The following are letters and evaluations that were sent to SENE by past clients who participated in a Kilimanjaro climb, wildlife safari, or other Tanzania adventure.
Testimonials | 2014
“This was a truly incredible experience! The amount of responsibility undertaken by SENE and, in particular, the Chief Guide is mind blowing. This was our first trekking experience and we have definitely been bitten by the trekking bug. We are already considering our next adventure and thank SENE for instilling this confidence in us!
Our Chief Guide, Felix, instilled confidence through the trek with his mantra “Yes we can!”
Although scary, it is good to know that the gamow bag and oxygen are available if needed.
The afternoon conditioning hikes before the trek and throughout were not only fun and exhilarating but were invaluable to helping us successfully reach Uhuru Peak. Let’s do it again!
I still can’t believe that so much effort was made for me on my birthday. A cake in the shape of Africa with a rose, hand carried from Moshi to Lava Tower – truly overwhelming!”
“We had a great time on safari and once we were up and around the crater rim to the other side, we missed seeing all the animals. Our favorite camp was TWC’s Bolongja site as it was set near a small river. Gerald took fantastic care of us and is an excellent game spotter. We definitely got plenty of leopard and cheetah shots (I think the tally was 4 leopards, 3 cheetahs)! I thought the night game drive was a waste of time as we saw plenty of animals during the day and it was not so much fun to see them with poor lighting (especially after a long game drive during the day). I regret that we didn’t do the bush walk instead as we all could have used the exercise after the long drive from Mbahe to Oliver’s and a long morning game drive. Even the host at Oliver’s said she wished they would discontinue the night game drive. The kids enjoyed seeing all the baby animals, from hippos, to giraffes, to elephants to zebras.”
“Best vacation I’ve ever had :)”
“Thank you for the well wishes! Yes, our entire team of 7 reached the summit. Our lead guide was Honest. We did have a surprise of a 14+ hour trek on summit day, but it worked out.
I was quite please with my safari guide (Paschal). My major regret was that our vehicle was not equipped with a radio (it seemed all the other vehicles had one). As a consequence, we could not get to the “hot spots” as fast as others, but we did manage.
I’m still recovering from the experience. Needless to say, I will forever be changed (and I believe for the better).”
Thanks for everything you did to prepare us for our epic adventure! The trip definitely exceeded all of my expectations. It really was the trip of a lifetime. Our guides were absolutely amazing and experienced. I couldn’t have been in better hands.
I attached two photos: My cousin, Joie, and I with our guide, Augustino. He was truly amazing and took very good care of us. And the second is our group at the summit!
It truly was incredible to see the amount of hard work involved to make sure we all made it safely and happily.“
Testimonials | 2013
Dan and Jill S.
“SENE’s Kilimanjaro experience is second to none. The professionalism, the service, the food, the stay at Simon’s family farm in Mbahe, the guides — we were blown away by it all. Cannot possibly recommend SENE highly enough!”
Linda T. & Rocco G.
“It took me a year to decide which outfitter to choose. In the end I chose SENE because they are environmentally friendly, treat their porters with respect and take care of them not taking advantage of them. I did not want to summit at night and SENE is one of the few outfitters that has a day time summit option. In addition, I liked the idea of staying at the farm and meeting Simon. I am so very happy that I chose SENE! Amazing from start to finish. Thank you… Thank you!”
John & Anette P.
“Our experience on the climb far exceeded our expectations. We were welcomed by the perfect host at the farm. He was wonderful. We loved our 3 guides–they were kind, caring, ever-watchful, knowledgeable and professional. We also very much appreciated our cooks and porters–they worked very hard and were a lot of fun. The food was wonderfully fresh and healthy–of huge importance to us.”
“We also spent 4 days on safari with SENE and loved that as well. We peppered our driver with questions constantly and he was great–very knowledgeable and fun to travel with. He had a knack for getting the animals to pose for our pictures–don’t know how he did it, but our pictures are fabulous! We would highly recommend SENE to anyone climbing Kilimanjaro or taking a safari.”
Testimonials | 2012
“This was a stand-out experience from start to finish! This trip was not just about accomplishing the climb, it was about experiencing and enjoying the culture of Tanzania. One of the key distinctions for us was SENE’s care for the environment: they adhered to the leave no trace policy and served very tasty organic food. I would recommend SENE to anyone who wants to have a successful climb and make memories that last a lifetime.”
“I was treated like a princess on the mountain. The camping experience was a pleasant surprise for a city girl as I had a superb SENE crew to take care of me! My guide Honest helped me in every possible way to reach the summit and admire a sunrise on top of the Uhuru Peak. Asante Sana!”
“Summit Expeditions & Nomadic Experience (SENE) was an excellent choice. They were very professional in all respects. Good guides, great food and good equipment. The guides and porters all seemed to have a good time and make us feel that our enjoyment was important. The food was exceptional–lots of fresh fruit, hot porridge for breakfast, hot soup for lunch and hot entrees every evening. SENE exceeded all of my expectations.”
“Our trip with SENE was beyond wonderful. The guides and porters exceeded our expectations. All three of us made it to Uhuru Peak with minimal altitude problems.”
Testimonials | 2011
Linda & Larry E.
“Thank you for one of the best trips we have ever taken. Our itinerary was extremely diverse and well thought-out. Our accommodations and food were excellent. SENE’s staff — at all levels — were punctual, professional, knowledgeable, warm and friendly. Everyone made us feel welcome and appreciated.”
Cliff & Holly C.
“SENE is the company to safari with. From start to finish this was an amazing trip that completely exceeded all of our expectations. Way more than just a safari. A trip of a lifetime.”
“SENE put together an amazing experience, a once in a lifetime trip that I will always cherish. The entire staff is really friendly, knowledgeable and professional – I would not have done anything different and feel lucky that I was part of the SENE experience.”
Brian H. | Posted to Facebook
“I am delighted to do anything I can to support SENE. I am sure that this group is second to none when it comes to creating the best experience to the top of Africa. From the meals to the extra special monitoring, I felt as though I had my mother and family physician there to make sure that I stayed in good keeping. I’m certain that with every expedition, they make the experience special in a way that leaves each climber feeling as though they are the only group on the mountain. Every accomplishment was a celebration with friends. A special thanks to Felix, John, Ayumi and others.”
Testimonials | 2010
“Hello Simon and Tim,
Wow, I had such a wonderful experience in Tanzania. And the key to my great experience was SENE. I can’t say enough about the service that SENE provided. You truly exceeded my expectations. Having the residential compound on the mountain is a huge advantage over the other companies. Everyone connected with SENE was great and I felt very safe and cared for. Plus, you got me to the top of the mountain. Thanks so much!”
“The experience was outstanding. The guides and porters were the best and they made the experience one that will never be forgotten. SENE knows how to make your dreams a reality. From the logistics of preparing for the trip to the actual climbing of Mt. Kilimanjaro, the experience couldn’t have been better. This is a quality operation run by quality people.”
“[Our guide] Gerald knew what to do and how to drive and keep us safe; Always answered our many questions; Knows his stuff; Assisted loading and unloading our gear; Very friendly and open; the Best–very positive and friendly; You couldn’t find a better host or naturalist–and good in driving in mud and water so as not to get stuck!
SENE is top notch! You could climb the mountain with any group, but with SENE you get a full cultural experience before and after the climb. Mbahe Farm and Village as well as Simba Farm are not to be missed. And the celebration dinner and party after the climb is a great way to say thank you” to all the great staff who helped you accomplish your dreams! If at all possible, do the Lemosho/Shira/Crater route–plenty of acclimatization time and no midnight ascent like from Barafu. Crater camping right next to the Furtwangler Glacier was quite an experience!”
“I just wanted to drop you a brief email to put on record that I have really enjoyed my time with Simon and his team. We started our trip with a primary focus, which was the summit. We ended the trip with the strong feeling that summit was just “part of the story” but there were many more important/rewarding aspects in our trip. In particular, we had the chance to get to know the people and the local culture; we connected with the nature and the beauty of the mountain. The three guides (Emanuel, Augustine and Francis) have been super and in general, all the team members were very friendly, professional and honest (they returned several items that we forgot at the camp). By a technical standpoint, we went up the Western Ridge, which I think it is much more interesting than any other route, and we are glad we have done it, although I wouldn’t recommend it for your average tourist coming to Tanzania without any previous mountaineering and climbing experience.”
Testimonials | 2009
“SENE is an incredible company that is committed to making your trip into an experience. They are quick to accommodate to your needs and want you to succeed.”
“Mbahe village is an amazing place and offers something additional to just the climb. This is a must do part of the trip!! Absolutely lovely.”
Doug H. (Research climb)
“SENE is an outfitter for people seeking more than just a summit certificate. Your money stays local and truly supports the staff and community; in exchange, you receive a safe, healthy and fun experience. Simon’s holistic view of adventure tourism, including environmentally-responsible practices, and happy staff.
This was a really great trip, although we were both rather exhausted after a week of hard work on the summit glaciers. I’m most happy with the team spirit shown by our porters, but the quality of food was certainly another big highpoint! Working with Francis afterwards to divide up the tip in a manner that I wished was also pleasant… I appreciated his flexibility. Simon helped by getting some nice modifications to a couple frame packs, to carry the ice boxes, and Tara’s help with the freezer was invaluable.”
“If you are looking for a great African experience, run by African guides, but with the safety and comfort of Western standards, go with SENE. From the great experience of staying in the Mbahe Village to their on-mountain professionalism, the folks at SENE are really the best in the field. You can go with more expensive outfitters, and still not get the service, safety and comfort of SENE. Simon has put together a world class trekking company.
Better on mountain marketing! Tell the world what a wonderful outfit you have. Several people on the mountain wanted to know who you were, since we were clearly getting better service.
Now, about SENE. The experience of staying at Simon’s family farm house in the Mbahe Village was priceless. We did several acclimation hikes around the village, and met the people and schoolchildren of the village. What a rich experience. You still had the Western comforts and safety, but you witnessed the culture up close and personal. This experience almost trumped the actual climbing of the mountain. As we walked around the village, we met some of the crew for our trek – porters and cooks. A majority of Simon’s crews come from his village, which creates a family atmosphere among the crew. One of our lead guides was Simon’s older brother, Felix. Also, we had several cousins along as porters and kitchen staff.
- All 3 guides carried trash bags on the outside of their packs, and along the trail, every day, they would pick up trash – any and all trash. They would scamper off the trail, and pick up trash. During the entire 7 days on the Machame route, I never saw any other outfitter staff nor guide pick up trash, even when their own clients “accidently” drop a wrapper.
- Every evening when we came into camp, the staff sang a welcome song to us. They included you in the dancing and singing, which helped your muscles de-compress. Clients from other groups would wander over and take pictures of our group. A nice touch.
- There was no elitism among the staff. The guides and cooks and porters were like family, well, I guess since they are family, that helps. But I witnessed other outfitters where there was a clear pecking order – guides to cooks to porters. As a result, as clients, we never felt the porters were mistreated. We would interact and talk with all of them. Interesting, the guides also carried their own heavy backpacks. No porters were hired for the guides, unlike other groups.
- The safety touches were important – Gamow bag, oxygen canister, advanced large first aid kit. These weren’t optional, but just part of the group equipment. Prior to summiting, the guides gave a demonstration of the equipment, when and how to use it. In addition, SENE uses the Katadyn expedition filter for all of their water use on the mountain.
- As most outfitters on the mountain now, the food was great, plentiful, and fresh. Nothing like having fresh fruit and vegetables at 15,000’.
- With Simon’s personal US and UK experience, he knows what Western clients want and need. He knows how to make you comfortable, while not cheating you of the great African experience it is. The guides spoke impeccable English, which is truly amazing.
Several disappointing aspects of Kilimanjaro. First, the American and British trekking companies who bring along a Western guide. We witnessed several of these outfitters and the clients would always gravitate and socialize with … the Western guide. This is only natural, of course, since you are paying a premium to have the comfort of a Western guide. All of the Western outfitters, of course, are subcontracting to one of the local outfitters, but they hide this from their clients. It was sad to see the clients barely even talk with or socialize with the African guides and porters. Please try to encourage everyone to save money and go with a Tanzanian outfitter – there are many good ones.”
Testimonials | 2008
“If I have to summarize my experience with SENE in one word – it would be AWESOME”. Simon and his people are amazing human beings and I think he has a unique quality of spotting and hiring stellar people. Right from young Farm House Manager Amelia to seasoned Guide Mr. Ayumi; every person was friendly, knowledgeable and extremely helpful. I cannot imagine being with any other group on this hard of a hike. If someone from my friend circle every goes to Kili, be sure that they will go with SENE.”
“I kept saying that SENE always exceeded my expectations. An experience of a lifetime.”
“You are the BEST!!! Do not change anything :)”
“Our guide–Gerald! Seeing the big cats–lions and cheetahs. We did not expect to see so many animals, so many varied species but certainly my expectation was not to see the number of cats we did which was amazing. Possibly we were lucky but I think this involved more than luck. The Balloon flight over the Serengeti was also an amazing experience and I would highly recommend this to anyone.
If I am ever asked about my trip to Tanzania or African safaris without a moment’s hesitation I will convey my amazing experience with SENE and recommend that any prospective traveler make contact with SENE. The professionalism and friendliness of SENE in all dealings was a stand out.
I liked the fact that the company was started by a local, who had local knowledge and a love for the great country. SENE’s mission statement meant a lot to me. I was Impressed that SENE was trying to give back to Tanzania and in particular the Kilimanjaro region and to bring the wonder of this region to visitors from around the world.”
Testimonials | 2007
“The mountain was brilliant. It could not be conquered…. it could only be embraced. I cherished our shared time, giving Kili the respect, care, nurturance and consideration I would a treasured friend. On the night (daybreak) of the summit, I was used up. In a sense, I became one with the mountain and what took me to the top was much greater than me.
The mountain brought together new friendships that exposed the best of humanity. Never a whine, never a complaint, just helping hands extended in all directions. The group became more important than the self. There were no heroes, no winners or losers, just 10 very different and unique men and women…. at their very best.
The mountain was a life source for the 30+ porters and guides who thanked us daily for giving them the opportunity to provide food for their families, schooling for their children. They carried bags, barrels, buckets. tents, on their backs, shoulders and heads. They moved quickly, passing us early on the trail each morning. They set up camp long before we arrived and then filled their hours picking up litter left behind by climbers and crew of other companies. They met us with song and dance as we neared each camp, lifting our daypacks from aching bodies, giving us high 5’s, guiding us to an inclusive circle of music and movement. They made it all happen, and with every challenge of every day…they smiled, our eyes and hands connecting with joy.
The mountain was what brought us to Tanzania, but it was only a backdrop to the total experience of living with the Chagga people in the village of Marangu on the Mtuy farm, carved into the foothills of Mt. Kilimanjaro. I walked with children along the creeks and waterfalls, was beckoned into shacks known as home, marveled with appreciation as women proudly pointed to their lush gardens, newborn goats, bright fabrics, or young child. Old men shared their banana beer, passing the long handled gourd from one to another… to me. I sipped, acknowledged the welcome, and handed it back. I walked through the school with its classrooms of bare walls, open windows (no glass) and lanterns for light, supplies that were limited to a pencil and a small book of blank paper. Desks covered the floor, seating boys and girls in uniform (and some without). Young faces filled the room, hungry to learn, eager to share. In this village was a feeling of hope and possibility. Under the influence of Simon Mtuy there is a sense of empowerment that is slowly replacing hopelessness… the kind of deeply felt (and not always acknowledged) hopelessness whose roots are nourished by short term generosity of the world’s rich…. leaving the Tanzanians dependent, and the rich filled with the foolish belief that they are ‘helping’.
Three Big Highlights: 1) Simply experiencing the culture, the country, the people. The time in Moshi was eye-opening; walks around the village allowed for interaction with real people in their real environments; the time at the school had a huge impact. Along with that, the discussions around the table and on the trail provided more insight to social and political structures, challenges, and dreams. I may have been quiet, but I was soaking it up. Still pondering; still processing. 2) Interaction with climbers, guides and staff on Kili. To me it was humanity at its best. Hikers supported each other, shared, and put others’ needs before their own…over and over and over. Porters and staff were obviously valued, respected and taught to be their best with high expectations coupled with appreciation. The KIND in mankind stood out to me. 3) I have always been athletic; I have never been an athlete. This was my first experience with being totally used up, and finding a strength bigger than me to push on. I came home from Africa knowing a part of me that I had no idea existed. Without SENE and those who were in front and behind me, it would not have happened.”
Testimonials | 2006
“My trip to Tanzania and especially to Kilimanjaro was one of the best experiences I have had. The mountain, the sky, the animals, the people are unlike any experience I can recall. Simon’s strength as a leader and warmth as a human being added to the beauty of this trip. I hope everyone can capture the magic of this wonderful place at least once!”