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 | 2016
One of the best trips of my life! Fantastic organization that works with its clients and strives to enhance the livelihood of the Tanzanians.
Incredible experience made all the better by the expertise, kindness, professionalism and camaraderie of the SENE guides, porters and cooks. You could not be in better hands. Thank you Felix, John and Menasi.
Zach M. [Kilimanjaro Stage Run]
The whole trip was the highlight, friendly group of people both from SENE and the others on the trip. It will be a difficult challenge to beat from a point view of the experience and the views.
Chrissie J. [Kilimanjaro Stage Run]
Being someone who’s life is only partially focused on running, I suspect less so that some of the rest of the group, my passions spread wide to wanting to experience Tanzania, the mountain, the geology, ecology, ecosystem, people and photograph the splendid beauty. My running ability was in no doubt in terms of endurance and distance, but in terms of pace I was a bit behind the curve, often as a result of my desire to feed my other passions aside from running, but then the running speed wasn’t necessarily there to catch up. The guides made every effort to cater for this which I appreciated greatly, but it took my own character to not become disheartened by the continual chasing. I think I managed this, but runners looking to complete the exercise may benefit from a concept of the pace if this could be considered some how to allow them to choose if they’re still up for the challenge.
Our experience was AMAZING. Joseph was a great driver and was sharing a lot of info from the airport to the farm. The porters were so helpful with all of our luggage getting up to the farm and back down.
Wilson was the best! He was very tolerant of our kids in transition (adjusting to the food, jet lag, new to taking the anti malaria pills, etc…). He was so knowledgeable, patient, friendly, warm, and caring. He really made the stay comfortable…especially coming directly from the states.
We had a great last dinner tonight. Kim was surprised by her birthday cake and song.
Everyone is wowed as always. Joseph and Gerald make the best team ever.
Thank you for all of your efforts for our trip! Alexis and I had an absolutely amazing time. We loved our entire climbing crew and made some amazing memories. Augustine, Immanuel, Venice, James, Paulo, Martin, Reimi, Godlisten, Ana, Podensiana, Immanuel, etc. etc. etc. were all fantastic–especially our head and assistant guide! Thankfully Alexis’ Kenyan Swahili has gotten pretty strong, so it was a great crash course for me during the week as Augustine, Immanuel, and the rest of the team showed a strong commitment to teach me as much Swahili as possible. You’ve probably heard many times from climbers about their great experiences with Augustine, and we certainly had a great time! He was an absolutely fantastic and attentive guide. Immanuel was a perfect assistant guide–so attentive, fun, and a great disposition to be around. Everything was perfect. A few instances where the SENE staff went above and beyond:
-A former SENE client (I believe?) Jody Colman, greeted Augustine and Wilson on the night before our climb and invited Alexis and me out to dinner, which was so thoughtful and spoke to SENE’s quality.
-Our fantastic safari driver, Pascal, was able to arrange getting back my gaiters after I accidentally left them under equipment in the SENE car after the climb. He arranged with another car headed to Lake Manyara to bring them–I’m amazed he was able to track them down and return them when we were hours away from Moshi!
-You have been so helpful will all the questions and concerns we had–thank you so much for your quick responsiveness to everything!
Not sure if I’ve mentioned this, but I told Augustine that I picked SENE by researching every company that was a member of the porters association, evaluating their reviews and quotes, and compiling all the information and ranking them (a bit overkill, I know! I have a Google doc to prove it.) I settled on SENE because it was Tanzanian-based with local US contacts, had a strong commitment to porters rights and well-being, and was committed to positive environmental impact. Needless to say, I’m recommending SENE to all my friends who now want to climb. It was reassuring to notice that our porters were properly outfitted and seemed happy and that they were enjoying their time together.
The only suggestion I would have following the climb would be perhaps providing an opportunity, maybe a group dinner or something one night on the mountain, for climbers to get to know the entire crew a bit more. Alexis and I were keen to learn and remember everyone’s names, and thankfully her Swahili flashcards were an easy medium to spend some time connecting with everyone during downtime. Not sure that all clients would be interested, but perhaps having the head guide offer it as an option would be nice. Spending time with our crew during the climb was one of the highlights of the trip, and we even got to see two of our porters down in Moshi after the climb and are happily staying in touch with everyone we can.
I’m sure I could speak for everyone when I say that our Kili was absolutely incredible. It was by far my favorite mountain experience. I’d especially like to highlight all the SENE guides who were always professional, friendly and considerate. I will recommend your company to anyone who is interested in either Kili or the local safaris. Thanks so much for an exceptional trip!
Never felt safer or better taken care of on these trips and this is my second trip with SENE.
By all accounts it was an amazing experience. What a joy to meet Simon! He is a ball of energy.
Marie, Xavier and Paul C.
Nous voilà rentrés (à regret!) depuis une semaine déjà et la Tanzanie est un bien beau pays. Peu importe que nous n’ayons pas atteint le sommet, la balade en soit était superbe, on en a pris plein les yeux, et ça en valait la peine. En tout cas, toute l’équipe a été vraiment adorable, et peut-être reviendra-t-on un jour…
N’hésitez pas à donner notre contact à de futurs clients, nous n’avons que du bien à dire!
PS- Même les repas étaient fantastiques ! C’était presque trop.
Testimonials | 2015
Zachary S. [running trip]
Thanks for helping to organize! The trip was wonderful, and I really enjoyed myself.
I ended up doing a full marathon distance (42km), and was really challenged by the terrain and elevation – but definitely would do it all again if I could!
Many thanks to you and your organization!
I had a truly amazing time in Tanzania visiting a school near Pangani and then the safari with our wonderful guide Gerald. He knows his stuff and is happy to answer our absurd questions. I had never been on a safari before so had no expectations but Dan had been on 5 and thought this was the best. I am sure he will give you a feed back. My grandchildren can’t believe there was no wire between the animals and me. We could have touched the lions (don’t worry we were well in the wagon) but the photos are charming 6 male lions having an afternoon nap! Les hommes!
I will always promote your company as it was well planned and I am now looking for teachers for the Children of Choba who are keen for education.
I truly couldn’t have imagined a better, more well-planned trip.
SENE arranged everything so it was a very stress-free experience. I felt very well cared for, and that the guides were sincerely interested in enriching the experience. I ask a lot of questions…about birds, flowers, the mountain itself, weather, culture etc. and I didn’t feel like they were bothered by me but rather, interested in teaching.
Suggested Improvements: The only thing that comes to mind is the quality of the sleeping bag I rented. It is rated 0 degree, but I think because it is old the integrity had been compromised and I was colder than normal.
SENE was fun, professional and detail-oriented. They made my first visit to Africa stress-free and exceptional! I highly recommend this outfit to anyone wanting to explore Tanzania.
I along with Mickey stayed at the Mbahe Farm for a few nights. Wilson was our host. Hes as you already know a very humble quite knowledgeable man. We had the most wonderful time, hiking, meeting the children- going to their school, relaxing, etc… We even made our own coffee. The staff could not have been more accommodating. I promised Wilson I would send pictures – is there a way for someone to print these out and give them to him. It would mean alot to both of us and tell everyone there we say “hi”. 🙂
Terry B. & Noreen S.
Amazing experience for both of us.
The trip far exceeded our expectations, in large part due to the warmth and friendliness of all the SENE staff. Everyone was very knowledgeable and what’s more, went above and beyond to ensure a safe and memorable time for our family.
Jeff & Nikki A.
From the service and hospitality of our hosts at the farm; Wilson, Johanna and Victor, the professionalism of the mountain team, the leadership of our guides Godson and Jackson, the gourmet food from our cook Venace, and the safari expertise and knowledge from our guide Pascal. All of this exceeded our imagination. Thank you SENE for the memories that will last a lifetime.
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!”
The trip was fantastic and exceeded all expectations. Traveling through the Usambaras on bikes was incredible.
Just finished completing the SENE feedback form, and want to let you know that I am so pleased with literally everything! Could not come up with a single thing that could be improved. I so enjoyed all of my stay in Tanzania that I have already started planning for new adventures… That, however, will have to wait a while! I will do everything I can to spread the word of SENE here in Sweden, and very much hope for
many of my nationals to be as lucky as I was. Maybe one day I will be able to bring some friends
along for a safari, who knows?
Best vacation I’ve ever had 🙂
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!