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The Team

Meet your Exotic Surgical team

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Dr Bernice van Huyssteen


Dr Bernice grew up on a farm surrounded by every animal you can think of, and from that a love for all things weird and wonderful were born (to her joy, and her parents dismay!). After completing an Animal Biotechnology degree and Honours in Genetics at the University of Stellenbosch, she proceeded to complete her Veterinary degree at the University of Melbourne, Australia. Upon finishing her undergrad degree she completed an Internship in Surgery at the Animal Referral Hospital in Sydney, and stayed on as a Surgical Registrar. In 2011 she returned to South Africa, and opened the first Bird and Exotic Clinic in the Western Cape in 2014. Over the years her love for surgery persisted, and finally the decision was made to fully live that passion by opening a purpose-built Exotic Surgery clinic. When she is not doing surgery she has the immense privilege of serving as the Head Sea Turtle Veterinarian at the Two Oceans Turtle Concervation Centre 

Natisha van Zyl

Animal Health Technichian

Natisha graduated cum laude as an Animal Health Technician in 2021, whereafter she proceeded to obtain her advanced diploma as an Animal Health Technician.

Her love for exotic animals started at the very young age of 12 when her parents surprised her with her very own two quacker ducks. Her experience and knowledge only grew from there with the help of amazing exotic veterinarians and being part of the main nursing team at Cape Exotic Animal Hospital since 2019. There she gained invaluable knowledge and insight into rehabbing, releasing and medicating all form of weird and wonderful exotic animals.

She owns a multitude of animals (including a peacock that sleeps on the bed) and, of course, still quacker ducks!

In her previous life she was a radio DJ and professional dancer and theater performer in the South-African entertainment industry. But by far this has been her best adventure and life calling.


"Until one has loved an animal a part of one's soul remains unawakened." Anatole France

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Blessing Gome

Hygeine Queen

Blessing is originally from Zimbabwe. She has been working alongside our exotic team for 4 years and have been key to making sure our practice is kept sterile, ordered and our little animals fed and loved. 

Merline Haarhoff

Bookings manager

Merline loves seeing all her exotic patients walk through the door, even though she is secretly a cat lover! She shares her home with her husband and three cats - Milkshake, Cuddles and Fluffy. Her dream is to one day open an animal sancutary!

"Be the change you want to see in the world" 

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