The Gambia
Farakunku Newsletter March 2011
Hello to past and future guests at our lodges. Moses and I are pleased to let our friends know how things are going here. This is our first official newsletter!
This season has been a busy one with many new guests and several repeat guests which has been very rewarding for us…we must be doing things right!
We’ve had a few fun nights with African musicians and dancers here performing in the evening after the meal ….always great to see everyone joining in.
New this season, are some way-marked walks of between 1 and 2 hours for which we have detailed self-guiding notes so that guests can wander off to go bird watching or make their own way to the beach, without getting lost! When we have more time, we hope to mark some more trails ready for you next season.
The Farakunku Bird list is now on our website and is regularly updated…the latest additions came in March from a German  bird guide who ‘found’ some fresh water pools hidden behind the dunes at the local beach. Here were many new sightings, including Pied Avocet, Black Crake, Purple Swamp Hen, African Jacana and Eurasian Curlew.
In response to some very constructive advice from guests, we would like to stress how ideal Farakunku Lodges can be as a base for birders. We have the coastal birds as well as garden birds and bush species, all of which explains the growing number of identified species all seen within walking distance of the Lodges. Currently this list stands at 176! We have regular visits from a flock of Little Bee Eaters each afternoon …they come down to drink from our plunge pool, as does a single Little Egret, as regular as clockwork at 4.30pm! The flowers on the Hibiscus shrubs attract the different varieties of Sunbirds and the drinking bowls are always visited by the little red Fire Finches, Red cheeked-Cordon Bleus and Weavers      
We have an excellent Bird Guide who works exclusively for us now and takes guests to all of the good birding areas: Tanji Bird Reserve, Brufut Woods, Pirang, Abuko Nature Reserve, Lamin Creek, Tujereng Woods, all of which are just a short drive away and can be done as half day trips or by combining 2 destinations for a full day…at very competitive prices and with Moses acting as driver in our comfortable 7-seater 4WD. Marakissa and the bush track at Faraba Banta, are both longer trips but very good for birding…allow a day for each of these.
Colin Cross, a  resident Bird Ringer based in Kartong has regularly given our guests a great morning of bird ringing and guided walks this season at his developing Bird Observation centre and he has a wealth of information to share with you. A morning with him, followed by a pirogue trip on the Allehein River guided by Morgan (a Gambian resident of Kartong) and then a lunch at a riverside lodge is all detailed in our Bird Lovers’Special on our web site.
Our gardens continue to flourish, my crop of tomatoes are now fruiting daily for the restaurant and our chef Lamin is growing all our salad leaves and continues to cook our delicious evening meals with many new recipes added this season.
We have a new day chef …Buba …who cooks the lunch dish and assists Lamin in the evening now.
One of the favourite dishes is Butterfish and many guests have asked what it looks like…well here it is in all its ugliness!
We are going to be busy through to the end of April this year, due to the late Easter and have already begun to take bookings for next season! We hope you may be one of our guests next time and in the meantime we will try to keep you informed of changes and ‘specials’ going on here.
Happy Easter!
Heather and Moses
Farakunku Lodges