Antonina has lived in more African countries than the average person has visited in their lifetime! She has an incredible breadth of knowledge of both safaris in Southern Africa and holidays on the paradisiacal islands in the Seychelles.
Raised in Botswana, Antonina spent her childhood in Maun, exploring the Okavango Delta. As she grew up, she was able to travel to other neighbouring Southern African countries before heading out into the world and starting her career in London selling tailor-made holidays to Southern Africa.
Botswana, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa, Zimbabwe.
Recent travel experience
This year, Antonina went back home to Botswana, where she focused on exploring the Linyanti reserve and all parts of the Okavango Delta. The idea was to go back into the bush after the Covid pandemic and experience the wildlife sightings, just before the Delt floods came in, and catch up and enjoy the company of the staff in the various camps in the area. Antonina managed to add in some time in Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park, where she got a great sense of the varied terrain across the reserve.
Antonina's most memorable experience
“This is a recent experience, from when I was last in South Africa at the Sabi Sands Reserve – when on a game drive, we spotted two male wild dogs! They had just begun to chase some impala. Sadly they lost their prey, and it wasn’t long until we noticed that the boys had lost each other too! So this is where things got really interesting, because one wild dog was on one side of the road and the other was on the opposite side. Both had been searching for each other quite frantically, and after a few times criss-crossing with a distance between them, they eventually found each other again. They were so happy, kissing and wagging their tails and walking away from the vehicles into the bush. This showed true compassion and a strong bond between these beautiful wild dogs.
The other memorable experience happened in my younger years, when I was living in Botswana. My mum and I were in Savuti when our open car broke down by a waterhole. For a good few hours we hid under the car to shelter from the heat, but then we moved over to a small bush. We were waiting for one of those small light aircrafts to fly over so we could signal that we were stranded. But nothing and no one drove by or flew by. So I had this plan to walk a little for help, knowing we were possibly risking our lives. However, a few metres from the car, there were lion tracks! So we decided to track back to the car. At some point we got really hungry and decided to eat biscuits in a small bush near the waterhole. Suddenly two elephants came walking towards us – one ambled off in one direction towards the waterhole, but the other headed straight towards us, with his trunk searching out the smell of our biscuits. Luckily he just moved towards the waterhole before reaching us. Phew! Soon after the elephants left, a small aircraft flew by and my mum and I came out of the bush flapping our arms about and hoping that someone would see us from the sky. By this time, we were sure that our friends back at the lodge where we were staying would realise we were missing. So after about 2 hours, a safari vehicle managed to find us and we jumped on and thankfully were driven back to the lodge. But the best or scariest thing about the whole experience was when we saw that, just 5 or 10 minutes’ drive from where we had been waiting, there was a pride of 15 lions lying in the sun!”
Born in Bolivia, then adopted and raised in Maun, Antonina spent most of her childhood in Botswana. Her introduction to safari life came with weekend trips and school holidays spent exploring Botswana’s diverse landscapes, such as when her family packed up the Landcruiser with wood, food, and a tent, and headed straight to the Okavango Delta. At other times, Antonina and her family would take light aircraft flights across Botswana’s waterways, experiencing the region’s famous mix of dry and wet camps. With Savuti, Moremi, Chobe, and the spectacular Victoria Falls forming Antonina’s playground, the bush really is her second home.
Following her time in Botswana, Antonina spent a year in India and she was exposed to one of the world’s most colourful continents. She studied in South India in a local school, and whenever she had a break she got out of the classroom to roam both the southern and northern parts of the country. Antonina then continued her schooling in the Maldives.
Briefly, in 2006, Antonina swapped island paradise life for the African bush and moved to South Africa. She lived there for two years and completed her schooling before heading out to the wildlife-rich archipelago of the Seychelles. Here, she took a course in Tourism and Guiding, and applied her wanderlust to exploring Mahé, Praslin, and La Digue.
Antonina began university in the Netherlands in 2008 and by this time she knew she wanted to pursue a career in Travel. She achieved that goal when she moved to London, and for the past three years she has sold tailor-made holidays to Southern Africa.
"Our gratitude to the Yellow Zebra team lead by Antonina for advising, planning and organizing a sensational family holiday with unique and varied locations, great cultural experiences and superb game viewing... Excellent food, wonderful service everywhere. All in all. Spectacular!"
Ned - South Africa, July 2022
"Antonina reached out to me shortly after I submitted a request and we quickly scheduled a phone call to talk through what I wanted to see and do and she provided me with three great options ... The trip was incredible - my best trip ever and I never would have been able to put together a trip like this myself without Yellow Zebra Safari's help. I highly recommend Yellow Zebra Safari and would use them again in an instant if I ever am able to go on another safari."
Eve - South Africa, June 2022
“[YZ] were so helpful throughout planning, and then during our trip as well. We were thrilled with our South African honeymoon... Antonina from YZ was very patient with me as we are very particular and like to thoroughly explore our options before making decisions... YZ was super helpful in making sure we were all booked and ready to go!”
"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..."