Manavgat River flows 90 km from the eastern slopes of the western Toros (Taurus) mountains, passes over hard conglomerated strata, forms the Manavgat Falls and then enters the coastal plain to empty into the Mediterranean Sea.
In the spring, the waters of the Manavgat run full and clear, augmented by underground springs in the canyons it passes through, until the river's force is interrupted by the Oymapinar Dam. The upper reaches of the Manavgat can be reached by taking the Manavgat-Alanya highway to the east and turning north towards Akseki 10 km after passing the town of Manavgat. Four kms before Akseki, turn off towards Ibradi to reach the Sahap bridge, the starting point for river sports.
Among the many caves in the area, the most interesting is the Altinbesik cave discovered by geologist Dr. Temucin Aygen. Annual explorations have extended the known part of this cave to 2,200 m. The cave contains fascinating lakes, stalactites and stalagmites.
The area is excellent for mountain biking, trekking and cliff parachuting in the vicinity of Irbadi and Ormana. The area also hosts a large population of wild goat, wild boar, rabbit, red legged partridge and many other birds.
The selection of a starting point in Manavgat River is determined by the level and velocity of the water. Under favorable conditions, the start can be made near Sahap bridge in the vicinity of Ibradi.
River sports on the Manavgat are dangerous for novices. Groups should be accompanied by professionals and a local guide.
The best place for rafting and canoeing on the Manavgat is the 19 km stretch between Sahap bridge and the village of Sevinc, where the river cuts steep, sometimes impenetrable gorges through the canyons.
The river flows swiftly through the first canyon situated between Sahap bridge and Altinbesik cave, augmented by an underground spring 500 m before the canyon. Padelling here is a memorable adventure. Those who do not wish to enter the second canyon may disembark near Altinbesik cave. From there, a path leads to the village of Ürünlü in the west and to Mentesbey in the east.
The second canyon is accessible from Altinbesik Cave. Banked by impregnable cliffs, this canyon stretches to the village of Sinanhoca. At the end of the canyon, the riverbed widens, providing a rest area and disembarkation point.
The falls prior to Sinanhoca, located towards the end of the second canyon, are very dangerous. The waters flow underneath and on both sides of a huge boulder. This part must be portaged.
The third canyon begins after Sinanhoca, the river passes through several falls before it exists the canyon near Sevinc, completing your trip down the Manavgat.
This course runs through three canyons and involves passing through smaller and bigger class 3-4-5 waterfalls. As soon as the sound of the falls is heard, the group must stop ashore to determine the best passage. When passage is impossible, canoes should be carried on shore or guided by rope, resuming the course after skipping the dangerous part.
The river slows down between the falls, providing an opportunity to admire the natural grandeur of the area. When traveling through the canyons, there are moments when it is impossible to see the sun even at noon. During breaks, the beauty of the untouched environment and the gurgle of bubbling underground springs are unforgettable.
If the water level is too low for canoeing in the vicinity of Sahap bridge, gear can be carried to the area around Altinbesik cave via Ürünlü, and the course resumed from there.
WHAT TO SEE
In addition to river sports, the environs of the Manavgat river provide ample opportunities for other sports such as mountain biking, cliff parachuting, and trekking.
The old-style houses of Ibradi attract the attention of tourists who come to the area by jeep to eat speckled trout. Renowned for white and black grapes, the cool air of Ibradi refreshes those exhausted from the heat of the coastal plain.
Altinbesik Cave, located in the vicinity of Ürünlü in the Toros (Taurus) mountains, 9 km from Ibradi, is frequently visited by speleologists.
Another popular tourist attraction is Manavgat Falls on the road to Oymapinar Dam, 5 km from the town of Manavgat, one of Turkey's most famous waterfalls.
Alarahan, a well-preserved 13th century Seljuk caravanserai built by Alaaddin Kaykubad on the bank of Alara creek, is situated to the east of Manavgat. A little further on, the ruins of the Alara fortress crown the peak.
The classical city of Side, one of the oldest and largest of the Greco-Roman cities in the region, includes an amphitheater, arched galleries and baths as well as temples dedicated to Athena and Apollon.
The ruins of Seleucia, north of Manavgat, contains baths, a two-story agora on the slope of the acropolis, a market, small temple and necropolis.
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