Sarah Gold

2 of 9

David’s
dressed traditionally—draped in a bright-red shuka, with beaded cuffs
encircling his slender wrists—and speaks in elegantly enunciated English.
Pausing for a moment from his job of setting the long communal table, he
gestures at the chirping swallows that dart above our heads among the ceiling
beams.

“Birds
eat mosquitoes, too. Do you like birds?” he asks. He leads me to the edge of
the dining terrace and spends the next several minutes pointing out some of the
species fluttering in the nearby treetops: a needle-nosed, iridescent green malachite
sunbird; a speckled mousebird with a tail as long as my forearm; a band of
electric-yellow masked weavers—which, David says, knit their delicate,
straw-globe nests on the frailest tree branches, so predators won’t be able to
reach them.

Heading
back to his plates and silverware, David glances at me over one blade-thin
shoulder. “At night there is a genet cat that sometimes comes to the rooms,” he
says. “He may walk right past your bed. And vervet monkeys—they like to steal
soap from the bathroom.”

My eyes
widen, and a bemused expression crosses his face.

“Yes, we
are very close to the animals here,” he says. “Isn’t that why you have come?”

Redefining the Luxury Safari Lodge

David’s
dressed traditionally—draped in a bright-red shuka, with beaded cuffs
encircling his slender wrists—and speaks in elegantly enunciated English.
Pausing for a moment from his job of setting the long communal table, he
gestures at the chirping swallows that dart above our heads among the ceiling
beams.

“Birds
eat mosquitoes, too. Do you like birds?” he asks. He leads me to the edge of
the dining terrace and spends the next several minutes pointing out some of the
species fluttering in the nearby treetops: a needle-nosed, iridescent green malachite
sunbird; a speckled mousebird with a tail as long as my forearm; a band of
electric-yellow masked weavers—which, David says, knit their delicate,
straw-globe nests on the frailest tree branches, so predators won’t be able to
reach them.

Heading
back to his plates and silverware, David glances at me over one blade-thin
shoulder. “At night there is a genet cat that sometimes comes to the rooms,” he
says. “He may walk right past your bed. And vervet monkeys—they like to steal
soap from the bathroom.”

My eyes
widen, and a bemused expression crosses his face.

“Yes, we
are very close to the animals here,” he says. “Isn’t that why you have come?”

Sarah Gold

Redefining the Luxury Safari Lodge

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