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Pangolin
Asset 26

Pangolin

Where to see Pangolin in Zambia

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 Zambia

Based on 4 reports by our travellers since Jun 2019, visitors at these camps in Zambia 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 Zambia holidays for pangolin sightings

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


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Perekani Walking Trail

10 days • 5 locations
LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LUSAKA AIRPORT

Five smart but rustic bushcamps are the comfortable staging-posts for this walking safari in South Luangwa. The route offers outstanding seclusion and rich wildlife with top-quality guiding throughout.

US$8,730 - US$10,090 per person

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Scrub Hare Safari

7 days • 3 locations
LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LUSAKA AIRPORT

Camps run by welcoming owners with a passion for their environment are rare, and Tafika is one of the best. Combine this with walking safaris at equally excellent bushcamps for the best South Luangwa offers.

US$5,500 - US$6,270 per person

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Fruit Bat Safari

6 days • 2 locations
LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LUSAKA AIRPORT

Offering a highly specialised experienced, this safari uses two simple bases for access to South Luangwa and Kasanka National Parks. Visit between October and December when you will witness the world’s largest mammalian migration of millions of fruit bats.

US$4,520 - US$4,780 per person

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Hyena Safari

11 days • 4 locations
VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT TO LILONGWE AIRPORT

Mix relaxation and adventure on a safari combining the South Luangwa with Victoria Falls and the beaches of Lake Malawi. These three locations are among the most iconic in southern Africa.

US$6,580 - US$8,420 per person

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Puku Safari

11 days • 3 locations
LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LIVINGSTONE AIRPORT

Discover South Luangwa’s prolific wildlife before exploring the wildly remote pans of Liuwa Plain National Park and relaxing in one of the Livingstone area’s most romantic and exclusive hideaways. A safari of luxury, style and impressive diversity.

US$11,990 - US$15,940 per person

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Duiker Safari

10 days • 3 locations
LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LUSAKA AIRPORT

Three luxurious bush-camps in stunning riverside locations, split between the South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi national parks, offer a wide variety of expert-guided safari activities in stunning game-rich environments.

US$7,670 - US$9,170 per person

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Crawshay's Zebra Safari

10 days • 4 locations
LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LUSAKA AIRPORT

This superb safari combines two of Zambia’s best national parks, the South Luangwa and the Lower Zambezi. The camps are small and high quality with excellent safari guides.

US$8,340 - US$11,530 per person

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Oribi Safari

10 days • 4 locations
LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LUSAKA AIRPORT

This is a great safari for those looking to immerse themselves in true wilderness, with few additional frills yet considerable, authentic comfort. The standard of guiding is consistently impressive and the walking safaris throughout are a real highlight.

US$11,360 - US$11,360 per person

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Hippo Safari

9 days • 4 locations
LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LIVINGSTONE AIRPORT

Combining excellent game with aspects of remoter safari in South Luangwa, as well as the cultural delights of Livingstone, this trip also makes use of long-stay discounts, making it an excellent-value and well-rounded adventure.

US$7,480 - US$8,580 per person

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Giraffe Safari

9 days • 3 locations
LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LUSAKA AIRPORT

A safari to the remotest parts of Zambia’s Luangwa Valley. Perfect for experienced safari goers and first time Africa adventurers. Explore with expert guides whilst staying at small bush camps.

US$7,600 - US$8,480 per person

View all holidays to Zambia

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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