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 | 2017
Kelsey K. & Jacob J. (Feb)
From the beginning to the end, SENE took care of us and made a very complicated trip go smoothly. Every person we met was so friendly and made the experience very special for our family.
Yeiry M. (Feb)
Hello Tim! I am already in Costa Rica and I am writing to let you know that everything was more than perfect. The food (Banto and Kenja), the guides Honest and Emmanuel, the porters… I have no words. It was the best experience of my life. I always felt that they really care about us and were doing their best to help us accomplish our dream, which we did at the end! 🙂
Mary J. (Feb)
The safari was equally amazing. Our guide, Jared, knows his stuff. We asked to see cheetahs and elephants and he found them for us. And as an added bonus, he knew of a spot where a lioness was sheltering
I will recommend SENE to anyone and everyone who asks, and many that don’t ask! Absolutely
Still astounded and want to go back!
Sabine M. (Feb)
Dear Nathalie, dear Tim, yesterday I came back from climbing up Mt. Kilimanjaro. Lemosho route Crater Route with guide Honest Mattoo. I just can’t believe it: I reached the summit. Friday at 8:00 am Me and two more ladies from our four person group stand on ” the roof of Africa” – it was just a dream and I felt so happy. It wouldn’t be possible without this well trained and sensibel guide Honest. Also John, Kathun and Godlisten helped us. One of our group has to be evacuated- that was also well done. Without big talking about. I felt very safe and I think all of us. The kitchen team did also a great job. Wonderful delicious fresh food. First time for me to eat porridge- now I love it. They allowed me to see how they cook and I hope I’ll not forget it and be able to do it in Germany. The tent team was already there when we arrived- private toilet – how wonderful. Porter who carried my duffle prepared it in my tent: cushion and sleeping bag ready, shoes outside. I arrived and James took my sticks and daypack to my tend. Wonderful. Porters and crew always friendly and helpful- nice songs. Nathalie you choose the right group for me- Asante sana. All was well organized and prepared. It was like a dream was fulfilled- I’m so thankful that I made it. But again many thanks for this wonderful guide Honest – he knew what was the best for me.
I hope you understand what I mean. Sorry my English is not the best.
Testimonials | 2016
Melanie W. (Dec)
The journey Sene took us on was fascinating and unforgetable. The staff and guides were professional, very knowledgeable, fun to be around, and made us feel safe throughout our trip. With Sene you are in good hands!
We absolutely LOVED our trip through Sene.
The Safari was amazing. Joseph was a very good guide with incredible eyes. Being in nature to see wild life in action is an unforgettable adventure.
We also truly enjoyed the hike with Manase in the foothills of the Kilimanjaro as a unique occasion to meet with villagers.
Finally the staff…All of you, best in class.
Thanks to you for working with us and organizing something we will always remember.
Across the board the Sene staff has been amazing!
The Mbahe village is truly a special place, with great service, amazing people and delicious food!:)
Rick S., Harley M., Joseph C., and Aya D. (Dec)
Happy new year Tim! Trip and crew exceeded all expectations.
Ditto rick, everyone from SENE was amazing.
Second! Couldn’t have asked for a better crew or experience.
Truly an epic experience. The whole crew were great! Thank you.
Charles M. (Dec)
Dear Tim, This is JUST TO SAY THANK YOU A MILLION TIMES to you and Mama Gus. I do not think that Mama Goodiel,,our daughters and I, have sufficient words to express how we felt as we game drove in the Manyara NP on Thursday afternoon the 15th and in the Ngorongoro CA on whole day of Friday the 16th and as we drove back to Mahoma on Saturday. Everything was so good, Including the beautiful lodges of Twiga and Kudu at Mto wa Mbu and Karatu respectively.
The schedule was perfect and everything went so well. Tim, we simply want to say Thank you so much again for the perfect arrange and planning.
Marianne Z. (Sep)
My daughter and I had an amazing trip! The Serengeti makes you feel like you are in a movie surrounded by many and every animal imaginable. Kilimanjaro is beautiful! Our guides became our friends, and were extremely knowledgeable. We never worried about our safety or health! The entire trip flowed without worries! We would recommend SENE to all our friends, family and anyone seeking a great experience and adventure in Africa!
David B. (Sep)
In short, everything was perfect. I think that you exceeded the groups’ expectations, especially with the hotel picks. They just kept getting better and better.
Nick P. (Aug)
We would thoroughly recommend SENE. We had an excellent vacation climbing Kilimanjaro with wonderful guides and porters and delicious food. We then had a perfect safari with our expert guide Paschal. A holiday of a lifetime!
Tanzania needs to bring the cost down (not within SENE’s control, I appreciate). The cost of a vacation in Tanzania seems very high compared with other parts of the world.
Cooke H. (Aug)
One of the best trips of my life! Fantastic organization that works with its clients and strives to enhance the livelihood of the Tanzanians.
Chris B. (Sep)
Hello Tim and Simon,
We just arrived home from our trip last night and I wanted to send you both a note to thank you for the wonderful experience.
I cannot imagine it being any better. I simply can’t. From the moment we arrived we were in awe of the treatment we received from every single person we met.
I must admit the logistics of such an extensive tour, in so many different locations, from our arrival and time up the mountain to our time on Chumbe Island, and finally our multiple stops on our safari, had not really been appreciated before I experienced it. The amount of work and effort that you and your team must have gone through behind the scenes is truly amazing and your entire team is to be commended for the flawless execution from beginning to end.
I must make some special note of some very special people.
Upon arriving on the Simon’s farm we were introduced to Wilson. Truly a beautiful soul who became our teacher in preparation for the mountain on the first couple days before our climb. The approach that SENE takes by having us arrive on the farm and be greeted by such a warm and welcoming caretaker is a unique and wonderful approach to allowing us to rest from the long flight that we appreciated from the moment we arrived. We loved our time with Wilson and are very happy to have had the pleasure to spend some time with him and the others on Simon’s farm.
Our guides on Kilimanjaro… Jackson Mtui and Manase Lyimo truly were inspiring and I can’t say enough about them. They were always there to make us smile and laugh when times were particularly tough, teach us about our surroundings and encourage us all the way up the mountain no matter what the conditions, our mood, how tired they were, we were, whatever… I’ve travelled to many, many places around the world and had opportunity to meet lots of people along the way. This was different. These people became friends and I really hope to keep in touch with them for a long, long time to come.
Our entire camping crew and porters… In my life, I have never, ever seen a harder working crew of people. I literally wept when I arrived at camp on the second day, after a very tough 6 hour hike, when I was greeted by them singing songs and cheering us on. You had told me before we arrived how hard they worked but I simply was not prepared for what I saw and I don’t know if anyone could ever appreciate it unless they experience it for themselves just how much they do for us and how difficult their job is. My family and I will forever be changed by this experience and I am grateful to each and every person that put their heart and soul into getting us up that mountain.
Our safari driver Paschal… He is truly a fantastic guide. There was not a plant, bird, or animal that he did not know instantly and that he couldn’t speak about in great detail. He knew exactly where to go in order to make sure we saw everything possible and believe me we did… in many, many cases up close and personal!! From a wildlife perspective I don’t think the tour could have been more complete. From the excitement of lions, leopards and cheetahs on the hunt, seeing herds of hundreds zebra, wildebeest, buffalo, elephant and giraffe migrating across the Serengeti, Rhinos in Ngorongoro Crater, hippos sunbathing in mud pools, crocodiles slithering through swampy waters, and green mamba tree snakes hanging from the branches of an acacia we experienced it all. All of this was made possible by Paschal’s keen eye for finding hidden sites and his incredible knowledge of the surroundings. We’ll never forget him and you should know he’s a spectacular guide for anyone who appreciates learning about the beauty of the wildlife and landscape we were there to observe.
I could go on for hours but I’ll leave it there. We truly do appreciate everything that SENE did to make this by far the greatest experience of my life and that of my family’s. You have set the bar impossibly high for any other tours that we may take in the future as we visit other places around the globe. That said, my wife is already poking me to make another trek up the mountain so we might be contacting you again in the not so distant future.
Thank you, so very much.
Sheryl S. (Jul)
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.
Angie H. (Jul)
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.
Marie, Xavier and Paul C. (Jan)
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!