Gambia Bird Watching & Wildlife Tours
Gambia bird watching tours are offered by Farakunku Lodges, located in a small but growing village just two kilometres from the sea on the unspoilt southern coastline of Gambia. The property was built on scrubland and opened in 2009.
There are four individual lodges featuring very comfortable, spacious rooms, a super king-size bed and indoor seating. The accommodation is set in a large garden with mature trees, flowers and birds, with hammocks and chairs outside each lodge, which makes them very private. Each lodge has hot showers and ceiling fans, as well as modern sanitation and good lighting for the comfort of guests. All of our electricity is 100% solar powered.
Our restaurant serves breakfast and a three-course evening meal at night, as well as a light lunch menu and a Gambian dish of the day. We grow our own salads and herbs on site.
Farakunku includes a plunge pool and a large sun terrace, as well as several shady, thatched areas where you can sit. Our adjoining tree and bird reserve/sanctuary is just a few steps away. A short nature trail tells you all about the medicinal and mythical properties of more than 60 native trees. Three bird hides and a bird pool are found in this sanctuary and a short break here will yield 30 or more species of birds.
On non-birding days in The Gambia, your hosts Moses and Heather can arrange river and sea fishing excursions, as well as other car trips to markets, places of interest or nearby beaches and villages. Our loyal staff all come from the local area. In the last few years, we have added an arts and crafts studio and gallery to our grounds next door, with a variety of workshops available to guests.
Mass, as he is known, has been one of our guides for more than eight years. He has boundless knowledge, energy and enthusiasm and is very popular especially with listers and photographers. He has been an independent guide for 24 years and is the social secretary of The Gambia Bird Watchers Association. His talent to flush out birds by imitating their calls has amazed our guests, even those who are very experienced, well-traveled birders.
Abdoulie – known as Lie – is our youngest guide. After completing full school education, he trained initially as an electronics engineer, but having always been interested in wildlife, he underwent a complete career change and completed a two-year bird guiding training course run by Abuko Nature Reserve, where he was mentored by experienced guides. He proudly qualified in 2019 and has since worked exclusively for Farakunku Lodges. He has been praised by guests for his knowledge and birding skills, as well as his patience, enthusiasm and friendliness.
Lamin K Njie
Lamin trained for six years from 2000 under the Department of Park and Wildlife Management, being registered as a member of the Gambia Bird Watchers Association in 2008. He worked as a professional tour guide leading birding groups from the UK, Europe, America and Asia, before becoming a freelance independent bird guide in 2014, based at Kotu Bridge, a famous birdwatching hotspot in the Gambia. He has worked for Farakunku Lodges since then.
Farakunku Lodges is registered with the Gambia Tourist Board (GTB). Our Gambian Business Registration number is 0911158742.
In March 2012, we purchased an area of scrubland just a 300m walk along a track from our lodges. It stood between us and a stretch of land, half a mile away, destined for development. It contained several rare indigenous trees, some of which were already threatened with extinction due to their use as firewood. As a buffer zone between the lodges’ already lush bird habitat, we enclosed the land and created a nature trail with three bird hides and a pool.
We purchased additional saplings from the Government-run Tree Nursery and invited a specialist from Abuko Forest Reserve to conduct an inventory of everything in our sanctuary. We made signs with information about each tree’s medicinal and traditional properties. By 2018, as the trees matured, our private tree sanctuary began to attract a greater variety of bird species, and now, years on, it provides a shady, cool and peaceful spot for guests to enjoy this newly created environment.
In response to the climate crisis and as a former primary school teacher, I am currently co-writing a children’s book with an illustrator friend to tell a story about the value of trees in the environment. The book will be published and distributed to Gambian primary schools. Moses has purchased additional scrubland a few kilometres away and established an orange farm with beehives to keep the land green and productive for the benefit of the community.
2012 2018 and now even greener and shadier
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