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Ah…Mahale…Of our five weeks in the bush, it was the best

Ah.... Mahale..... Of our five weeks in the bush, it was the best, but it is difficult to compare with the others because of its uniqueness. Aesthetically, the buildings (and much of the furniture and fitments) are made of old dhows and are exquisite. Cam and Kate were consulate hosts and went above and beyond to make our stay perfect-including setting the entire dining table for the 12 of us on the beach on the final night. Happy hour at the bar on the point was divine.

Butati, our guide, was one of the most caring and lovely people I've ever met, to say nothing of his knowledge and guiding skills. He loves the chimps, that is clear. He also took us through his village, which was a wonderful experience. He is also a very, very funny man, and we spent an inordinate amount of time falling over with laughter.

Chimping was fabulous, though my camera struggled with the light and shadow, and with the focus, because the jungle can be very dense. We had one very easy trek to see them, and one very tough one.

And then there's Big Bird, the tame pelican who, if truth be told, rules the camp. We guests had to fish for him, rescue him from a boat that threatened to cart him to the nearby village--where he would have ended up in the pot, and generally ensure that his life was bliss. He was the most wonderful bird I've met, and I miss him and worry for him. He is too friendly for his own good. Long Live Big Bird!