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DECEMBER 10, 2018

VENTFLASH #246: Victor's Favorites - Northern Tanzania & El Triunfo, Mexico

Dear friends:

In this issue of VENTFLASH, I share my feelings about two of my all-time favorite destinations: East Africa and El Triunfo, Mexico. This fall I spent a month in Tanzania, for both personal travel and tour leading, while at this time I am already looking forward to returning to southern Mexico where I will co-lead a tour next March to the El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve. As a lifelong birder and lover of nature, each of these destinations is dear to me, and few things bring me greater pleasure than talking or writing about them.

In this issue:



For years, I've maintained that if you love nature, the three most important areas to visit are the Amazon, Antarctica, and East Africa. Recently, I returned from East Africa where I co-led a Northern Tanzania tour with my longtime colleague David Wolf. It was a marvelous trip filled with fantastic birds and wildlife.

Lilac-breasted Roller, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania - Photo: Kevin Zimmer

One of the joys of a visit to Tanzania is that there is always something wonderful to observe. For instance, among the many highlights of our tour were the sight of six Giraffes feeding on acacia leaves along the roadside; a gorgeous Superb Starling foraging at a distance of ten feet; a group of ten Lions with young; a beautiful Brown-hooded Kingfisher; five hundred Cape Buffalo crossing the road; a Lilac-breasted Roller, one of the most beautiful birds in the world, perched in the open a mere thirty feet away; a Cheetah walking across a field; a striking Tacazze Sunbird; and thirty Elephants putting on a show drinking and bathing. The action was almost non-stop.

One of the advantages of the VENT tour to Tanzania is the opportunity to stay at high quality, beautiful lodges. All of the accommodations on our tour were excellent, and were, in fact, some of the finest lodges I've visited anywhere. In comparing the price of our Tanzania tour to those of Tanzania tours operated by other companies, I urge caution in the comparison process in that many other companies use lodges that are not nearly as wonderful as those used on the VENT tour. I feel that if you are going all the way to East Africa for what might well be a once in a lifetime trip, you should stay in the best lodges—places where the food, accommodations, setting, and access to wildlife are all first rate.

Among my favorite lodges is Kubukubu where, from the veranda of your room, you look out upon the vast Serengeti Plain and see in the distance herds of Cape Buffalo, Zebra, and Impala, while around you are a variety of birds including hornbills, shrikes, and more. Another favorite lodge was Ndutu, a small isolated lodge in the Ngorongoro Reserve, set amid acacia woodland. Here, a small water feature visible from the breakfast table attracts a host of birds including gorgeous lovebirds, starlings, and finches. Nearby, at the edge of a marsh we saw three species of sandgrouse coming to drink among many other birds. Here, at Ndutu, I celebrated my 78th birthday—one of the most memorable birthdays of my life.

Black Rhinoceros, Ngorongoro Crater - Photo: Kevin Zimmer

Finally, on top of the birding and wildlife viewing, amazing landscapes, and marvelous lodges, I would be remiss in not mentioning the people of Tanzania, whom I regard as among the friendliest I have encountered in any country.

Our next tour to Northern Tanzania will operate February 17–March 6, 2019. This tour will be co-led by veteran tour leader Kevin Zimmer and Anthony Rafael, a superb local guide. Due to several recent cancellations, three spaces are now available on this tour. We are able to offer these spaces with a discount of $1,000 per person in double occupancy. The published fee is $11,995 in double occupancy. Register now and pay $10,995. This offer is valid until December 17, at which time we will release all unsold space. Although time is short (we are only a little more than two months from departure), I hope you can take advantage of this limited-time offer.

Northern Tanzania: Birding & Wildlife in the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater & Beyond, February 17–March 6, 2019 with Kevin Zimmer and Anthony Rafael; $11,995 in double occupancy from Arusha. 3 spaces available. Register now and pay $10,995.

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Horned Guan - Photo: Brian Gibbons

When I am asked to name my favorite tour (which happens fairly often), my answer is always El Triunfo. Based in the state of Chiapas in Southern Mexico, the centerpiece of the tour is a hike over the Sierra de Chiapas, a beautiful mountain range that encompasses El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve. I have taken this trip and made this hike in most years since 1977.

The hike starts in the foothills of the Atlantic slope of the mountains at 4,500 feet elevation and ascends an excellent trail that tops out at 6,500 feet. Then, after three wonderful days of birding, hiking, and exploring the cloud forest in the valley of Triunfo, you spend three days descending to the Pacific lowlands. For lovers of natural history, I consider this hike to be one of the greatest hikes in the world because of the variety of habitats one experiences and for the birds one sees. Seeing the Horned Guan, one of the great birds of the world, is the highest objective, but our tour also seeks highly desired species such as the Resplendent Quetzal and the localized Azure-rumped Tanager, in addition to a marvelous sweep of other birds including quail-doves, hummingbirds, trogons, motmots, toucans, manakins, nightingale-thrushes, and more.

We had not planned to offer this tour in 2019, but due to popular demand we've decided to add it to our schedule. I will co-lead this tour with Brian Gibbons and a local leader. The tour fee is $3,895. The tour will be limited to 11 participants. Only 4 spaces are available.

I hope you can join me on my favorite tour.

To hear more about this fabulous trip, please feel free to contact me at the office by email ( or phone: 800-328-8368 or 512-328-5221.

Mexico: El Triunfo, March 7–17, 2019 with Brian Gibbons and Victor Emanuel; $3,895 in double occupancy from Tuxtla Gutierrez (ends in Tapachula). 4 spaces available.

Best wishes,

Victor Emanuel

Copyright © 2018, Victor Emanuel Nature Tours, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Victor Emanuel Nature Tours
2525 Wallingwood Drive, Suite 1003
Austin, TX 78746
800-328-8368 / 512-328-5221