Maddie is an Operations Executive at Yellow Zebra Safaris.
Maddie joins the Yellow Zebra team intent on working within safaris and Africa. She is both passionate and highly knowledgeable about the genre and the geographic location. She completed a degree in Zoology, where she studied African animals and experienced safaris from the perspective of a customer, and also worked behind the scenes in conservation.
African countries visited
Botswana, Kenya, Madagascar, Seychelles, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Recent travel experience
Maddie's most recent African experience includes visits to Southern Africa in 2022, where she was lucky enough to visit Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Botswana. Visiting Victoria Falls in all its glory was a bucket-list item ticked off, as well as sighting her first cheetah in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe.
Prior to this, Maddie's travel experience seems to orientate towards conservation and volunteering projects. Most recently, in 2019, she joined a conservation project operating in northwest Madagascar. The work involved monitoring endemic species, such as sportive and black lemurs. During her time in Madagascar, she also worked with local projects across multiple islands to help achieve long-term conservation goals.
Maddie's most memorable experience
"I am privileged to have had many amazing wildlife encounters and African experiences, and it is difficult to choose a favourite. However, if pushed, I’d go for working at a white rhino survey in South Africa. A group of us tracked a trio of rhinos on foot, all the while moving with the wind to avoid detection. We came to a standstill in an open area and were observing the rhinos grazing from a distance, but the wind changed and the rhinos, with their incredible sense of smell, were quickly running in our direction. Having been told to ‘never run in the bush’, we simply stood, frozen. Thankfully, our guide used his years of experience and scared them off. Being so close to rhinos was such a unique and memorable experience, even if it was not necessarily intentional! This experience also brought home how fantastic it is to work with such skilled and knowledgeable guides when on safari."
From an early age, Maddie has been passionate about wildlife. Safari experiences in Kenya as a child allowed her to witness interactions between animals, capturing her imagination and eventually inspiring her to pursue a degree in wildlife and conservation.
Maddie’s studies at the University of Reading enabled her to learn about and observe many animal species. Her work included a dissertation thesis on the behaviour of South African predators. Her degree also gave Maddie the opportunity to travel to South Africa to work and run surveys within a small game reserve, taking part in activities such as tracking white rhino on foot, catching shark pups with a handheld dip net at night, tracking African wild dogs, tagging nesting hawksbill turtles, and even learning how to identify species of rhino from its droppings… a useful skill to have when living in the UK!
After university, Maddie headed out to work on a conservation project in the Seychelles. This involved the monitoring and protection of numerous species, including hawksbill turtles, lemon sharks, and Aldabra giant tortoises. She also indulged in a bit of island hopping on her days off, enjoying everything that the islands had to offer.
“My experience with YZ safaris has been an education and a pleasure!...Maddie, the operations person was also helpful in getting arrangements and informing me of required documentation. All in all my experience with YZ has been nothing short of excellent!! My thanks to the YZ Team! "
"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
"Wies Van der Meer was very patient and answered all of our questions"
"Yellow Zebra excels at understanding our needs and proposing a fantastic itinerary. They take the uncertainty and confusion out of planning. They're super nice, easy to work with, and the trip we arranged them to Southern Africa in 2018 was flawless. We've now planned a 2024 trip through Yellow Z..."
"I haved worked with YZ 2 years in the past and am planning another trip for 2024. Emma has been responsible and flexible as needed. She provides good information and advice based on her travel experiences."
"Olivia was great at listening to my specific requests. It truly is a designed for your wants and needs tour.
The follow-up information regarding travel insurance, visas etc was top notch. You feel very prepared for your trip!"
"I have been delighted with the planning process of our Yellow Zebra African Safari in Botswana. Our travel specialist, Wies Van Der Meer, East Africa manager, was enthusiastic, helpful and informative. His vast knowledge of Africa provided valuable information and perspective about the areas bes..."