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Pangolin
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Pangolin

Where to see Pangolin in Tanzania

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 Tanzania

Based on 0 reports by our travellers since Jan 2000, visitors at these camps in Tanzania 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 Tanzania holidays for pangolin sightings

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


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Marabou Stork Fly-in Safari

13 days • 5 locations
KILIMANJARO AIRPORT TO DAR ES SALAAM AIRPORT

Four luxurious camps enable exploration of Tanzania’s north and southern regions. With a range of land and water-based activities available throughout, decidedly comfortable accommodation and applicable long-stay discounts, this adventurous safari is excellent value.

US$13,390 - US$18,440 per person

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Turaco Safari

12 days • 4 locations
DAR ES SALAAM AIRPORT TO DAR ES SALAAM AIRPORT

This top-value holiday idea combines two safari areas with a week on the Indian Ocean island of Zanzibar. Photograph lions and elephants, then relax under the palms on a powder sand beach.

US$4,550 - US$5,030 per person

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Gorillas and Serengeti Safari

11 days • 4 locations
KIGALI AIRPORT TO KILIMANJARO AIRPORT

Combine three iconic experiences – Rwanda’s gorillas, and the Serengeti plains and awe-inspiring Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania.

US$10,920 - US$11,860 per person

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Red Colobus Monkey Safari

11 days • 3 locations
DAR ES SALAAM AIRPORT TO DAR ES SALAAM AIRPORT

A luxurious holiday combining a wildlife safari in Ruaha National Park with a week in Zanzibar, explore Stone Town’s narrow streets and relax on a white sandy beach.

US$5,260 - US$6,510 per person

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Flufftail Guided Safari

10 days • 3 locations
KILIMANJARO AIRPORT TO KILIMANJARO AIRPORT

Stay in three uniquely special camps as you safari across the Ngorongoro Crater and iconic Serengeti Plains with your private guide and 4WD vehicle: a trip of comfort and autonomy, filled with excellent wildlife.

US$11,190 - US$14,720 per person

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Firefinch Drive-Fly Safari

9 days • 3 locations
KILIMANJARO AIRPORT TO KILIMANJARO AIRPORT

Enjoy a combination of privately guided and shared game drives during this good-value exploration of Northern Tanzania. Explore game-dense regions from three comfortable bases where there are a variety of activities on offer.

US$7,790 - US$10,280 per person

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Martial Eagle Fly-in Safari

9 days • 3 locations
NAIROBI AIRPORT TO KILIMANJARO AIRPORT

This stylish fly-in safari visits two of Africa’s most iconic parks, the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya and the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania.

US$10,500 - US$14,310 per person

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Gorillas and migration

9 days • 3 locations
KIGALI AIRPORT TO KILIMANJARO AIRPORT

This luxury safari combines two iconic wildlife experiences, firstly trekking the mountain gorillas in Rwanda, then flying to the northern Serengeti in search of the wildebeest migration and spectacular river crossings.

US$14,770 - US$19,300 per person

View all holidays to Tanzania

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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