Wies (pronounced Veece!) lived and worked in East and Southern Africa for over twenty years. He is a true adventurer, whose first-ever job was working in Tanzania’s Serengeti.
Raised in Kenya and having enjoyed a career as a professional safari guide and Tanzanian safari camp manager, Wies is one of our foremost Africa specialists. He is our leading Uganda and Rwanda expert, whilst his knowledge of Zimbabwe and Kenya is also superb. As he spent 15 years living and working in Tanzania, his knowledge of this country is exceptional.
Botswana, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zanzibar, Zimbabwe.
Recent travel experience
Wies’s father lives in Zanzibar, so every year he tries to return to Tanzania. Aside from this, Wies recently traveled to Zambia, where he explored the authentic lodges and walking camps in the South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi.
Wies' most memorable experience
“Seeing elephants is always special – both the group dynamic within herds and the feeling that they recognise you as an individual once you have been in a specific area for a longer period of time are constantly extraordinary to me. However, one elephant experience in particular stands out. Whilst on a game drive in Katavi National Park I took a calculated risk by driving down to Lake Katavi, a seasonal lake that is absolutely heaving with wild- and birdlife during the rainy season yet is potentially almost devoid of game during the dry months. It was during the drier period that I took my clients there. On coming out of the forest, I saw what in my mind could only be one of the HUGE herds of buffalo that Katavi is famous for. Fortunately I was very pleasantly mistaken – as we got closer and the shapes became more distinctive, I realised we were witnessing something truly spectacular. In front of us, as far as we could see, were congregated elephants in their thousands, something I don’t believe many people have ever seen – and something I doubt I will ever see again.”
Born in the Netherlands, Wies moved to Kenya when he was 7 years old. His family then moved to South Africa before he returned to East Africa, settling down in Tanzania in 2000.
Wies’s first-ever job was working in a tented camp in Tanzania’s Serengeti! During his 15 years within the safari industry, he ran a number of safari camps across Tanzania, obtained his South African ‘FGASA’ level two guiding qualification, and finally became a walking guide in Tanzania’s outstanding Katavi National Park – an accolade many guides dream of achieving.
Due to his good understanding of all the destinations where we operate trips, as well as his sheer level of experience within Tanzania, Wies is a key member of our team. Tapping into his depth of knowledge is something that will really benefit your itinerary, as what he knows goes way beyond the vast majority of safari experts in the industry.
Wies excels when he is asked to put together complicated Tanzanian trips that go beyond the ‘norm’. During his years spent working in Tanzania, he traveled the entire country by road and also by air. Getting off the tourist track is what Wies is most passionate about. His latest passion, however, was fuelled by a YZ trip to Uganda and Rwanda in 2017, when ape met ape!
"From the initial planning stages, we knew that working with Wies was outstanding - from listening to our dreams, putting them into a fantastic itinerary, and helping us at every step of the process. Our trip to Tanzania & then gorilla trekking in Uganda was amazing... Thanks so much Wies for all your help (especially with the Covid changes & visas). It was the trip of our lives."
Joan - Tanzania and Uganda, August 2022
"This was our first time working with Yellow Zebra Safaris and all I can say is WOW what an amazing team!! ... Wies took the time to contact me and find out what we were looking for out of our trip... I've traveled all over the world for many years and this has to be the best trip I have ever taken. I give credit to these great people that helped us for making it happen!"
Ed - Zimbabwe, July 2022
"Perfect. Exceeded my expectations. Amazing customer service. These are all descriptions of my recent safari planned and organized by Yellow Zebra. My Yellow Zebra safari specialist, Wies Van der Meer, prepared a customized safari itinerary that focused on my interests of the geography and wildlife of northern Tanzania."
"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
"We are going on our first safari in June 2024. My wife and I looked at many companies and read countless reviews. Our first contact with Yellow Zebra confirmed we were headed in the right direction. Kelly Connor answered every question and came up with some fantastic options. She was always avail..."
"This is our second time booking with Yellow Zebra.The first trip was fantastic just what we wanted.So we were confident booking again. Wies special thanks to you.Full of great ideas and extremely knowledgeable ."
"Very personable and friendly, but also professional staff
Extremely knowledgeable and accommodating regarding my requests and needs
Provide an itinerary that is perfect for me"
Elaine Parker Brown
"My experience planning my trip was Sebastian was excellent. He was patient with all my questions and provided perspective to help me decide."