The First Pangolin Sighting in 60 Years of Being on Safari All Over Africa

“This was an incredible sighting. Not only was it the second Pangolin sighting in over 14 and a half years that I have been in the safari industry, but it was the first Pangolin sighting for three generations of guests.” It hasn’t been long since Daniel joined Rhulani’s Ranger Team as a qualified Field Guide, and he is already sharing one of those unique stories the African bush never fails to delight us with.

“It was an afternoon safari, and I had three amazing guests from Johannesburg on my vehicle: a senior lady of 86 years old, her daughter and her grandson. My guests were all birders, very experienced safari people. They have been all over South Africa, and the senior lady was even all over Africa and doing safari all over wherever she could.

“After four safari game drives focusing on just birds, we decided to do the fifth focusing on the bigger things, so we wouldn’t stop for birds at all and go straight to one of my favourite destinations. It was my secret place called “Vlei Pan”, a really beautiful area, very open, which I try to show to my guests at least once during their stay.

“On our way there, we were passing many beautiful animals, and as we were driving, close to Vlei Pan, we saw this animal walking parallel to the road. As we passed it we paused with disbelieve, and suddenly we all shouted: ‘Pangolin!’

We were all speechless at the end and couldn’t stop talking about it!

“It was this most incredible feeling that we had when we stopped the car. We were just completely in disbelief. The Pangolin rolled itself as a defence mechanism. After a while of us getting out the car and talking near it, it got comfortable enough to start walking in front of us, and we got to see it move and take a lot of photos.

“Then the Pangolin stopped and was comfortable enough to keep its head out while we took pictures and videos of this incredible animal.

“I never expected to see a Pangolin so soon after starting work at Rhulani. There were no other guides around. I tried calling them on the safari channel for the southern side, but all were most in the northwestern part of the reserve.

“For the senior lady of 86 years old, she was very emotional. This was her first Pangolin sighting in 60 years of being on safari all over Africa. It was a real milestone for her. She was speechless, so happy.

“When driving back to Rhulani, we had very long moments of silence after the sighting because we were still digesting what we saw.”

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