WHAT THEY SAY
Reviews and comments from previous guests
Comments from former clients about their trips with African Outdoor Expeditions.
“From day one when we arrived in Arusha, Allan and his crew went out of their way to make sure that we had everything we needed. Part of the fun was getting to know Allan, the other guides, and our always-helpful group of porters throughout our seven days on Kilimanjaro. They were truly a joy to be with, and our perseverance through the arduous days and frosty nights was due in no small part to their company and support. Moreover, their knowledge of the mountain helped turn the trip into a learning experience, which made it all the more enjoyable.”
“I never thought that I would one day make it to Africa, let alone climb its tallest mountain. Now I hope that I can go back for a second visit at some point, and if it involves mountains, treks, or safaris, my first call will be to AOE.”
–Matt Murphy, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
“Many thanks to Allan and his great team for making our climb of Kilimanjaro such a success!. From great planning and attention to detail, to delicious food and timely warm drinks, to the porters’ and guides’ endless energy and support, it was all perfect. You helped us focus on our fundraising goal for the Kucetekela Foundation (www.kucetekelafoundation.org) and reach the summit while enjoying the beautiful mountain and the great company of the group. I couldn’t have imagined a better guiding company and team!”
–Ann Glotzbach, New York, USA
“The climb was a wonderful experience and I wanted to thank you, Raymond, and especially all of the porters for helping us. I’ll definitely be recommending you to next year’s team.”
–Olga Wrezel, London, Ontario, Canada
“I am a highly satisfied client of AOE. The preparation and implementation of the Mt. Kilimanjaro climb were flawless – explanation of each day’s hike, nutritious food and excellent leadership on the mountain. AOE’s guide set a pace which achieved every day’s objectives within the physical limits of the group. The age range of 13 to 63 resulted in many levels of ability. All 13 participants achieved the summit!”
–Tom Barry, New York
“The climb was fantastic. It was definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever done but there we all were at Uhuru Peak staring down at Africa. Summit day was killer on the legs and body but you just had to keep on going and push through it. Raymond really made it easier with all his knowledge and encouragement.”
“You have a great country and great people, definitely a time in my life I will cherish. I also think you run a top-notch company. Everyone on the climb was very nice and helpful and I’ll be recommending you guys for safari and Kilimanjaro to next year’s team.”
–David Vladimir Dudok, London, Ontario, Canada
“Allan, thank you for a terrific vacation. It exceeded my expectations in every way, and I will cherish the memories of both the Kili and the safari experiences.”
–D. Lamar Forsyth, Chicago, Illinois USA
“I just wanted to say thank you for a great experience. You do this very well and if you ever need me to provide a recommendation, you can count on me. All of your people were very accommodating and I know this has to be difficult as they have to deal with many different personalities. You and your people made the whole experience one that we will never forget.”
–Rob Vogel, Chicago, Illinois USA
“Our student health team (www.medoutreach.ca) has ascended Kilimanjaro with Allan and AOE for the past three or four years. Admittedly, his company is what you would call a “higher-end” company. What I mean, is that they do not try to pinch a few dollars here and there to be $20 less than everyone else on the street. I was hesitant to go with them this year because I felt that the luxuries that last years team described (having a portable eating table and chairs, and a private chemical toilet for our group) were silly. It really felt to me like that would make the experience less rewarding.”
“These ideas certainly changed once the trek began. This climb actually proved to be a very, very difficult activity for all of us – particularly on summit night when the temperature dropped down to a bone-chilling -25 C (with the wind chill) and the effects of altitude sickness started to set in. Allan had made sure that all of our equipment was well prepared in advance of our climb. it proved to be a huge difference that night. This was a crucial aspect of climbing the mountain.”
“Even our porters were used very effectively – not just for carrying items up the mountain, but some of them were assigned to doing a number of specific tasks such as setting up our tents and sleeping mats and bags in advance of our arrival, bringing warm water for us to wash with, and bringing drinks in the morning. And not just any porters are used – these guys actually prefer to work with AOE.”
“I want to finish by saying that we climbed Mount Meru a month before with another company that was recommended by a few people. We had a great time there. But after having climbed Kilimanjaro with AOE, I must say that the two experiences are incomparable – and this is probably 97% because of the company that we went with. Allan understands the meaning of “customer service” – an idea that did not appear anywhere else in our almost three months in Tanzania!”
–Adam Pite, London, Ontario, Canada
“I’d like to say again how much we appreciated your assistance with our trek – everything was first-rate, the crew was extremely efficient and a lot of fun to be with and we had a wonderful adventure that we will never forget.”
“As well as our summit pictures, I’ve included one of Raymond delivering his favorite encouragement between Arrow Glacier and the summit: “Piece of Cake!”..The long day up the Western Breach was hard, but Ray and Fredy kept us going and kept us cheerful. The next day, when I was dragging on the way down, I so much appreciated Fredy’s encouragement and support.”
“All the crew did a great job, but I’d like to particularly recognize Raymond – he is a true professional. Also, you have a real gem in the two guys who carried Barney’s and my kit – one of them was Idirisa and the other one, Shakai, was outstanding, a first-class guide in the making if he chooses to continue this career.”
“Thanks again for everything.”
–Greg Horne, California USA
“I couldn’t have had a better experience. Allan was a wonderful host who went out of his way to make us comfortable. The trip was full of surprises and we all had a great time. I can’t wait to go back. This was the trip of a lifetime and Allan made all the more special for us. This was first class all the way!
–Lesa Touger, Birmingham, Alabama USA
“I was very pleasantly surprised by the outstanding service and quality of experience which was a direct result of the personable and professional guides you provided for the trip. I wish that I had been better prepared to tip the crew. ”
–Janet Collins, Birmingham, Alabama USA
“Climbing Kilimanjaro was an INCREDIBLE experience – there’s nothing like it in the world! I found myself on the mountain with my old college friend who had reminded me that we dreamed of climbing Kili 27 years ago. Well, we finally did it and reaching the summit with Randy ranks right up there with the greatest things I’ve ever done. I’m also in the process of launching a new business venture in Atlanta, and climbing Kilimanjaro was a terrific way to kick off that adventure as well.”
“I cannot imagine a better guide service than Allan Philemon and his crew provided. Allan KNOWS the mountain, having climbed it 115 times. He paced our ascent perfectly and seemed to know exactly how to coach us along the way. His equipment and food (Joseph is the “master mountain chef”) were absolutely the best! More importantly, we enjoyed our expedition so much because Allan and his men are such good people, and now good friends.”
–Ric Felker, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
“I wanted to write a note expressing my sincere thanks for a truly unbelievable trip. Your organization from top to bottom is accommodating, well-run, detail oriented, and most importantly, staffed with the best people. Every person with whom I interacted, from Gerald and Elkana on the safari to Victor, Justin, Kambona and several of the porters I met on the climb were interesting, intelligent, and working hard to ensure my comfort, safety, and a good time.
“Gerald was always willing and happy to go longer and later on each safari day than we could last. Even though he was working and we were relaxing, we were always the ones to call the day’s end.
“As to Victor, he was responsible for my health and well-being on a difficult climb to impressive and potentially dangerous altitudes. I felt comfortable in his care throughout. His pacing, awareness of conditions, awareness of client’s conditions, and overall expertise and experience made what was a challenging climb for me into a successful and safe accomplishment I will never forget. Justin and Kambona as well, were a pleasure to be with, fun to talk to, and obviously concerned with our well being and working hard to make sure everything was safe and enjoyable. Even our porters, with whom we played cards most nights, were obviously the best on the mountain. They were engaging, happy and worked well as a team.
“I could not have been happier with your choice of itinerary, food, lodging or any of the many decisions you made concerning the details of the trip.”
–Dan Traub, San Francisco, California, USA
“AOE is ideal for any couple or group looking for an eco-friendly, ‘off-the-beaten-track’ safari and/or mountain. experience with an emphasis on comfort and safety. We did 16 of 20 days in tents and yet felt pampered and invigorated the entire time. Our vegetarian-chicken-fish requirements were no problem for AOE’s amazing cooks. On Kilimanjaro, AOE specializes in the 9-day, scenic, crowd-avoiding Lemosho Glades-Western Breach route which, with its extra acclimatization days, is much more likely to get you to the top. It was no accident that on several occasions other trekkers turned to AOE’s NOLS-trained, safety-conscious guides for advice on their own route.
“On the underrated 4th tallest African peak, Mt. Meru, AOE also provided us with the ideal experience. Our daily radio contact with Allan’s ‘home office’ (including from both Meru and Kili’s Summits) reminded us of his attention to detail and safety.
“We saw and experienced ‘everything’, paid a very reasonable amount, had great fun, learned much, and comfortably and safely got close to all the big wildlife and to the tops of the peaks. . .AOE’s staff gets most of the credit.”
–Dave Linthicum and Peggy Brosnan, Bristol, Maryland, USA
“My husband, two friends and I recently climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro with African Outdoor Expeditions (AOE). This was definitely the most challenging holiday adventure any of us had ever attempted. Allan was wonderful from the planning stage right through the entire trip (we also did our Safari with AOE). All four of us were a bit nervous at the start of the climb. We realized very quickly we were in great hands with our guide Victor as well as all the other competent staff of AOE. ..The concern for our health, comfort and safety not only made the trip enjoyable but a great success with all four of us making it to the top in good health and spirits.
“The one-week safari after our climb was just as incredible. Our Safari guide Gerald was very well informed and was a wealth of knowledge when it came to the animals and birds. Allan and all the people at AOE helped make this trip even more spectacular than I ever imagined.”
–Ilene Schmaltz, Calgary, Canada
“Allan was, and is a truly amazing human being, with a big heart and a smile so full of contagious joy and enthusiasm. Little did they believe that the seven women they met at the beginning of the trail for our climb would ever make it to the top!. With Allan’s encouragement, compassion, and expert guidance we all were able to fulfil our dream of celebration at the summit. Allan stayed with us in the U.S. during his visit a year later and has become a lifelong friend. Someday I will bring my children to Africa, to Allan and his African Outdoor Expeditions. ..It still seems like a dream. I’m just grateful that it came true and that Allan is now, and will always be, a part of our lives.”
–Joanne Schilling, Bellevue, Washington, USA
“We have done adventure travel for over 25 years. Our experience with Allan Philemon on Mount Kilimanjaro was by far the finest trip we’ve taken. Allan is an expert climbing guide who instils confidence in his clients. Meticulous attention was paid to the food we ate, our general physical condition, and the acclimatization process. Allan also has extraordinary people skills that allow him to move easily between conversations with his clients and conversations with his staff. He has a marvellous sense of humour and a wealth of knowledge about the plants and animals in the Kilimanjaro area. ..Our safari with Allan was exciting, educational, and very well planned. The meals were outstanding and the accommodations were very comfortable.
We highly recommend African Outdoor Expeditions.”
–Marilyn and Terry Diamond, USA
“My trip to Kilimanjaro and the Serengeti was one of the best I’ve taken!!”
–Dr. Paul Germeraad, USA
“My wife and I took our honeymoon in Tanzania, which included a climb of Kili and a game safari with African Outdoor Expeditions. I coordinated the entire adventure via daily e-mails with Allan – he was very responsive to my many questions and concerns. Allan put together a fantastic custom trip itinerary which met our time and budget constraints. The climb was fantastic (on the Shira route, we saw no other people until we reached the summit!), and the AOE staff were superb. Our guides were very experienced, having summited over 300 times between the two! ..And, they were very knowledgeable regarding plants, animals, geography, and culture – we had many interesting conversations while climbing!
“The game safari was also a custom trip, led by Allan himself. His knowledge of local custom, history, flora and fauna added much to the experience. He was also able to show us “non-commercial” aspects of the country through his many connections and his vast experience. All told, it was a wonderful experience we won’t soon forget. We hope to get back to Tanzania again someday.”
–Kevin Orth, USA
“I travelled to the top of Kili and on Safari with Allan, an experience that changed my life. In a world where many things were new and different to me, it was invaluable to have someone who was so knowledgeable and empathetic, to ensure I left Africa with the richest experience and memories possible. Whether I had questions about nature, geology, technique or culture, Allan was either first with an answer or resourceful in finding information. In many situations, Allan was able to introduce us to local people and to enrich our tourism experience with insight into the REAL African adventure, the life and experiences of the people who see it all the time. ..My life-changing trip is closely associated with the companionship that Allan showed me as our guide. It would not have been the same without him.”
–Richard Tait, USA
“Allan. is definitely ‘the man’ for Tanzania. He did an incredible job seeing to it that no details were left forgotten and that the trip was made as safe & comfortable as possible. Africa is an amazingly magical place and Allan helped me experience it.”