Giant Pangolin Smutsia gigantea


Giant Pangolin, Smutsia gigantea

I visited central Gabon for a spectacular two weeks in August 2018 focussed on Lope National Park, plus Tsam Tsam lodge and a couple of sites near Libreville.

Black Colobus, Colobus satanas. Lope National Park.

Libreville Area

Akanda National Park

Northern Talapoin, Miopithecus ogouensis. Akanda National Park. Photo Sjef Ollers.

We spent a morning here looking for – and seeing – Northern Talapoins. This might also be a good place for West African Manatees.

Pongara National Park

A day trip to Pongara Point was uneventful. Forest Buffaloes are common and we saw a lone Moustached Monkey.

Marsh Mongoose, Atilax paludinosus. Tsam Tsam.

Lope National Park

Lope Hotel

Red River Hog, Potamochoerus porcus. Lope National Park. Photo Sjef Ollers.

Four nights based at the Lope Hotel produced MandrillMoustached MonkeyPutty nosed monkeyGrey-cheeked MangabeyChimpanzeeLowland Gorilla, Makandé Squirrel GalagoBlue DuikerBay DuikerPeter’s DuikerOgilby’s DuikerYellow-backed DuikerRed River HogBushbuckForest ElephantForest BuffaloLeopardBlotched GenetServaline GenetMarsh MongooseAfrican Palm CivetGreen SquirrelWestern Palm SquirrelStriated Grass MouseLorraine Dormouse, Beecroft’s AnomalureHammer BatFranquet’s Fruit BatPeter’s Dwarf Epauletted Fruit Bat,  Slit-faced Bat species, Benito Roundleaf Bat, and Cyclops Roundleaf BatGreater Cane RatDemidoff’s Galago and Egyptian Rousette.

Makandé Squirrel Galago, Sciurocheirus makandensis. Lope National Park.

Mikongo Research Camp

Cameroon Scaly-tail, Zenkerella insignis. Mikongo.

Four nights at Mikongo Camp generated a spectacular mammal list. Moustached MonkeyGrey-cheeked MangabeyBlack ColobusSun-tailed GuenonCrowned GuenonChimpanzeeMandrillGorilla (heard), Milne-edwards PottoBay DuikerOgilby’s DuikerBlue Duiker,Red River HogWater ChevrotainAfrican Palm Civetotter species (Spotted-necked Otter probably), Giant PangolinLord Derby’s AnomalureDwarf Anomalure (probable), Large-eared Flying MouseCameroon Scaly-tailWestern Palm SquirrelGreen Squirrel, Red-legged Sun SquirrelRope Squirrel species, Giant SquirrelBrush-tailed PorcupineFranquet’s Fruit BatCyclops Roundleaf Batfreetailed bat species (either Mops brachyerus or Mops thersites), slit-faced bat species (from the NycterisArge group), and Walter Verheyen’s Mouse (probable).

Water Chevrotain, Hyemoschus aquaticus. Mikongo.

Tsam Tsam

Red-capped Mangabey, Cercocebus torquatus. Tsam Tsam.

We spent three nights at the lovely lodge with very good food. We saw Green SquirrelLord Derby’s AnomalurePutty-nosed MonkeyCrowned GuenonWestern Lowland GorillaRed-capped Mangabey, Demidoff’s Galago (probable), Blotched GenetMarsh MongooseHammer BatEgyptian Rousettus, unidentifiable roundleaf and slit-faced bats, HipposSitatungaGiant Pangolin, and (probable) Soft-furred Mice (Praomys misonnei or P. petteri) and either Allen’s or  Walter Verheyen’s Wood Mice.

Giant Pangolin, Smutsia gigantea. Tsam Tsam.

Community Reports

The World’s Best Mammalwatching

Gabon is off the hook. Unlike so much of the region, most of Gabon’s forest remain intact. With nearly all the Gabonese living in cities the bush is still home to a lot of wildlife. Lope and Mikongo National Parks are two of the best mammalwatching destinations in Africa. See my 2018 trip report for a mouthwatering list of species including Mandrills, Giant Pangolin and Water Chevrotain. Travel around with Vianet Mahindou: he is one of the best guides I’ve ever travelled with. See more of the World’s Best Mammalwatching.

Gabon, 2023: Royle Safaris, 2 x 2 week trips & 36 species including Northern Talapoin, Black Colobus and Yellow-backed Duiker.

Gabon, 2022: Royle Safaris, 2 weeks & about 40 species including Long-nosed Mongoose, Black Colobus, Fire-footed Rope Squirrel and Yellow-backed Duiker.

Gabon, June 2022:Royle Safaris, 2 weeks & 30+ species including MandrillNorthern Talapoin and Spot-necked Otter.

Gabon, July 2022Royle Safaris, 2 weeks & about 40 species including Black-footed MongooseWhite-legged Duiker and West African Manatee.

Lope, 2022: Justin Brown, a 2 week adventure in search of Giant Pangolins.

Gabon, 2019: Royle Safaris,  10 days & 45 species including Servaline Genet, Golden Angwatibo and Northern Talapoin.

Gabon, 2019: Fona Reid, 2 weeks & 52 species including Sun-tailed MonkeyYellow-backed DuikerLong-eared Flying Mouse and Golden Cat. And here’s Keith Millar’s bird list too.

Gabon, 2018: Jon Hall, 2 weeks & 58 species including Mandrill, Black Colobus, Western Palm Squirrel, Red River Hog, 5 species of duiker, Cameroon Scalytail, Large-eared Flying Mouse and Giant Pangolins.

Lope and Mikongo, 2018: Michel Gervais, 2 weeks & a some nice species including Black Colobus and Chimpanzees.

Gabon, 2017: Mogens Trolle, 2 weeks & 21 species including Mandrill, Lowland Gorilla, Chimpanzee, Grey-cheeked Mangabey, Congo Clawless Otter and Red River Hog.

The Congos, Cameroon and Gabon, 2009: Vladimir Dinets account of a week in each country. Species include: in Congo-Brazzaville – Black-legged Mongoose, Red-fronted Duiker; in Gabon – Northern Talapoin, Black Colobus, Red River Hog, White-collared Mongoose, Mandrill, and Cameroon – Drill, African Manatee and a swag of rodents, shrews and bats everywhere.

Don Roberson’s trip reports for trips to Kenya, Gabon, Uganda and South-West Africa (South Africa, Namibia and the Okavango).

Gabon, 2004: Richard Webb, 2 weeks & 25 mammals (including Gorilla, Chimpanzee and Red River Hog).

Also See

Daan Drukker’s excellent Field Guide to West African Squirrels and Anomalures, with downloadable sound recordings, March 2023

West African Manatees at Tsam Tsam (video) February 2021

Golden Cats (see the comments below the post) May 2013

RFI Gabon awww.nd Sierra Leonne (May 2012).

Leave a Reply