When first sun shows up in the spring time, all kayakers start to look which destinations are good hit. Since Corse or Portugal is not always friend with river gods, decision has been made to give it a try in Southern Turkey in Antalya region. Flight tickets were pretty cheap and 8 days on the water should be just enough to fulfill our paddling desire.
I was bit worried about flying with 7 boats, but Turkish airlines had no problem to fit them all, so after few hours and one transit we found ourselves in Antalya. Antalya region is well-known for its sandy beaches and good stable hot weather. Even knowing this ahead we were bit shocked by endless 4-5 stars hotels next to road to the first river.
Our goal was to head for Alara river which is supposed to always have good water level. Regarding DKV and some other info we had chosen upper section of easy class III-IV just to get us paddling. Water level seems to be lower side of good but scenery was just epic. Taurus Mountains raised up few kilometers from coast and they are really gorgeous. After this first section of river, we camped next to the section which is called “Kaiserklamm” gorge. Even though flight didn’t go without drinking, this evening was just hard to describe (we ended up with nothing left but one pretty expensive bottle of Raki, which taste like liquorice). Next day was Sunday so we took it a bit slow and easy and paddled twice this “Kaiseklamm” gorge which is super fun with our low water level but I bet it can be pretty scary when water rises up. Since we were done with this section quite fast we headed up higher to the mountains to check out upper gorge which was supposed to be about 8km of class V. However driving took a bit longer than we expected and also this gorge look quite committing and we had almost no beta about it. So we called it off and decided to paddle section below “Kaiserklamm” next day. It was supposed to be 38 km of class III – VI (ended up being class III – IV+). This section was fun with some bigger rapids, but nothing crucial with our lower water level. It all went well and after 5 hours we found ourselves next to camel sitting next to our car.
Next goal was to go as far east as possible to check out Ermenek river. Ermenek was supposed to best one this region has to offer. After quite a bit of drive we ended up next to huge dam which took lower part of river. We have decided to drive to upper section, but we found another dam with even one more in the middle. Ermenek river was gone. We continued back west for river Dim. After some epic night off-road driving we ended up next to the river. However next morning found us again quite sad, since we saw dam in lower section and upper section didn’t have enough water. So we call it done and move quickly to Manavgat river.
text by Matej Holub
Photo`s: David "Vory" Sodomka