“I put together this trip for my family and friends for a total of 11 in our party. I have done quite a bit of traveling, and I have to say, this trip was incredible from an organizational stand point. We had absolutely NO problems (Hakuna matata!) for 23 days. From the moment we arrived, to the day we left, we were totally comfortable, safe and well fed! All of the many details of the trip for 11 of us were so well taken care of.
We started with lovely accommodations at Simon’s village, wonderful food, and Simon took care of all the details of the climb to make sure we had all the gear we’d need in case we didn’t have something. He was able to lend extra water bottles, hiking sticks and other provisions that were needed to make sure everyone had what they needed for the trip. DO check over your list of what Simon recommends to bring! He was RIGHT! The only thing I didn’t need was my rain poncho-and that’s a good thing! We really did use everything else he suggested. I would suggest bringing along extra things for the porters if you have extras that you don’t need.
The porters were awesome as was the cooking staff and all the staff for the climb. It is a little daunting to see so many porters carrying your stuff! We didn’t think we’d need to have all that stuff carried for us, but we were pretty happy and glad we trusted the organization to Simon. After questioning the need (of porters carrying all that stuff) before the trip, I wouldn’t change a thing about what they took and about what we carried! The climb was perfectly paced, though we thought we could do it faster, we were happy to have the extra time to acclimatize. Especially after we reached the top and saw all the really horrible-looking people coming up the wrong side! WE did it the right way! THANK YOU, SIMON! You’ll see what I mean!
Next, after a great climb and recovery at Simon’s village with the TOP 10 SHOWER of all times, we went on the game safari. Simon’s choice in itinerary, guides, and time out on the drives was perfect. He was also always very willing to accommodate special requests. We wanted to do some more shopping, and he arranged for us to go to some good places. Don’t forget that you need to bargain and don’t buy stuff at the real touristy spots. Also, if you’re going to Stonetown, you can get just about everything we found at the shopping spots on the safari for a lot less and you don’t have to carry it as long. We saw so many animals on safari and enjoyed our camping experience, though getting to Gibb’s Farm was a wonderful treat! We even got to meet the bush babies that come to visit every evening. The food on the whole trip was fresh and wonderful. Even on the climb we had fresh fruits and vegetables at every meal with the best soups ever!
The last part of our trip with Simon was the trip to Zanzibar. I would avoid the long tour at the museum, though it was an interesting place. I think we were all too tired to appreciate the blow-by-blow and would have been happier to wander through at our own pace, just reading the signs instead of having everything explained. The Matemwe Bungalows were a perfect way to wind down and relax with gorgeous accommodations and wonderful food.
Simon was an incredible leader on the trip. He took individual concerns into account (food preferences, how we were feeling, and any needs we had) as well as having a fun sense of humor. We didn’t see any other people for the first several days of our climb and when we did, we KNEW we had made the right choice in having Simon put together our trip! My husband even left his glasses and when they were found, Simon had them sent back; something we really didn’t expect to happen!”
“Within a few quick downhill steps the peak of the African continent is lost, leaving in view only the last just-passed outcropping. Then one begins to reminisce: We’re returning to that humble, nurturing village environment after passing through so many different thermo climes. We’ve wondered at the mystery of the rainforest, passed through the moorlands, climbed into the arid upper reaches where we’ve been beak to nose with eagles soaring to the heights we pursued one step at a time. We’ve been dazzled as we walked on ashen sands beside glacier ice walls and witnessed rainbows by starlight surrounded by ice crystals suddenly strewn across the landscape. Who could have imagined the solitary sleeping bag musings that occur at 18,000 feet while awaiting the dawn ascent the last 1,200 feet to the peak after sleeping in the crater of the volcano. And yet, the reality of the experience continues for two days of descent to the beauty of Simon’s lodgings perched high on the flanks of the mountain just short of the jungle. Dawns spent on the veranda viewing through banana palm leaves the sun’s rise from the desert floor, up through the clouds below. The entire breadth of the mountain completed on foot over 9 days in accommodations carried and assembled by amazingly agile and gracious porters solicitous of our comfort all the way. So brief was our stay but so lasting has been the thanksgiving for the experience.”
“I want to let you know that when my daughter Nya and I returned from our journeys to Tanzania and Zanzibar and friends and colleagues asked about our trip, It was perfect!” was my immediate response. For me to say that the trip was perfect, they knew that it had to be some kind of wonderful!
It is very easy for me to identify what made our travels with you so grand. First, all the planning that you had done resulted in our trip having a perfect balance with time in your village of Marangu, time on safari and time in Zanzibar – in Stone Town and on the gorgeous coast. For me, the heart of the trip was our time in your village, meeting your family and friends and enjoying the totally relaxing atmosphere with Kili in view! Village life also included drinking the best coffee that I have ever had made from your plants and such delicious food prepared by you and your staff. I can truly say that I had the best cream soups of my life in Marangu.
I know that you did considerable work preparing for our trip, which resulted in everything flowing so smoothly. What is most memorable for me is how each day your graceful and relaxed manner, along with your incredible sense of humor, which I adore, resulted in our feeling absolutely comfortable with whatever our schedule was for that day.
I will always be so thankful to you for all the wonderful African memories that you made possible.”
“Thanks for a wonderful trip!
SENE and its founder Simon Mtuy provide an exciting, imaginative, culture and adventure filled experience to Africa. Whether walking with Simon through his Chagga village on the shoulder of Kilimanjaro or talking with the Masai in their village outside the Serengeti, life is truly African as lived by its people.
SENE’s selection of climbing routes on Kilimanjaro (we did the beautiful, less traveled nine day route across the Shira Plateau), climbing pace and acclimation strategy, endless selection of fresh wholesome foods, medical support, and guide commentary and camaraderie provide a perfect blend of challenge, safety and comfort on the mountain. Just to be extra safe, all members of the team (clients, guides and porters) are checked twice each day to see how well they are acclimating to elevation and for any signs of mountain sickness. This just takes a few minutes but means that everyone stays well or illness is caught early so that the serious stuff in the big medical bag is never needed.
Safety and well being is built into Simon’s trips and nothing is left to chance. The medical kit meets the highest standards (Gamow bag, oxygen, altitude medicines, etc.). Simon Mtuy is a Wilderness First Responder and his guides recently took a 5-day wilderness medicines course similar to that taken by US guides.
Simon, good luck with your business of providing a true African adventure. I will highly recommended SENE Inc, without reservation.”
“I have not taken the time to thank all of you for what turned out to be an incredible trip—just not the one I thought it would be. For twenty years I wanted to go to Africa to see the animals. For five years I wanted to go to Africa to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. I went to Africa and discovered the people!”
As promised, enclosed is a copy of the article about Reed in our local newspaper.
Reed’s Testimonial: Reed, age 12, said in a paper that he wrote for school—’We had a party that night (after the climb) with all of the porters and guides. It was at the party that I realized that I couldn’t have done the climb without them. We were like a team. Our guides and porters, led by Simon, were caring, friendly, smart, and incredible people. All of them each carried between 40 to 60 pounds of gear each day. We carried maybe 10-20 pounds each.
This trip also gave me a lot of confidence in myself. It meant a lot to me knowing that I was one of the youngest people to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. I will always be proud of this accomplishment and never forget the people of Tanzania, Africa.’
Family Testimonial: Our family, Reed (age 12), Alison (age 14), Derry (age 50), and Bob (age 54), had an incredible experience in Tanzania with Simon and S.E.N.E. Simon and his extended family were perfect hosts, incredible guides and porters, and most of all good friends during our stay in Tanzania. The route up to the top of Kilimanjaro was amazing—it was challenging and yet safe. Simon really understands the extreme effects of high altitude and allows plenty of time at the right elevations for adequate acclimatization. Simon and his guides, Felix and Morris, are experienced, well-prepared, and fun to be around. We had three excellent meals each day with much variety to each meal. The tents were always setup and ready when we got to camp. We were also given luxuries like warm water to wash before each meal and hot water bottles to sleep with each night (even at 18,500 feet elevation.) It was the experience of a lifetime for our family and would not hesitate to strongly recommend S.E.N.E. to anyone.”
Wendy F. & Gary T.
A journey to Tanzania is likely to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so we wanted to make sure ours was as special as possible. Fortunately, I had met Simon Mtuy from the village of Marangu through friends and was confident in leaving all of our safari arrangements to him.
It’s a long flight and how nice to see Simon’s smiling face at the Arusha airport! The rest of the week was full of pleasant surprises. Watching the animals and birds in their native habitat was an indescribable thrill, and the landscape was breathtaking.
But there were so many unexpected bonuses. The sojourn in Marangu was a special introduction to a beautiful place, friendly people, and fascinating culture. The food prepared for us throughout the week was wonderfully fresh and tasty, from Simon’s homegrown coffee to Swahili stews. Our guide Gerald was a fount of knowledge on everything from obscure bird species to the geology of the Serengeti. And the glimpses of the culture from Northern Tanzania—local schools, the city of Arusha, Maasai cattle herders, etc.—were fascinating.
Nomadic Experience, Simon’s company, was wonderfully flexible in customizing the trip to fit into our time frame so that we saw and experienced his country in some depth as well as hitting the highlights of the safari circuit. For Northern Tanzania, this is the way to go!”