Meet Malcolm, a safari expert at Yellow Zebra. He is a professional pilot, and has extensive knowledge of the parks, landscapes, and skies of Namibia and Botswana.
Previously a pilot for Wilderness Safaris, Malcolm’s experience in the travel industry spans over a decade. After four years of flying to some of Botswana’s greatest destinations, Malcolm swapped the watery floodplains of the Okavango Delta for the sandy dunes of the Namib desert. Joining Yellow Zebra in 2021, Malcolm now works as a Southern Africa specialist with a focus on Botswana and Namibia, having stayed in many camps across both countries.
Botswana, Namibia, Victoria Falls.
Recent travel experience
In October 2022, Malcolm went to Zimbabwe on a walking-focused safari in Hwange and Kariba, where he was thrilled to get up close to elephants and lions on foot. He also returned to his former home of Botswana in December 2022, where he checked out the latest lodges in Chobe, Linyanti, and the Okavango Delta, which further deepened his respect for the exceptional and intimate safari experiences on offer in Southern Africa.
Malcolm's most memorable experience
"I have lots of incredible experiences from living and flying in Southern Africa, from doing low passes over runways in Botswana to clear elephants, lions, and wild dogs to soaring over Victoria Falls and the dramatic dunes of the Namib Desert.
Choosing my most memorable experience is tough, but I always love spending time with researchers, and one mission that was particularly memorable was when I helped with the relocation of nine orphaned wild dog puppies from the Kalahari, to be rehomed in the Okavango Delta. We spent the first night sleeping in a tent next to the enclosure that was housing the puppies to protect them from lions before flying them to an airstrip in The Delta the following morning. I got to witness the first four being released with a surrogate wild dog pack, who welcomed them in as if they were family, a heart-warming moment, which galvanised my deep admiration for wild dogs and their incredible social bonds."
Originally hailing from the west coast of Scotland, Malcolm studied Geography at the University of St Andrews before going on to train as a commercial pilot. After some time with a private jet company, in 2011 he packed a tent, printed some CVs, and headed for Botswana in search of work. His commitment was rewarded with a job as pilot for Wilderness Air and also saw him become one of the ‘rookie’ stars of the TV seriesBush Pilots. Malcolm was thrilled at having the privilege to share the pristine environments of the Okavango Delta, the Chobe River, and the Kalahari with his passengers, and he loved that every day was filled with new adventures. Malcolm knew that he had a special job when he realised that it was an unusual day at work for him if he did not see elephants.
After flying in Botswana for four years, a chance meeting resulted in Malcolm being offered the opportunity to fly in the neighbouring country of Namibia. The thought of flying in a land of such dramatic scenery was too good to miss, so Malcolm moved to Windhoek, the capital of Namibia. From there, he would set out into the epic desert, mountain, and coastal landscapes of Sossusvlei, Damaraland, the Skeleton Coast, the Koakoveld and Etosha, often only returning to Windhoek on his days off.
In 2017, Malcolm decided to head closer to home, so he returned to Europe to work for two airlines in the Channel Islands before going on to work for the British Antarctic Survey. However, when the opportunity to join Yellow Zebra came up in Summer 2021, he couldn't resist the temptation to reconnect with Africa and share his love for the continent once more.
When working as a pilot in Africa, Malcolm found it a thrill to be part of his passengers’ safari journey and now, as part of the Yellow Zebra herd, he loves to inspire and create many more exceptional African journeys.
"We have had the opportunity to work with Malcolm and have had a wonderful experience so far. He has been patient with all the questions, bookings. And when our plans changed and my sister in law decided to join us after the fact he did a wonderful job of getting her itinerary to match ours."
Lynn - Botswana, May 2022
"Malcolm was very knowledgeable of our destination, pleasant to work with and accommodating to our changing desires with our trip."
Dan - Botswana and Victoria Falls, April 2022
"We approached Yellow Zebra to help us plan a special anniversary safari in Botswana, encouraged by positive reviews and ratings, and excellent information on their website... Malcolm worked patiently with us through misunderstandings and options, and inspired us with his first-hand experience and knowledge."
"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..."