TESTIMONIALS

Our guest book

We have been on many safaris of differing levels of price and comfort in Southern Africa over the past 35 years, and Bearded Heron has been our favourite company in very many respects. Neil has an amazing knowledge of the habitat and wildlife, and the way the trips are set up using National Park lodges and guest houses means that you are always in the Park, and you are not paying for (unnecessary) luxury. You do however have amazing meals prepared by Neil and his chef, plenty of wine and beer, very comfortable accommodation and great company. We have been twice, once for 5 days and the other for 15: our time in the north of the park was exceptional and I know we will be back - Tina and Neil, you have been warned!

 

-Alison Wood, UK, 2018

For a unique small group (or family) safari experience no one does it better than Bearded Heron Safaris. Our 3-generation family of 8 had the opportunity to observe the Kruger wildlife through Neil’s eyes and it was special for all of us. Neil’s knowledge, enthusiasm and love of all things Kruger is very inspiring. We took home a shared experience we will never forget. 
Thank you, Neil for sharing and Tina for making the arrangements. It was an unforgettable safari for all of us.

 

-Janna Smits, US, 2018

 

I have gone on two safaris with Bearded Heron, 2016 & 2018 and I cannot say enough about the experiences! I have left each time wanting to return.
Tina Heron, who you book with, is a great communicator! She promptly answered all questions and sent timely emails with information for the trip. She also connected us with agents in Cape Town and Victoria Falls so that we could make plans in those areas.
Neil Heron, our safari guide, is extremely knowledgeable in all things Kruger. If he, by slim chance, doesn’t have an answer, he does research to give accurate answers. His passion for the Kruger is contagious!
Neil also has camera experience which he gladly gives to clients to help optimize the quality of photos taken during the trip.
Alistair, Neil’s assistant, holds down the fort at camp. He makes sure we are comfortable, cooks like crazy, and is always courteous and kind.
What a great team!

 

-Cheryl Hackett, US, 2018

 

Best ever trip of our lives happened in May 2014 when we went on a 5 day safari with Bearded Heron to celebrate some life milestones. It was such an amazing experience we went back again in September 2017 and brought friends. Can't say enough good things about this company - from the extremely responsive interactions when booking (and getting answers to questions) to the daily trips with Neil (a walking encyclopaedia of animal and plant knowledge) and the in-the-bush setting of the accommodations and meals. If I could give it a 100 star rating instead of a 5 star rating I would! The pictures being posted are what you see, and never predictable depending on what nature decides to reveal that day. The experience changes the way you look at nature in a way that words can't describe. We are already talking about going back again - it's that amazing!

 

-Lisa Barsky, US, June 2018

Professional, knowledgeable, accommodating, exciting, and absolutely life changing.
The amount of animal encounters, experiences, food, drink, and friendly conversations are 100,000% worth every penny. 
Would do this again in a heartbeat, and I'll be back in two years’ time. 
Thank you for everything. 🇿🇦

 

-Kayla Easton, US, 2018

 

Wow! What a wonderful trip. Our two sons (ages11 and 8 at the time) had a blast. Three years later we are still talking about our adventures and wondering when we can go back. Neil and his team organized everything and geared it specifically to our interests. I highly recommend putting this trip on your bucket list.

 

-Sandra Juengel Linn, US, 2018

September of 2018 was my third trek in Kruger National Park with Neil Heron and Bearded Heron Safaris. I am still just as intoxicated by the beauty of the Kruger bush as I was on my first journey. Our safari started in the far north at Punda Maria. We ambled southward over the next fifteen days, stopping at Shingwedzi, Shimuwini, Satara, and Pretoriuskop, toward our final destination at Biyamiti Bush Camp.

This itinerary allowed us to experience the various changes in terrain and observe wild life behaviour in each sector. We saw abundant animals throughout the park. There are no cats in the north turned out to be a myth. We spotted leopard and lion on our first drive toward Pafuri and Crooks Corner. Waterholes and rivers were teeming with prey and predators.

Traveling with Neil, a truly unique experience, enables safari members ample time to really watch and learn about the behaviours and interactions of many species. Sitting at a waterhole observing for an hour or more is the norm not the exception. His agenda is the Kruger biosphere not ticking off the big five.

Photo opportunities are abundant. Neil is a recognized wildlife photographer. His ability to position the vehicle for the very best shot is uncanny. As the lioness moves forward in the brush, from his years of experience, he anticipates where she will reappear and his guests are ready with their cameras.

Comfortable accommodations are in the Kruger Rest Camps and Bush Camps. This trip we had the good fortune to stay in the guest houses at Satara and Pretoriuskop. Catering is exceptional with lamb shanks in port and traditional bobotie being two of the highlights for me.

If South Africa was closer, we would visit for at least a few days each year with Bearded Heron Safaris and our friend, Neil!

 

-Patty Flynn Sadtler, US, 2018

 

My friend and I did a 7-day safari at Kruger National Park with Bearded Heron Safaris in February. Amazing, is the only word I have to describe this incredible experience. Neil and Tina Heron, owners of this small safari business, are a fabulous team. From the time I made my first inquiry about their 7 day safari Tina was there to help with dates, options, and recommendations. She was great to work with and took all the worry out of planning this trip.
Once we arrived at Kruger Neil took over and the next 7 days, we spent being education, amazed, and awed. I have been on Safaris before but this one truly left me wanting more. Neil is so knowledgeable and passionate about the animals and their surroundings that it became infectious. I learned so much about these animals, their habits and survival, it a most gratifying education.
This all-inclusive safari used the National Park self-catering accommodation which were great, we had the best locations in the compound and our chef Alistair was fabulous. Our meals were spectacular, recipes were Neil’s, definitely need to get some of those recipes. Dinner was always a highlight as we spend the evening with our new friends who regaled us with stories and laughter. We would discuss our amazing day and ponder what tomorrow would bring.
Everyone should be lucky enough to get the opportunity to be humbled by this experience. I cannot provide a high enough rating for Bearded Heron, thank you Tina, Neil and Alistair for making this a trip of a lifetime. I hope to be back soon.

In a lifetime of purchases of everything from groceries to houses to vacations, my wife and I have never been received with greater value, nor found greater pleasure, than we did from signing up with Neil. In a lifetime of dealing with sophisticated professionals of every sort, we've never met a professional more knowledgeable -- or more caring and committed -- than Neil.

 

-Sheila Engel, US, May 2018

 

Neil Heron is an iconic figure in the Kruger world he so loves -- and is known and admired as such by its other guides and officials. But when crowds of Rovers are at a site Neil goes in the opposite direction, rightly confident of his ability to find sightings on his own which his deliberately small number of uncrowded and companionable guests can enjoy with privacy and in quiet awe. His knowledge of the "Big 5 species" is comprehensive, but so is knowledge of and ability to find and describe the Krueger's less appreciated species. Add to this is Neil's knowledge and love of the Krueger's birds -- enough to make his safaris memorable were he not to sight a single mammal or reptile. Years of guiding, of teaching guides and of spectacularly photographing the Kreuger's wildlife has taught Neil to get inside the heads of the living things he sights and of understanding and to amazingly predict what their next steps will be.

And, in the "back office" Tina is ever present and able to smooth the ways of Bearded Heron guests.

We are grateful and lucky that Bearded Heron Safaris provided us with the experience of a lifetime.

 

-Michael Horowitz, US, March/April 2019

 

I never imagined that my 5-star rating and writeup from October 2016 could ever be exceeded HOWEVER we returned to South Africa in September 2019 and travelled with Bearded Heron Safaris for a second time and I now must give them a 10 star rating (in truth it would be 100 stars!
Again, we worked with Tina during the planning stage, got perfect recommendations on the timing and logistics of flights. We arrived and met Neil and his assistant, Roan and off we went to explore the Kruger again. If you read through all the other comments, I cannot add any more superlatives to what has been said and what I wrote in 2016 regarding Neil’s knowledge, insight and love of The Kruger, the animals, the birds, the plants and trees.

I will add a few less frequently mentioned items. The team of Tina, Neil and Roan worked to create menus that were absolutely perfect and totally thoughtful for our diets.

We are pescatarians (eat fish, do not eat any meat or poultry) and using this knowledge as a base, they created unique, delicious, region specific meals. He has also provided custom meals for vegetarians, vegans and a wide variety of other dietary requests.

One night I looked up at the night sky and asked, “is that Orion?” and Neil launched into a very detailed lecture about the South African night sky and how it differs from the sky I would see on the east coast of the U.S.

Neil is also proactive in the areas of the environment, ecology and conservation and is willing to share his knowledge and actions he has personally taken in these areas to protect this wonderful area.

Neil is also a skilled photographer and can help you capture the perfect shot and memories of this trip of a lifetime.

Our accommodations were not luxurious but they were extremely comfortable and roomy with all the modern conveniences of home (in some cases better than home – my home and doesn’t have air conditioning but some of the units on safari did!) and they were all inside the park.

If you want to immerse yourself in the Kruger, understand how the animals think, absorb the issues and capture memories, Bearded Heron Safaris are the Kruger Park specialists that can make it happen.

 

-Fran Libasci, US, September 2019

 

Bearded Heron Safaris - Kruger Park Specialists - 10 Star Rating

This was our 2nd trip in 3 years with Bearded Heron Safaris. In 2016 we gave them a 5 star rating and feel it only appropriate to double that to a 10 star rating for our latest trip. Yes, they are that good!
We worked with Tina during the planning stage and received perfect recommendations on the timing and logistics of flights. We arrived and met Neil and his assistant, Roan and off we went to explore the Kruger again. Together the team did everything they could to make our dreams come true. Roan and Neil filled our stomachs with the most amazing bush meals and Neil filled our brains and senses with his knowledge, love and passion for the Kruger.
It's one thing to have a game drive where the driver and tracker tell you about what you are seeing. It's another thing to be on a game drive where your guide helps you think like the animals, to analyse the situation (what happened here, what’s going to happen here, what are our surroundings telling us?), to appreciate what the shake of a lion's mane means, and to immerse yourself in the real time environmental, ecological and conservation issues. Neil’s knowledge of the bush extends beyond the mammals to the birds, plants, grasses and trees.
The team of Tina, Neil and Roan worked to create menus that were absolutely perfect and totally thoughtful for our diets. We are pescatarians (eat fish, do not eat any meat or poultry) and using this knowledge as a base, they created unique, delicious, region specific meals. He has also provided custom meals for vegetarians, vegans and a wide variety of other dietary requests.
One night I looked up at the night sky and asked “is that Orion?” and Neil launched into a very detailed lecture about the South African night sky and how it differs from the sky I would see on the east coast of the US.
Neil is also proactive in the areas of the environment, ecology and conservation and is willing to share his knowledge and actions he has personally taken in these areas to protect the endangered animals in this wonderful area.
Neil is also a skilled photographer and can help you capture the perfect shot and memories of this trip of a lifetime.
Our accommodations were not luxurious but they always exceeded our expectations and were extremely comfortable and roomy with all the modern conveniences of home (in some cases better than home – my home and doesn’t have air conditioning but some of the units on safari did!) and they were all inside the park.
If you want to immerse yourself in the Kruger, understand how the animals think, absorb the issues and capture memories, Bearded Heron Safaris are the Kruger Park specialists that can make it happen.

 

-Tom, September 2019

Extaordinary trip with Bearded Heron Safaris

Just returned from a 10-day trip in Kruger National Park with Bearded Heron Safaris. It is no exaggeration to say that this was the most amazing and enjoyable experience of my life. Every day, Neil Heron gave me and my sisters and brother-in-law new adventures. From day 1, we saw the most amazing animals up close and personal. There's no guarantee as to what you will see, but we were fortunate to see so many beautiful creatures and birds. At night, we sat around the dining table exchanging experiences and listening to Neil reveal details of the things we'd seen each day. He has a wealth of knowledge and experience and his enthusiasm is so infectious. And speaking of dinner, we enjoyed wonderful meals prepared by Neil and his assistant Roan. The whole experience was wonderful and I highly recommend Bearded Heron Safaris.

-Deborah Milton, Canada, October 2019

 

Great experience with Bearded Heron Safaris

Second time using Bearded Heron, and Neil did not disappoint. Not only did we see a ton of animals, we got insights into animal behaviour, the way that various animals interact with each other, and how they migrate, hunt, play, survive and thrive in this particular ecosystem. If you want to just simply view animals, don’t use Neil; you can probably do this on your own. But if you want to really learn more in-depth about wildlife behaviour and why certain creatures are where they are and what they are doing and when, and how they depend upon or are threatened by other species (and by our own sometimes irresponsible human behaviour!), I highly recommend Bearded Heron. Great early morning drives, followed by hearty breakfasts, then another late morning drive; early afternoons off (in the heat of the day), and then more viewing in the late afternoon before relaxing evening dinners outside. Superb!

 

-Tom Witt, US, October 2019

 

Wonder and amazement - beautiful land, creatures, people

Sit back and be amazed. Viewing the land of Kruger National Park, its creatures, patterns, weather, behaviour is best done with Neil Heron of Bearded Heron Safaris. He knows not only where to go to find animals, birds, and creatures of all sorts, but he has extensive knowledge about everything in the Kruger environment. If you are able - go!

 

-Mary Preus, US, October 2019

 

For more reviews visit:

https://www.tripadvisor.co.za/Attraction_Review-g312633-d1595148-Reviews-or5-Kruger_National_Park-Nelspruit_Mpumalanga.html#REVIEWS

 

https://www.facebook.com/pg/BeardedHeron/reviews/?ref=page_internal