Farakunku Lodges
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Birdwatching Gambia Tour

4.83based on 1 review
Gambia 8 Days
Starting From GBP 1,200 / per person

Gambia Butterflies and Birds Tour

4.89based on 3 reviews
Gambia 14 Days
Starting From GBP 1,732 / per person

Bird Watching Gambia & Tendaba Camp Tour

4.92based on 2 reviews
Gambia 14 Days
Starting From GBP 2,212 / per person
Agama lizard
Pictured, is the male in his breeding colours, which start to show up just before the rainy season and last all summer, while the female develops a bright orange patch where each limb meets the body. Most of the time, they are speckled brown and not as impressive. There are many agama lizards, both male, and female, in our grounds. Their normal prey includes ants and other small insects. When staying in one position, they bob up and down in a way that looks as though they are doing press-ups.
West African Crocodiles
Easily observed at Kachikally Pool in Bakau and at Cape Point's Calypso's Pool, both of which draw tourists. Crocodiles are frequently spotted in the wild along the banks of the River Gambia, particularly around Tendaba.
Yellow Crowned Gonolek
A striking black and crimson bushshrike with a yellow crown. Fairly common resident in forest interiors, feeding on small insects. It has only one mate in its lifetime and has a distinctive, repetitive fluting call that aids birders, as Gonoleks are frequently difficult to see in the woods, despite their vibrant plumage. Our water bowls and bird pool entice them to ground level for easier photography.
Citrus Swallowtail Butterfly
Common in our grounds due to the abundance and variety of blooms, particularly from December to May following the rainy season.
Malachite Kingfisher
A very small river bird widely distributed south of the Sahara and around 13 cm in length. It is a resident species and commonly seen in reeds and aquatic vegetation near slow-moving water and ponds. It has bright metallic blue upperparts and an orange/yellow breast. It has rapid flight and usually flies low over the water in a quick flash of blue. It has regular perches from where it drops down suddenly, with a splash, to feed on small fish, aquatic insects, and crustaceans.
Bruce’s Green Pigeon
Also known as the Yellow-bellied Fruit pigeon. This is a bird species that specialise in eating the fruits of a single species of the fig tree (ficus platphylla). Despite its name, this pigeon is not green, but grey with a yellow breast. Its flight is fast and direct. Found in a variety of savannah and woodland habitats
West African Nile Monitor Lizard
Native to forests, adjacent savannah, and river banks. Large examples of this species can easily be seen in the grounds of the Senegambia Hotel in the tourist region, further north from Farakunku. They can live for up to 30 years and grow to more than a metre in length. They are carnivorous, feeding on insects, crabs, snakes, frogs, fish, birds’ eggs, and rodents. They can move quickly and powerfully in pursuit of prey with a top speed of 28mph.
African Scops Owl
A small and compact grey/brown owl about 20cm in length. Endemic to sub-Saharan Africa. It occupies moist woodland and perches upright during the day, well camouflaged with bark-like markings. They hunt at night from an open perch and feed on large insects, small birds, rodents, frogs, and lizards. Heard at night, they have a unique repetitive call, making it easier for birders to locate with head torches.
Western Red Colobus Monkey
A herbivore species found in West African forests, usually in large groups of 20+ although they split into smaller groups when foraging. They eat fresh, young leaves, flowers, and unripe fruit. The red colobus is now an endangered species due to uncontrolled deforestation.
African Golden Oriole
Note the black-edged wing and the little black mask around the eye. The yellow of the male is more striking than the female. As a resident breeder in Sub-Saharan Africa, it is found in dense bush and well-wooded areas. It builds a hanging basket-shaped nest in a tree with up to 2 eggs and eats insects and fruit, especially figs. The species spend much of the time in the tree canopies and are shy birds with a beautiful fluting song as well as a screeching call, similar to that of a Jay.

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.

     conservation 2012          conservation 2018

       2012                                                                       2018 and now even greener and shadier

  • Great Time and Trips
    Gambia Butterflies and Birds Tour
    Mike L1 Jan 2019
    4.83
    Tours
    Wildlife
    Guides
    Conservation
    Location
    Value
    My husband and I had a great time in The Gambia. We spent most of our time at Farakunku Lodges. The lodges are beautiful and have a large, very comfortable bed and a small space for storage that can be locked separately. Our 14-night stay at the hotel was very good. The food was well-prepared with fresh ingredients and interesting menus for the evening meal, which were different each time we went out to dinner. We spent a lot of time relaxing in the garden and in a small area about 50 metres away. We looked at the plants, trees, and birds there. Everything was well-planned, from the transfers to the airport to the birding trips. There were a lot of people who were very nice and did a good job. Our bird guide had a lot of experience with the places and birds, and we felt very safe with all the drivers on the trip. When Heather and Moses planned the whole trip, they made sure that we had a lot of fun and were able to relax at the same time. During our trip, the other people we met were also very friendly. Even though the Lodges are mostly used by birders, they are also good for people who don't like birds because there are a lot of other things to do. We can't say enough good things about Farakunku Lodges.
  • Brilliant High Rating Lodges and Great Trip
    Gambia Butterflies and Birds Tour
    Heather B1 Jan 2020
    5
    Tours
    Wildlife
    Guides
    Conservation
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    Value
    Farakunku Lodges are as brilliant as the high ratings say, so I'll simply add that, besides the bird watching, there's other possibilities too. Heather & Moses organised the boat trips, market outing, butterfly watching, walking & cycling, including all the travelling. It was always with local guides, who cheerfully answered our endless questions about the Gambian way of life, difficulties & joys. There were many other activities that we could have done but they'll have to be on our next visit. Thank you Heather & Moses for your attention to detail & making our holiday so special.
  • nights tour alternate days of birding
    Gambia Butterflies and Birds Tour
    Philp M1 Jan 2022
    4.83
    Tours
    Wildlife
    Guides
    Conservation
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    Value
    In Farakunku, we felt right at home. We were well fed and the staff couldn't have done more for us. We went birdwatching every other day with Serif as our driver and Abdulie as our guide, and we saw lots of birds. Lie was young, knew his birds, was very excited, and was aware of our needs. It is not our goal to see as many birds as possible, so he changed how he did things to make that happen.
  • So much fun
    Bird Watching Gambia & Tendaba Camp Tour
    Jane S1 Jan 2019
    5
    Tours
    Wildlife
    Guides
    Conservation
    Location
    Value
    The people at Farakunku work together to make sure you have a great time. They make sure that everything you need is met. We booked the six-day birding package, and everything went well from start to finish. The next day, we were able to go back to our lodge and relax before having a three-course meal in a small, cosy place with other people who had been there. Heather and Moses also made it possible for us to stay up river at Tendaba. We were happy to know that our other belongings were safe in our lodge at Farakunku. We had so much fun on our trip that we're going back with a friend in January.
  • Smooth Trips
    Bird Watching Gambia & Tendaba Camp Tour
    Jane1 Jan 2020
    4.83
    Tours
    Wildlife
    Guides
    Conservation
    Location
    Value
    As good as the first time we went to Farakunku. Heather and Moses and the rest of the team work together to make sure everyone has a great time and that nothing is too much trouble. Our days were full of great birding opportunities, but because everything ran so smoothly, we were also able to relax. We came back home with some new life ticks and a renewed sense of well-being. Birdwatching with our friend from Farakunku was one of the things we did there. Heather also planned our three-day trip up the river to Tendaba. Massaneh was a great guide, and Bubbacar took us around in a safe way. If you want a well-organized birdwatching trip with a lot of time to relax, I think the Farakunku experience is for you.
  • Great place and experiences
    Birdwatching Gambia Tour
    Dave1 Jan 2019
    4.83
    Tours
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    Value
    Farakunku lodges is now the second time we have been there. The lodges are clean, the staff is friendly, and the food is great. In my case, the trips are great. Lamin was my teacher. As for my wife, she isn't a big fan of birds at all. The place is just so relaxing, and there is an art workshop if you want to give it a go. You can go anywhere you want if you ask. You can see real Africa outside the gates. People are so friendly. If you're going to the Gambia and you decide to stay at the big hotels on the Senegambia strip, you won't get to see the real African country at all. Thanks to Heather and Moses, you have a great place.
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    Operator Review Summary

    4.89 Based on 6 reviews
    Tours
    Wildlife
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    Conservation
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