Been there, dun(g) that!

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Carol Lazar

It’s not every day you come nose to nose with an ietermagog or pangolin. I’ve always loved the Afrikaans word for the scaly ant-eater

Here’s an interesting thing. When you are nose to nose with a pangolin, you will observe that despite being covered with armoured scales, its nose is soft, furry, and very cute indeed.

It was in Botswana on a Kwando Safari that a pangolin and I met nose to nose. I was down on my knees to observe what the flurry in the bush might be – a bird, a snake? But no, it was the ietermagog. What a happy surprise!

Picking up a pangolin

Our ranger then picked up the creature that curled itself into an impenetrable ball and I realised how fortunate I had been to catch it momentarily unaware.

Many of my strangest experiences have been in the bush. I once tracked a dung beetle for two hours as it made its way into the veld, steadily rolling its dung ball containing wife and babies  along. Naturally, I was on my knees, derriere up and nose down at ground level, engrossed as the beetle began digging a hole into the soft earth.

I was in dung-beetle heaven when suddenly, I heard shouting: “Lowen! Lowen! Die runde braune sache. Es bewog sich.” (Lion! Lion! The round brown thing moved).

Peereing through the bushes, I observed a group of German tourists on a vehicle. Each gripped a pair of binoculars. Very slowly, I sank my rear downwards and lay flat for half an hour as they patiently waited for “the lion” aka my large backside, to reappear. Eventually, they drove away beaming with satisfaction that they’d spotted a lion, albeit briefly. I, on the other hand, beamed with satisfaction at having spotted a dung beetle.

Carol Lazar
South Africa’s best known veteran travel writer Carol Lazar has crossed the Andes on a yak, climbed Kilimanjaro with a toothache, sailed in the Queen Mary 2, eaten pickled penis in Tunisia, and been lost on more transport systems than you can count. She’s had tea with Prince Philip at Buckingham Palace, dinner with Prince Charles at Powys Castle and coffee with Al Gore in Miami. She’s shared a camel in the Sahara with Naseem Abdul of Tunis and a bicycle with Boris Binkel in Vienna. Now based at at the southernmost tip of the USA, she is unique; a turquoise true blue transplanted African Key West granny, the only one …