My accommodation is roughly a fifteen minute drive from the lodge. The main road within the reserve links the two. The people living at this accommodation drive along this road twice, sometimes four times a day.
Sometimes we see things along this road: elephants, rhino and even the odd lion. However, nothing prepared me for what I was going to see on my first day back from leave.
Find out more about the plight of the pangolin as the world’s most poached animal in this Fascinating Africa blog post.
I was driving back reasonably late in the evening when I saw eyes low to the ground on the road. Expecting something like a genet or civet I couldn’t believe what I saw when I approached closer. Scales.
There, walking down the main road, was a pangolin, a fabled creature that resembles a prehistoric dinosaur, something that most people will never see in their life. I had never even seen a track of one.
My excitement got the better of me: I stopped the vehicle and jumped off, getting my friend to hold a light so I could get a picture up close. The pangolin curled up into a protective ball when I approached so I took a picture and went to sit back in the vehicle. It then relaxed and started feeding.
We left it after a short while. I don’t think I have ever been as excited to see an animal before. It was pitch dark so this is the only decent picture I got of it, feeding, from behind.