The East Falkland isthmus is the gateway to the southern area known as Lafonia, named after the Lafone brothers, traders of the mid-1800s. In the early days of cattle ranching, the brothers set up a salting works at Saladero. Today this government-owned farm is the location of agricultural department trials. Visitors are welcome by advance arrangement and the annual ram show takes place here.
Darwin and neighbouring Goose Green are the two main settlements in the north part of Lafonia. Easily reached from the international airport at Mount Pleasant, this area is a gentle introduction for the wildlife enthusiast. Southern giant petrel, Magellanic oystercatchers, skuas, ruddy-headed geese, kelp geese, upland geese and the Falklands flightless steamer duck are easily seen and occasionally the chiloe widgeon.
For the historian there is much to see, from the carefully reconstructed stone corral at Darwin to the trail of the 1982 war including many British memorials and the Argentine cemetery. Views in all directions are glorious, to the flat plateau of Mount Usborne, the highest point at 705m (2,312 feet) and across the sparkling bays. Accommodation and food are available at both Darwin House and Goose Green café.
Travel south, across the beautiful open plains. White grass is the dominant feature but takes on a stunning array of golden hues throughout the day. North Arm settlement is located in the southern part of Lafonia. It has an excellent little museum, packed with artefacts of Falkland farming and camp life. North Arm Farm offers accommodation for intrepid travellers who wish to get a feel of real Falklands’ life; simple, clean and comfortable.
North Arm and Goose Green are the Falklands’ largest farms. Sheep shearing takes place in summer months and can usually be viewed with the farm manager’s permission. The area is also great for casual fishing; seek advice from the farm manager first.