Jessica Macdonald

Jessica Macdonald.

Lives In



  • King's College London

Jessica was born and raised in England, but fell in love with Africa after accompanying her family on a three-week safari to Botswana and Zimbabwe in 2001. Her adult affair with the continent began in 2010 when she traveled to Mozambique to work as a volunteer on a whale shark research project.

A keen scuba diver and conservationist, Jessica subsequently moved to South Africa to pursue a career as a dive instructor. Fate intervened in the form of an opportunity to write about her experiences for U.S. dive magazine Scuba Diver Life, and so writing gradually took over from diving as Jessica's first passion. 

Jessica's African adventures include sleeping under the stars while tracking wild dogs in Zimbabwe, making friends with a tiger shark named Penelope in South Africa, and surviving a car-jacking in Tanzania. She relocated to South Africa in 2013, married a South African in 2015, and now spends her weekends introducing her baby daughter to the game reserves that captured her heart when she was a child. 


  • Jessica lives in South Africa's Eastern Cape province and has been TripSavvy's Africa Expert since 2016. 
  • She previously worked as a PADI scuba instructor, diving with sharks at Aliwal Shoal near Durban
  • Jessica is a two-time winner of The Telegraph's Just Back travel writing competition


Jessica has honed her skills as a freelance writer specializing in travel, scuba diving, and wildlife conservation. She is a two-time winner of The Telegraph's Just Back travel writing competition and has written extensively for a variety of magazines, travel agencies, websites, and PR companies. 


Jessica completed an undergraduate course in Classical Studies at King's College London, graduating with a first class degree in 2012. She spent a year studying abroad at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. In 2013, she qualified as a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor.  

TripSavvy work:

TripSavvy Product Review Editorial Guidelines & Mission

About TripSavvy and Dotdash Meredith

TripSavvy, a Dotdash Meredith brand, is a travel site written by real experts, not anonymous reviewers. You’ll find that our 20-year-strong library of more than 30,000 articles will make you a savvy traveler—showing you how to book a hotel the whole family will love, where to find the best bagel in New York City, and how to skip the lines at theme parks. We give you the confidence to spend your vacation actually vacationing, not fumbling with a guidebook or second-guessing yourself. Learn more about us and our editorial guidelines.

Read more from Jessica Macdonald