Rafting on the Alara River

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In Alanya there are many rafting trips on offer. Rafting on the Alara River however is not a trip which is sold ‘on the street’.

The Alara River rises at the famous ‘Flying Water’ Waterfall close to the village of Köprülü. The Rafting starts some kilometres down the river. On the way there, a break is made at the mountain village of Güzelbag and from there the tour continues over dusty paths to the starting point. Here first of all we try on the life-jackets and helmets as safety is a high priority. After that our River Guide gives detailed instructions. Due to the degree of difficulty of the river Wild Water (WW) III – IV we have of course to be attentive. At the start with a slow current, we use our paddles mostly for enthusiastically splashing each other! In the first rapids we have to paddle hard so that the Guide can navigate the raft safely through the rocks!

After rafting for about one hour suddenly we come to a bridge spanning the canyon. I wonder who built it! Our Guide explains to us that this is a Roman bridge part of the route between the coast and the Silk Road. From the boat it is not possible to recognize the remains of these paths but the piers of the bridge are very good platforms for diving or jumping from - three metres up! Soon after this we stop for a barbecue! Now everyone is really hungry!

During the next ‘stage’ all the rafts must be carried over the rocks and thrown five metres down to the water. And the participants? They follow of course!!!
The faint-hearted can climb down and get on board from the bank but most decide for the ‘quick, smooth and refreshing’ method.
Later on we have another break for fruit and once again the stretching of upper arms! The ‘final stage’ is quite calm because the Alara River here has less of a downward gradient. Finally we reach the Alara Fortress on a high rock, the termination point of our tour. The origin of this fortress is unknown but it is said that the leader of the Seljuks, Sultan Aladdin Keykubat, found this castle in 1230 and threw out the owner! In the shelter of the fortress he built a caravanserai which has been restored. But we are no longer motivated to climb up the castle rock, not because we are tired of course (as we are all really fit!), but because we are still overwhelmed by the magnificent beauty of the Alara River. This, together with the great fun on the water, makes the Alara rafting tour one of the most beautiful trips in Alanya!

Martin Bernhart

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