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Pangolin
Asset 26

Pangolin

Where to see Pangolin in Botswana

Pangolins are among Africa’s most extraordinary safari sightings, appearing more pine cone than animal in their unique armoury of scales. These nocturnal, ant-eating oddities are highly elusive and, today, increasingly rare.


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Quick facts about Pangolin

Scientific name: Smutsia temminkii Habitat: Savannah woodland
IUCN status: Vulnerable Adult weight: 5–27kg

Pangolins are the only mammals with scales. These overlapping plates of keratin encase the animal’s upperparts to form a protective armour – impregnable when it rolls into a defensive ball. This species is one of four in Africa and the only one found in the east and south.

It feeds on ants and termites, holing up in a burrow by day and foraging by night. Long claws dig out its prey, which it laps up with a long, sticky tongue and – being toothless – crushes in its muscular stomach.

A pangolin walks largely on its hind-legs, extending its long tail as a counter-balance. The newborn baby rides on the base of its mother tail for its first few weeks.


15cm

Length of newborn baby

40cm

Length of tongue

20%

Scales as proportion of body weight

8

Pangolin species worldwide

The top camps for seeing pangolin in Botswana

Based on 6 reports by our travellers since Jun 2018, visitors at these camps in Botswana have the best chances of sighting pangolin.


Best chances to see

Good chances to see

Some sightings

No sightings yet

Top 10 camps for pangolin

% of travellers who saw pangolin

Top 10 camps for pangolin

% of travellers who saw pangolin

Where to see pangolins in Africa

Pangolins are widespread but scarce. Sightings are highly unpredictable and remain a safari holy grail, even for experienced guides. Today, one or two locations in South Africa offer visitors slightly higher chances.


Top tips for viewing pangolins

To see a pangolin, you must head out on a night drive with fingers tightly crossed. Many reserves record occasional sightings, including the Okavango and Central Kalahari (Botswana), Luangwa Valley (Zambia), Hwange (Zimbabwe), Serengeti (Tanzania) and Kruger (South Africa), but, realistically, your chances are slim.

The odds are higher in a handful of reserves in South Africa’s Northern Cape and Karoo, notably Tswalu Kalahari and Samara, where pangolins are more active by day during winter. When approached, a pangolin may roll into a ball rather than retreat. Look, but don’t touch: its scything scales can inflict serious injuries on fingers.

Today all pangolins are of high conservation concern, the lucrative eastern market for their scales making them the world’s most illegally trafficked mammals.

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Our best Botswana holidays for pangolin sightings

Based on our travellers' reports, these ideas for Botswana safaris are likely to give the best pangolin sightings


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Ground Squirrel Safari

7 days • 2 locations
MAUN AIRPORT TO MAUN AIRPORT

Experiencing the wilderness with an engaging guide whilst staying in a private mobile camp is often the highlight of a safari. Combine that with a charming camp overlooking the Okavango Delta and you’re onto a winner!

US$5,370 - US$7,300 per person

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Pygmy Mouse Self-drive Safari

18 days • 10 locations
WINDHOEK AIRPORT TO VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT

A truly epic southern African self-drive safari adventure from Namibia’s mountains and deserts, along the lush Caprivi Strip to Botswana and Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe staying at luxury lodges throughout.

US$4,790 - US$6,650 per person

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Spring Hare Safari

9 days • 3 locations
KASANE AIRPORT TO MAUN AIRPORT

An authentic and diverse safari to Botswana combining the Chobe Forest Reserve, Savuti Marshes and the Okavango Delta. Strong wildlife viewing, a variety of activities and excellent value camps.

US$5,850 - US$9,770 per person

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Pangolin safari

8 days • 3 locations
MAUN AIRPORT TO MAUN AIRPORT

Three relaxed, local feeling camps in pristine settings – the Kwando Reserve and Okavango Delta. Guided by a driver and tracker at each, this a great trip for spotting Botswana’s top predators.

US$6,200 - US$11,040 per person

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Wild Dog Safari

13 days • 5 locations
KASANE AIRPORT TO MAUN AIRPORT

An in-depth discovery of northern Botswana’s wilderness, from Chobe and the private Kwando Reserve to the Moremi and iconic Okavango Delta with a great variety of activities and wildlife.

US$9,180 - US$15,600 per person

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Leopard Safari

13 days • 4 locations
VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT TO CAPE TOWN AIRPORT

Victoria Falls, Botswana and Cape Town – a classic southern African itinerary combining luxury, wilderness, safari and culture. We can't think of a better way to spend two weeks.

US$8,050 - US$11,010 per person

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Rock Hare Self-drive Safari

20 days • 12 locations
WINDHOEK AIRPORT TO VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT

An in-depth look to Namibia including from the Namib Desert to Victoria Falls and everything in between. This three-week self-drive adventure includes unrivalled mix of environments and great value.

US$4,630 - US$5,920 per person

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Aardwolf Safari

5 days • 2 locations
MAUN AIRPORT TO MAUN AIRPORT

Two sister-camps within private concessions bordering Moremi Game Reserve offer access to excellent game, varied landscapes and a range of land and water-based safari activities. A great-value safari in one of Botswana’s best wildlife regions.

US$4,260 - US$7,000 per person

View all holidays to Botswana

More information about pangolin in our other destinations

Click here for detailed information about pangolin in other countries, including the places for sighting pangolin.


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