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Shackleford Wild Horse & Shelling Safari

Beaufort, NC, USA
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About Shackleford Wild Horse & Shelling Safari
Take a 15 minute ferry ride over to the pristine Outer Banks Island of Shackleford Banks, which is part of the Cape Lookout National Seashore. There you will be introduced to the Wild Horses of Shackleford Banks. This free roaming herd is believed to have descended from Horses that were brought here roughly 500 years ago, and still survive as one of the last isolated groups of wild horses in the US. You will help your guide track the horses and see first hand the fascinating behavior of horses in the wild, a rare experience with nature that you'll never forget.Bring your camera for pictures that will forever remind you of this amazing place and its fascinating inhabitants. Stay on the island for the length of the tour, or stay all day! Same price! Ferry tickets included in the price of your admission.
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Kristina T wrote a review Jul 2019
2 contributions7 helpful votes
Booked a trip and we waited for our guide in an area that was provided in our e-mail (which was also on their website). Lady from National Park Services came up to talk to us and give us map of the island before our tour. She was amazing and knowledgeable. Guide never showed up and the lady from another group called to see why the guide hasn't showed up. Lady was told that we had to check in at the Ferry booth (not what e-mailed said) and of course we were told that guide left without us. Since we really wanted to see the island we got on the Ferry (which costs $17 and with their guide it would be $32). Lady at the Ferry booth gave us name of the person we should call and inquire about refund. Island was amazing. Beautiful beaches and we saw 2 different families of horses. I personally don't think that guide is necessary for this island. When we called about refund, the manager was rude and said that refunds will not be given because we went to the island. She said that we didn't follow directions from an e-mail (which we did) She wanted us to pay $32 for a ferry ride that everyone else paid $17. When we were insistent about refund she said she would talk to the owner. We were called later that we would receive partial refund and when we tried to point out what their website stated about meeting place, she didn't want to listen to it and in other words hung up on us. This was the most unprofessional behavior from a manager I have ever encountered.
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Date of experience: July 2019
2 Helpful votes
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Response from George A, Owner at Shackleford Wild Horse & Shelling Safari
Responded Aug 29, 2019
Hello, I am very sorry about the miscommunication regarding the guided tour. We do instruct people to meet their Naturalist at the gazebo and we have spoken to all Naturalists to ensure this does not happen again. There should have been no hesitancy to refund your entire tour price, which was done. The actual ferry fare to go to Shackleford Banks could not be refunded as you did go to Shackleford Banks on the ferry. The woman you spoke to no longer works for us. This is not a usual occurrence for us but we did have two families on this same tour have the same experience and I will be responding to the other family in the same way. Please accept our apologies. I am very happy that you did get to enjoy Shackleford Banks.
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Greg C wrote a review Jul 2019
1 contribution3 helpful votes
My wife booked this tour during a family vacation and thought that having a guide / naturalist would be a fun experience for the kids in our group, as they all have an interest in nature and science. Unfortunately, due to poor communication on the part of the company, they were not able to have that experience. After booking the reservation online, we received a confirmation email stating - "Please plan to arrive 30 minutes prior to departure to meet your Naturalist. Meeting point: Gazebo at Grayden Paul Park. Grayden Paul Park is located right next to our ferry departure location. Your Naturalist will check you in and lead you to the Ferry where your adventure begins!" The website's contact page also states - "Please meet at the Grayden Paul Park under the gazebo. You do not need to go to the Ferry Ticket Booth to buy tickets, as we take care of everything for you." On the day we reserved our tour, our group of 7 arrived at the gazebo 30 minutes early and another group of 3 arrived around the same time. After waiting for some time at the gazebo, with no guide showing up, my wife called the number listed on the reservation confirmation. The person on the phone seemed confused, placing my wife on hold twice, finally telling her that they needed to go over to the Island Express Ferry Service to check-in. By the this point, they were informed (along with the other group) that they had missed the ferry for the guided tour and given another phone number and person's name to call with regard to getting a refund for the guide. Our group still wanted to go to the island even without the guide, so decided to catch the next ferry and sort out the no-show guide with the company later in the day. When I called a few hours later, they again seemed confused as to what had happened and I was transferred to another person. When I explained that my wife's group and another group had done exactly what the the instructions stated, I was told they would call the owner to find out what happened and get right back to me. After about 2 hours, and not hearing back, I called again. This time I was abruptly informed that no refund would be given and that it was somehow our group's fault that they had missed the ferry. Attempts at trying to come to some sort of understanding were met with "I can't help you. We will not be refunding any portion of this". There was never an attempt on the companies part to explain what happened...just, "this has never happened before" and that somehow our group should have known to walk over to the ferry, despite instructions clearly stating to wait at the gazebo for the guide. I asked if perhaps it was a new guide who didn't realize they were supposed to meet groups at the gazebo, or maybe it was a new online booking service and the instructions needed to be revised. Those questions were met with silence or non-answers. After this frustrating conversation, I informed them that the only choice they were leaving me, was to dispute the charge with our credit card company. They seemed ok with that and the phone call ended. About an hour later, they called me back to inform me that they had spoken with the guide and would now be giving a partial refund. They gave a curt apology "on behalf of the guide". I found it to be rather odd that an hour earlier they had flatly refused any refund, yet apparently hadn't even spoken to the guide yet! I also couldn't get a clear answer as to what a partial refund consists of...I'm presuming it will be the total cost minus the ferry fee (as our group still took the ferry over, minus the guide). I can understand that mistakes and miscommunications happen...what I despise, are companies that seem allergic to admitting that, and then compounding the original problem with stubbornness and an inability to listen. If they had quickly called back, explained how the mistake had happened and apologized for it, I'd probably be writing a much better review, despite the fact that our group never received the guide service. Honesty and good communication can go a long way. Unfortunately, that did not happen in this case and the experience left us highly frustrated.
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Date of experience: July 2019
1 Helpful vote
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Response from George A, Owner at Shackleford Wild Horse & Shelling Safari
Responded Aug 29, 2019
Hello, I am very sorry about the miscommunication regarding the guided tour. We do instruct people to meet their Naturalist at the gazebo and we have spoken to all Naturalists to ensure this does not happen again. There should have been no hesitancy to refund your entire tour price, which was done. The actual ferry fare to go to Shackleford Banks could not be refunded as you did go to Shackleford Banks on the ferry. The woman you spoke to no longer works for us. This is not a usual occurrence for us but we did have two families on this same tour have the same experience and I will be responding to the other family in the same way. Please accept our apologies. I am very happy that you did get to enjoy Shackleford Banks.
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Nicole P. wrote a review Jul 2019
5 contributions1 helpful vote
+1
Our naturalist guide, Barbie, was friendly, knowledgeable, kind and safety conscious...basically everything you would want in a tour guide. We learned so much about the horses and so much information about the island. She was always looking out for our best interests like staying hydrated and not getting too close to the horses. She truly cares about nature and shared her love for it. The views from Shackleford were breathtaking and seeing wild horses up close in personal was an unfortgettable experience. The sound was so clear and calm enough to swim in, so we stayed past the tour time. Advice: sunscreen, water shoes or croc type shoes (NOT flip flops b/c they're hard to keep on while walking through sand and brush). It's a decent amount of walking, so make sure you're up for it. Totally worth it!
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Date of experience: July 2019
1 Helpful vote
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Response from George A, Owner at Shackleford Wild Horse & Shelling Safari
Responded Jul 25, 2019
Thank you for your fabulous review Nicole! We are so glad you enjoyed the Safari! Barbie is a wonderful guide, we just love her! Shackleford Banks is such a special place with lots of history and we are so glad you were able to experience it! We look forward to having you join us again soon!
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Brenda M wrote a review Jul 2019
2 contributions
The experience was one of a kind and the guide was extremely knowledgeable. This was my second time going and I have had a blast both times.
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Date of experience: July 2019
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Response from George A, Owner at Shackleford Wild Horse & Shelling Safari
Responded Jul 25, 2019
Thank you for your review, Brenda! Our staff strives to make each trip fun and informative! We are so glad you enjoyed your trip and we hope to see you again soon!
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angela b wrote a review Jun 2019
Johnson City, Tennessee2 contributions
Had a great experience hiking the banks. Saw several horses and lots of interesting details along the way. Our guide Charlie was a delight. He shared a lot of informative information with us and made our experience much more enjoyable.
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Date of experience: June 2019
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Response from George A, Owner at Shackleford Wild Horse & Shelling Safari
Responded Jul 2, 2019
Thank you for your great review, Angela! Our naturalists are very experienced and they strive to make each trip fun, informative and memorable. And you so right, Charles is a complete delight! We are so glad you enjoyed yourself and we look forward to having you visit us again soon!
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