Dandeli, river rafting

Punith Salian
4 min readJul 26, 2020


When I hear Dandeli, this is what that runs in my mind rafting, river Kali and the Sugarcane fields.

River Kali flows through Uttara Kannada district in Karnataka, India. The river is the lifeline to around 4 lakh people and supports the livelihood of thousands including fishermen on the coast of Karwar. The river flows eastwards and joins the Arabian Sea near Karwar.

River Kali

The river passes by Dandeli along its journey through the western ghats and gains momentum in the region. There are rapids created along the trail. This makes the perfect spot for rafting activities. Dandeli is known for white water rafting on the river Kali.

This was my third rafting experience after the white rafting in Coorg and Rishikesh. The rafting stretch here is around 12 Kms. One can prefer to go long rafting (12 Kms), mid (5.5 Kms) or short (1.5 Kms).

Rafting is an outdoor activity which uses an inflatable raft to navigate a river. There are different degrees of rough water associated with rafting. Dealing with risk and the need for teamwork is often a part of the rafting experience.

Long rafting needs permission and only government agencies and the selected private agencies are given permission to conduct it. Whereas the mid and the short rafting is conducted by most of the resorts as a part of their stay package. The real fun is the long rafting and I would recommend doing it. There are morning and afternoon slots available for the long rafting.

Image by ecowa from Pixabay

Now coming back to the rapids, it can be classified into 6 levels. Dandeli has up to Level-3 of rapids after the onset of the monsoons. During monsoons, it is closed for rafting.

Levels of Rapid

As far as I remember, we had gone for rafting in the afternoon's slot. We could see a lot of rafting boats all along the river. The waters were cold and it was calm at the starting point near Ganeshgudi. As we moved along it gained pace and there were curves and passages. At one point, our rafting guide told us he would do surfing for us and everyone puzzled! Surfing on the river!

At one of the rapid point, the raft direction was reversed and we headed in the direction opposite to the flow of the river. There was a sweet spot where the downward force of the river matched the upward force of our rowing. The raft stood as if it was at rest and all the water gushing through us. This was a fun part and we did this almost 4 to 5 times.

There are a lot of resorts lined up along the banks of the river. Most of them carry out short rafting and other water sports. Apart from these, many outdoor activities and campings are also conducted by these resorts. If one wishes to do the long rafting the resorts would arrange based on the requests. They also provide transport facilities which will be charged extra.

The calm waters in the initial part of the rafting

To reach Dandeli through public transport, one may take a bus from Dharwad if going from the South of Dandeli. The nearest railway station is located in Alnavar. There are Autorickshaws available from there to reach Dandeli. One has to be very cautious while dealing with the drivers here as they charge heavily.

There is a lot of sugarcane plantation around Dandeli and there is a paper factory as well. The resort we stayed was close to the river and covered by the sugarcane fields on the three sides and the river on the other.

Dandeli is mainly known for its white river rafting and if you are planning to do some rafting this is definitely a place to visit. Generally, post-monsoon is a good time to visit as the river will be filled with water and flows with force.


Travid Adventures, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQG98WQCXmcwkCYwgtWC5Zw

Kali river by PP Yoonus, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kali_River_620.JPG

Cover Image by Abhishek Baadkar from Pixabay

Image by Bishnu Sarangi from Pixabay

Image by Vijaya narasimha from Pixabay

Image by ecowa from Pixabay



Punith Salian

Creative, traveller, writer, thinker, aspiring guitarist, electronics geek and to some extent an athlete!