Ivan Glaser

Camera: Nikon Z9

Lens: Nikon 180-400mm f/4

Aperture: f/4

Shutter speed: 1/400s

ISO: 6400

Description: A once in a lifetime sighting (and photograph) of an Aardvark

Story from behind the lens: My guide and friend, Dominique (Dom) Naurori from the Oltepesi Safari Camp, and I set out early from camp. It was still quite dark when Dom very excitedly shouted "Aardvark...Two of them....Quickly grab your camera!!" Aardvark are of course both nocturnal and extremely shy. In my 50 years of visiting game parks in Africa, I had never seen one let alone had the opportunity to photograph one. Before we could even stop the car, and well before I had even picked up my camera, my heart sunk as I saw one of the Aardvark disappear into the bush. It was gone. But the other Aardvark, a young one we believe, carried on his business as if he hadn't even noticed us. He slowly walked in a zig zag fashion in search of termite mounds. Expecting him to disappear any second and despite the poor light, I of course I was excitedly firing away taking as many pictures as I could of this very rare sighting. Ten minutes went by and the light was starting to improve quickly. Dom suggested that we try and get something really unique. An image with an Aardvark that has some compositional elements. He pointed out a termite mound about 50m away that had a desert date tree behind it. He suggested we go and park there and hope that the Aardvark made its way over. It did, and that is when I got this shot. I just couldn't believe my luck! The Aardvark hung around for at least 20 minutes in all, completely unperturbed by our presence. He even crossed the road in front of our vehicle before calmly and slowly disappearing into the bush. It was certainly a once in a lifetime sighting. Maybe even once in 10 lifetimes!