Itinerary

Be ready to experience the initial culture shock of the winded and cramped streets when you land in Kathmandu. Not missing out on the beautiful views of the valley, the Himalayas and of the terraced fields here. After you get through customs and checks, our representative will guide you to your hotel for the night. Once you’re checked in, your watershed expedition Naturalist will brief you about the necessary details and safety concerns for your trip. At the briefing, you will receive your naturalist journals where you will be encouraged to document your journey coupled with the wildlife sightings along the way. A good place for dinner would be Thamel, the tourist hub of Kathmandu, offering you a variety of dishes to choose from. Sleep in early because you have an early morning flight to Pokhara tomorrow.

After a hearty breakfast, you will be taking an early morning flight to Pokhara which is about 30 minutes. Upon reaching Pokhara, our drive to Nayapul commences which is about an hour drive. After reaching Nayapul, you start to walk to Birethanti which lies on the confluence of Modi and Burundi rivers. Follow along the trails through bamboo forests and waterfalls. Several small villages and settlements come along the way as you take a moderately easy hike towards Tikhedhunga through the bank of the river. Overnight at a teahouse in Tikhedhunga.

The trek starts after a lovely breakfast at Tikhedhunga and you will see a suspension bridge very shortly. The climb till Ulleri is quite challenging as it is all steep uphills. Along the trail, you get to see the local people, their settlements and snow-capped picturesque mountains. After crossing the village of Ulleri, you will gradually leave the corn fields. In springtime, the trail is covered in rhododendrons at its full bloom against the backdrop of the Annapurnas and Machhapuchhre mountains. Overnight at a lodge in Ghorepani.

The trek today goes beyond the treeline, providing an array of new flora and fauna to the expedition. Our scenery is filled with lush green hills as we traverse through a pasture with a number of herder’s huts and dzo grazing (crossbred cow and yak). Your Naturalist will have you on the lookout for the colorful Danphe pheasant, the national bird of Nepal, as well as Himalayan thar on the grassy ridge high above the trail. Overnight at a Community lodge.

Today, you will start with a steady climb that takes you above the treeline where the area is famous for wildlife, so you should keep your eyes open for Himalayan Thar and Danphe. It’s a long climb so take your own time and rest often. Across the depth of the Kali Gandaki valley (more than 6000 m in depth, the Dhaulagiri range completely dominates the western skyline. The antecedent river system that once flowed northward into Tibet’s largest basin the Yarlung, the Kali Gandaki basin is known for its depth, cutting between some of the highest peaks of the Himalayan range including Dhaulagiri (8167 m) to the west and Nilgiri (7003 m) and Annapurna (8091 m) to the east. Once previously flowing in the Tethy’s sea, the Kali Gandaki basin became a hotspot for Jurassic marine crustaceans. These crustacean fossils are collected by Hindu households yearning to bear a son, so keep your eyes open if you’re looking to grow a family. After the sunset hike, you will reach the lodge on Khopra ridge and will get more awesome views of the mountain vistas. After a warm lunch, it is well worth taking a sunset hike to the nearby hills overlooking the Kali Gandaki river far below in this deep valley from its 3,600m gorge (the deepest in the world). After all, you will be paddling this mighty river 2 days later. Overnight stay at a community lodge.

You’re at the highest point of the trek. So, it’s up to you for enjoying a rest or hiking up to a holy lake at 4660m known as Khayer lake. The lake has a significance of its own with a small temple called Khayera Bharani holy to the local Magar community there. The lake is also visited by Hindu devotees who walk up there on the day of Janai Purnima which lies in late July/early August time. Surrounding the basin are grasslands heavily grazed by mountain goats during the monsoon. You can also see varieties of birds before you walk back to Khopra danda. If you decide to hike up to the lake, your naturalist will bring a packed lunch for the day made by the guest house.

It takes about 4-5 hours to reach Tatopani from Khopra Danda. As you descend down to the valley, you are bound to experience the local hospitality, get to see several typical villages and terraced farms. There’s a natural hot spring at Tatopani. So, once you reach Tatopani you can take a quick bath and relax your sore muscles. After a good bath and brunch at Tatopani, you’ll take a jeep ride to the rafting put-in point on the Kali Gandaki river and camp for the night just south of the Modi river confluence. There’s much to be explored in this 50 million-year-old river, which predates the Himalayas.

Rise and shine! Once the camping gear is packed on the rafts and you’ve eaten a hearty breaky, we’ll start on the river. The day is a mixture of calm and class III/ IV rapids coupled with splendid views of Annapurna I and Hiunchuli mountains. The lush vegetation and trailing plants hanging from the cliffs on both sides of the river create unique riparian habitats for aquatic insects. Ask your naturalist for a chance to explore the water quality with a recreational macroinvertebrate study. They’re a bunch of indigenous science nerds and will love exploring with you! Overnight at Grijmi Beach.

Your third day on the river. After breakfast, you start bumping into rapids and reach a holy village in the mid-way called Seti Beni. The river has deposited a massive rock which has made a confluence of religious significance to Hindus and also to the local people there. The rapids in this place calls for an audience that cheers up to the team in the rafts. With all the exhilarating experience, the serenity of the mountains and the cultural attachment to the place, the trip concludes and you take a bus back to the scenic city of Lakeside, Pokhara. Have a chilled beer by the Phewa lake, and take in the beauty of the place