Read the VENTFLASH and catch up on the latest news from VENT!


September 25, 2019

Dear friends:


For the last six or seven years, VENT’s credit card policy has been that we’ve accepted credit cards as payment for tour deposits only, and that all other payments were required to be paid with personal check, wire transfer, or money order. I am pleased to announce that VENT now accepts credit cards for all tour payments. By “all tour payments” I mean for initial deposits, second deposits, unscheduled payments, and final balances. As a reminder, we accept Visa, Mastercard, and American Express.

For years I have heard from our travelers urging us to accept credit cards more broadly, as doing so would ease the process of making tour payments and would enable people to capitalize on their card member rewards programs. Until this year, I hesitated to make the change because accepting credit cards for broader use raises our costs substantially. However, in recognition of the fact that our accepting credit cards for all tour payments is clearly an enhanced service to our travelers, I finally decided to make the change.

I feel that there are a number of advantages to traveling with VENT, and our acceptance of credit cards offers one more advantage, as some of our competitors do not accept credit cards at all.

In other news, I am happy to announce a brand-new tour to South Africa that will operate a year from now: South Africa: The Western Cape & Kruger, September 27–October 14, 2020.

Table Mountain Cape Town © Alexcpt photography/shutterstock

Although this trip does not appear in our 2020 catalog of tours, I decided to add it to our schedule for a couple of reasons: first, our South Africa: The Southwestern Cape & Kruger 2019 tour is sold out and only a few spaces remain available on our 2020 departure, and therefore I wanted to make sure that we could meet the demand for South Africa among our travelers; and second, as fond as I am of our existing South Africa tour program—which focuses almost exclusively on the marvelous birds and wildlife of that country—I have always been aware that South Africa holds wonderful opportunities for those with an interest in history and culture, and that a trip that combined birds, nature, history, and culture, would likely prove a unique and appealing draw.

Working with our longtime operator, we present a new program that visits South Africa’s best areas for birds, mammals, and wildflowers, in addition to key cultural sites. As with our main South Africa tour, we’ll spend time at the world-renowned Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens and the Cape of Good Hope, West Coast National Park to view the spring wildflower pageant, and several days in the Greater Kruger Conservation Area, one of the great game viewing areas of Africa. When not focusing on nature exclusively, our activities will include a tour of Cape Town and its scenic “City Bowl;” a morning excursion to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years, followed by a trip to the top of Table Mountain; a day in the famed Stellenbosch wine growing region; and grand finale visits to the acclaimed Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg and a tour of Soweto township.

Malachite Sunbird © Avian Leisure

Guiding this tour will be Patrick Cardwell, a wonderful birder and naturalist, and an all-around expert on his native South Africa. Making this trip even more special is that we present it in collaboration with BirdNote. If you are unfamiliar with BirdNote, it is a public media show that airs nationally on many public radio stations across the country. BirdNote produces stories about birds, birders, and places to go birding. Each edition of BirdNote is neatly packaged in two- minute segments. Given the obvious connection that VENT has with BirdNote, both of our organizations felt it would be fun to collaborate on a special departure. BirdNote will be represented by Executive Director Sallie Bodie. In addition to experiencing the joys of a multi-dimensional trip to South Africa, participants will have the opportunity to learn about a beloved radio program. Please visit the BirdNote website to learn more about this group and what it does.

I am confident that you will thoroughly enjoy this special departure.

South Africa: The Western Cape & Kruger: A Birds, Nature & Culture Collaborative Tour with VENT & BirdNote, September 27–October 14, 2020 with Patrick Cardwell and Sallie Bodie, $10,995 in double occupancy from Cape Town (ends in Johannesburg). Limit 12.

Best wishes,

Victor Emanuel

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden © EcoPrint-Shutterstock

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