting. I never felt in real danger due to the precaution of having two safety kayaks in case of a capsize or man overboard.
On the contrary to the adrenaline fuelled bashing of rapids, there were some sections to appreciate the beauty of your surroundings and observe some of the wildlife. There were countless eagles and we also saw Langur monkeys and some kind of large rodents too.
The camping was great too. The spots they chose for the campsites were very special and an enterprising local villager would come to sell beer which was very welcome. The nights would wind down by sitting around the campfire and staring at the incredible star-lit sky. The food was plentiful and very good considering it was all had to be rafted down with us too. All of the guides were terrific, friendly, helpful and most importantly up for having a laugh with you.
Overall I would say that the rafting on the Kaligandaki river was one of the highlights of my 3 months in Nepal. There are gentler rivers just as there are more extreme rivers. But for me there was more than enough excitement on the Kaligandaki.