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The Yellow Zebra Story

Welcome to YZ... Find out why it is called Yellow Zebra, and discover what makes us an award-winning, conservation-focused, luxury and adventure travel company.

“Yellow Zebra was set up with the simple aim of building the best safari company possible. We wanted genuine experts working for us, people who cared about Africa, people with the experience to design the very best wildlife and cultural trips across the continent.”

The YZ past: founded in 2012 but inspired by 1957

Founded in 2012 Yellow Zebra Safaris is a multi-award-winning safari company based in London, United Kingdom. Set up by childhood friends Rory Walker and Julian Carter-Manning, Yellow Zebra specialises in luxury and adventure-rich safaris across the entirety of 'Safari Africa'. 

The focus at 'YZ' is on exceptional levels of expertise, equally high levels of customer service, and authentic, conservation-focused safaris. It is an approach that has resulted in our recognition within the industry as a leader in our field and seen us voted as Europe's Leading Safari Company at the World Travel Awards for eight years running.

Our team is made up of professional safari guides, camp managers, and people who were born and raised in Africa. They have lived and breathed safaris whilst working for the best companies in the business. It is ultimately their experience that guarantees our clients the very best safari design.

In 2021, Rory handed the reins to Julian as managing director and left the herd to pursue new ventures.

“We specialise in getting under the skin of a destination, designing trips for our clients that put them into the best places at the right time of year. It's all about incredible guides and incredible game viewing experiences.”

The YZ present: merging with Wilderness

In 2020, Yellow Zebra started talks with southern Africa's Wilderness, a company we've admired for years. We've always shared a similar vision, and have the same beliefs for the future of African conservation as a whole. In early 2021 the merger of our two companies became official. YZ and Wilderness bring together some of the most experienced hands in the business.  

Wilderness owns and manages a collection of intimate safari camps across Africa, with the Wilderness Group comprising incredible ecotourism companies in the countries YZ operates trips. Their camps are quite simply some of the best properties we know, whilst their conservation and non-profit initiatives have helped change the face of safari tourism in southern Africa.

It is a relationship we are really very proud of.

“We have worked with Wilderness for many years and always valued their high levels of service and unfaltering commitment to conserving and protecting Africa's wilderness, wildlife, and communities. Our partnership gives us access to the plethora of resources Wilderness has across Africa, enhancing our ability to create life-changing safaris for our clients.”

The YZ future: focus on conservation and community

Yellow Zebra remains fiercely independent. We design trips using Wilderness camps, as well as other safari camps, simply because we love them. We are 100% committed to designing the best possible trips for our clients, wherever they want to go. Being independent has been key to our success as a company, and we are thrilled to be part of the Wilderness brand family to help grow our positive impact to conservation and community empowerment.

If you would like to speak to one of our experts about planning a safari with Yellow Zebra, please don't hesitate to contact us here. We have our team at hand, ready to answer any questions you might have. 

Welcome to Yellow Zebra; the safari company that stands out from the herd.

Inspiration behind the name 'Yellow Zebra'

Said to have made more impact on wildlife conservation in Africa than any other individual, Dr. Bernhard Grzimek travelled to the Serengeti in 1957 with his son to try and save the great wildebeest migration. Below you'll find a bit of history behind their adventures and why a travel company was named in honour of their achievements.

When a German-made Dornier aircraft landed in the Serengeti over 60 years ago, two courageous men climbed out of the cockpit – Bernhard Grzimek and his 24-year-old son, Michael. Armed with little more than stubborn determination and an honourable quest, this father–son duo carried out work that resulted in the extension of the park boundary, which protects the great wildebeest migration to this day.

Dr. Bernhard Grzimek was Director of the Frankfurt Zoological Society and had become fascinated with Africa’s wildlife during one of his expeditions around the continent. He was convinced that the migration of wildebeest ranged far beyond the established boundaries of the Serengeti National Park. The moving herd, he reckoned, entered into adjacent country, which was neither protected nor individually owned. Grzimek felt an increasing time pressure to solve the mystery of the migratory path in order to protect the natural phenomenon from the encroachment of Tanzania’s spiking population.

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Michael Grzimek marking a zebra yellow for the migration research project, Serengeti N.P., 1958

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The Dornier Do-27 which belonged to Michael Grzimek
Image credit: Karl Kossler, CC BY-SA 3.0

Having touched down in the Serengeti, father and son set about counting and tracking the wildebeest herds. They found it necessary to create markers amongst the herd in order to carry out a scientific count, and discovered that the zebras accompanying the wildebeest were perfectly suited for this. By capturing 50 zebra stallions, painting their hair yellow, and then releasing the herbivores back into the herds, the Grzimek duo were able to observe the movement of these bright yellow zebras from the skies, once they had taken off in their ‘zebra plane’.

And this is how they spent two years establishing the migration routes and providing an invaluable baseline for future research. Many believe Dr. Grzimek had more effect on wildlife conservation in Africa than any other individual.

Rory Walker and Julian Carter Manning co founders of Yellow Zebra Safaris

 Founders: Julian Carter-Manning & Rory Walker

Yellow Zebra team in Dec 2019

The YZ Team, December 2019

Conservation has always been integral to Rory and Julian’s vision, and it has come to form the supporting backbone of the company. From the start, YZ donated to children in need in Southern Africa, guaranteeing that every safari sold would pay for a child’s education for a year. As the company grew, YZ was able to expand on its charity efforts to include anti-poaching teams, wildlife protection, and even community development with charities such as Team Rokka, Project Playground, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, and the One to One Campaign. All YZ clients are welcome to contribute in some way, such as helping with the David Sheldrick ‘YZ elephant herd’. Within the office, all client documents are sent either digitally or using 100% recycled material eco-wallets.

Feeling an affinity with the Grzimek duo, Rory and Julian decided there was no better name for their company than Yellow Zebra Safaris, honouring the slightly peculiar but wonderful work of standing out from the herd at large.

Why Trust Yellow Zebra with your African Safari?

"Yellow Zebra are genuine specialists; they know the African bush like the back of their hand."

Brian Jackman, safari expert for The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, Condé Nast, and the BBC

'Europe's Leading Safari Tour Operator' at the World Travel Awards

8 years in a row, since 2015

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