Tuli Safari Lodge in the Northern Tuli Game Reserve, Botswana, must be one of the only places in Africa that can guarantee excellent sightings of elephant shrews. Elephant shrews are widely dispersed in Africa but are usually shy and very rarely seen.
Over the years, the Tuli elephant shrews have learned to take advantage of the remnants of nibbles left at one of Tuli’s most spectacular sundowner spots atop a rocky sandstone kopje. This learned behaviour seems to be being passed from one generation to another, thus ensuring that sightings of these relatively relaxed elephant shrews continue.
Capturing a great photo of the Tuli elephant shrew requires a mixture of patience, perseverance and photographic know-how. The shrews move so fast as they leap from one rock to another, that Tuli guests often get a picture of bare rock or a little bit of tail if they’re lucky!
The above photo was taken by a regular guest at Tuli Safari Lodge, Nick Hiltermann. His camera was on aperture priority, which with a wide aperture on his 70:200 zoom lens, provided for a short depth of field with everything behind the shrew nicely blurred out. Nick roped in his daughter as his photographic assistant, holding a gold reflector at about 90º to the shrew. The flashgun was bounced off the reflector to soften the flash and warm up the light. This also put a light into the shrew’s eye and created a great shadow. Nick lay down on his tummy for a great elephant shrew’s eye level shot.