June 22, 2023
Jambo and Karibu to Zanzibar! What a day of travel and fun! Today’s LOD’s, Eddie and Keira, woke the group up for an early breakfast just in time to see the sunrise. Claire even pointed out some hot air balloons in the distance…it was a sight to see! A breakfast of chocolate-covered pancakes and donuts fueled us for the day ahead. We packed our bags with Tony offering to take a good amount of the group gear, which was a huge help! We said our Asante’s (thank you’s) to our Maasai Warrior guides, Jackson and James, before heading through the Maasai Mara Reserve and to the airstrip for take-off! But of course, it wouldn’t be a complete end to this part of the trip without Hardy being on aux and spotting a few giraffes. We boarded our small plane and the group worked together to comfort Ryder and Keira’s nerves! But a meal and a short 35-minute plane ride put everyone’s minds at ease! Once arriving back in Nairobi, we waited for our next flight to Zanzibar! Claire and Nate shared some fun stories, which made the time really fly! The next thing we knew, we were boarding our final flight. We landed in no time, got through customs, and grabbed our bags, but not before Eddie showed the group how many bags he could carry by himself. We were greeted by our Zanzibar guide, Safe, who showed us to our bus and answered all our questions about the island! The group was starting to get hungry but Charlie was nice enough to share some of his snacks with the group. We took an hour-long bus ride and before we knew it, we were greeted with some juice by smiling faces at our hotel! We had some time before dinner so Dillon suggested we take advantage of the pool for a bit! Kacie and Anna Holt had some fun playing pool games and interacting with the other KEZ group also staying here a night! Dinner was a four-course meal of delicious food and we ended the day with Moonup on the beach!
First day of SCUBA!!!! We started our big day with a huge breakfast of pastries, pancakes, crepes, potatoes, and juice! Kacie and Claire both made a delicious “dessert for breakfast” using crepes and chocolate syrup! We had morning huddle led by our LOD’s, Dillion and Ryder. After meeting up with one of our Scuba outfitters, we took a short walk down the beach to the Scuba shop while admiring the beautiful sunrise. Everyone who was getting their Open Water certification got fitted for their gear and got busy right away! Since Kiera and Anna Holt were already certified, they went on a FUN dive with Nate and a dive master! The water was “Powerade blue” as Anna Holt put it! It was truly some of the prettiest water we’ve ever seen. The open water cert groups absolutely rocked it! One of the instructors said that was the fastest he had been able to get through day 1 of lessons! We all got back to the hotel and had a delicious 4-course meal ending with Ice Cream!!! We all got on a bus and headed to the famous Stone Town (where Freddie Mercury is originally from), while listening to the best tunes put on by DJ Charlie! We had a blast exploring the streets, learning about the history and culture of Stone Town, and trying the best gelato in town! Tony and Hardie got some hilarious matching shirts at a gift shop that they are planning on wearing together tomorrow! We got back to the hotel for dinner after a very eventful day. Eddie had his side of the table rolling with laughter from all the stories he was telling. Dinner was delicious and we all ended the day with Moonup under the stars!
Polle Polle and Jambo from Zanzibar! We started our morning with a delicious breakfast featuring crepes and eggs made to order! Claire’s morning started even earlier with a book on the beach during sunrise! Dillon and Hardy encouraged the group to sit on the beach a relax a little before heading off to our scuba dive site! We sipped on coffee and basked in the sun then made the short walk over to Scubafish! We were immediately separated into our groups: two open water groups, Nate and Keira getting their advanced certification, and master diver Anna Holt! We packed up our gear and hopped on the buses to our scuba spot! We unloaded off the buses and hopped onto our boats! Luckily, our group was just split between two boats going out to sea! Kacie and Ryder were pros at getting their gear ready on the boat and impressed the dive instructors! Before we knew it, we were being flipped backwards into the water and ready to dive! Eddie conquered some pre-dive jitters and was such a natural! Those of us completing the open water certifications did two dives today with a refreshing and well-deserved break between. The guides prepared a plate of fruits and baked goods! Master diver Anna Holt recommended the donuts, so naturally we all got them! We went 14 meters deep on our second dive and saw plenty of cool fish underwater! Keira and Nate, completing their advance, even saw an eel during their dive! Time flew and soon enough, we were back on the boat and at the hotel ready to feast on another four course meal! By the time we got back, the other group had so kindly waited for us to eat — Dillon, Charlie, and Tony were laying out and soaking up the nice weather! After lunch, we boarded our tour bus to visit a spice farm! Our guide, Seif, has told us all about how crucial spices are to Zanzibar exports, and the island is even known as “Spice Island.” Seif showed us around the farm, having us guess the names of scents the leaves he handed us! Kacie was on fire with her guesses — she must be a spice pro! Tony picked up a couple of cool fruits along the way while Dillon tried some spicy ginger! It was a blast! We all got to try some perfumes that are homemade on the farm — Ryder even bought some to bring home! The guides gave us some crowns and hats made from palm tree leaves before we left! Hardy made sure to pose for some pictures and Eddie happily jumped in! Before we knew it our time at the spice farm was up and we headed back to the hotel with Tony on aux — country music of course! We had another lovely four-course meal when we got back and went straight into Moonup. We had a little treat after when a musician was playing in the lobby and everyone started to spontaneously dance! Claire, Eddie, and Keira even went up to do some Karaoke while Charlie used the go pro to capture every second of their rendition of “Diamonds.” Needless to say, it was a fabulous end to an amazing day and we can’t wait for two more just like it!
Hello from Zanzibar!!
Scuba Certification day!!! Claire and Carter started their day off with a sunrise walk on the beach while Ryder and Kacie watched the sunrise together sipping on some delicious Zanzibarian coffee! We all had a hearty breakfast together then walked down the beach to our Scuba Outfitter for the final day of our certification course! The weather was phenomenal and the water was its lovely blue as usual. Anna Holt joined Keira and Nate for the advanced course and they all dove down to 100ft! Far out! Everyone else had a great day of scuba while also indulging in the delicious bread and fruit our outfitter provided on the boat. We all met back up for lunch at the hotel and shared stories from our underwater adventures! Tony shared how his group had an underwater dance party in celebration of getting their open-water cert! Today was a day of relaxation after lunch! Everyone found a comfortable spot on the white sand and read, listened to music, and napped! Dillion and Hardy started an intense game of “chicken fights” in the pool during this time! Eddie got most of the group in the pool for a classic game of categories. Charlie had the group dying with laughter as we all sat around and talked before dinner started. We had a lovely 4-course meal ending with ice cream of course! We finished off the day with a touching Moonup on the beach underneath the star-lit sky of gorgeous Zanzibar!
Wow, the time has flown and suddenly it’s our last day in Zanzibar and we are nearing the end of our amazing adventure! Today was an early day, but the kids made the most of it with a delicious breakfast full of crepes and pancakes! We headed to the dive shop and jumped right into the boat! It’s even like they knew it was our last day because all 12 of us got to go in the same boat! During our first dive, Nate made sure to get some awesome underwater footage of scuba diving pros, Keira and Anna Holt! Meanwhile, my group of newly certified divers (myself included!) explored more of the reef and found some pretty cool things under the sea! Hardy ended up finding multiple underwater eels while Kacie and Ryder got to see two octopuses! Dillon enjoyed his time sitting and laying on the ocean floor. It’s no wonder scuba diving is popular here! While some of us were scuba-ed out, Dillon, Tony, Charlie, Hardy, Kacie, and Ryder were ready to go for another dive — their last one of the trip — but an incredible one! The sun even crept its way out of the clouds as we wrapped up our dive and made a perfect tanning spot for Eddie, Keira, and Anna Holt — so naturally, the whole group had to join in (but not without some sunscreen). We had a lovely boat ride back to the coast and were picked up by the bus to head back to the dive center. It was a long morning of diving so lunch was AMAZING! We just can’t get enough of these four courses. Afterward, Claire took advantage of the sunshine by grabbing her book and laying out — a move quickly followed by most. Nate and I gathered everyone for a team meeting where we surprised them with our plan to have our banquet dinner in Stonetown! Everyone got ready — Eddie made sure to squeeze in a beach nap — and before we knew it, Saif picked us up and we were on our way to celebrating our last full day with each other! A ride full of Tony’s country music aux got us the entire way there! We walked around a bit before heading to the Maru Maru Terrace Hotel Restaurant! Charlie was our photo man of the evening as everything posed against a beautiful Zanzibar sunset! Claire suggested we say our first impressions of each other during dinner! Our bus ride back singing Disney throwbacks and a beach Moonup was a sweet way to end our last day in Zanzibar!
Unforgettable to say the least!
As our final day together here in Africa comes to a close, we spent so much time reflecting on what an amazing experience we all shared. Ryder, Anna Holt, Claire, and Charlie started their day with a walk on the beach to soak in one last beautiful Zanzibar sunrise! We all came together for breakfast and continued to share laughs over stories from our trip. We had morning huddle led by our lovely LOD’s, Tony and Kacie. Our final lunch ended with, you guessed it, ice cream!! We packed up all our things and hit the road for the airport to head back to Nairobi! Dillion kept the vibes high on the bus ride DJ’ing for us! After a few smooth flights, we were in Nairobi and on the way to a delicious banquet dinner! The food was amazing, and Eddie got two plates of dessert because why not!!! Keira and Hardie had the group laughing so hard at the dinner table reminiscing on our time on the safaris and scuba diving. We had our final Moonup which was sad, happy, and special. We said our “see ya laters” at the airport and ended what was a magical trip. KEZ 1A signing off.
Thank you for sharing your amazing kids with us,
Carter and Nate
June 19, 2023
Another big day in the books! This morning we woke up to a beautiful Kenyan sunrise! Claire and Charlie, our LOD’s, led the group in morning huddle and got everyone ready for the long day ahead. We had a delicious breakfast where Eddie had is usual whopping serving of breakfast beans! Our morning activity for the day was to visit a cattle farm and the Ol Pajeta operations HQ. It was about a 40min drive and Keira kept the AUX in the Land Rover on FIRE! We interacted with some amazing people at the operations HQ. We then headed to the cattle farm and learned about different procedures that the workers do to keep their cattle healthy. Hardy and Dillion kept us entertained with their rendition of “Working at the Carwash” while we watched and learned how the cows were cleaned. Tony and Hardy helped some of the workers build new cattle fences that can hold a total of around 300 cows! We headed back to camp and said our goodbyes to our amazing guides that we have had the pleasure of spending so much time with over the past few days. Once we were all packed up, we hit the road to Lake Niavasha. Anna Holt and Ryder taught everyone in their van’s how to make bracelets out of yarn and everyone got to work! Kacie used this long drive wisely and caught up on some much needed sleep! We arrived to an amazing campsite and headed over to get some lunch. We had some DELICIOUS food and the group came back to camp and played some card games before dinner. We had so much fun with the first annual KEZ 1A Platonic Prom dinner party! Everyone drew numbers for dates and got ready before the guys all picked flowers for their dates and escorted them to dinner! We of course had to take corny prom pictures! We all had a delicious dinner and ended the night with a beautiful Moonup around the fire by Lake Niavasha!
The group journeyed to another beautiful destination today… Oseki Maasai Mara! Everyone got moving with an extra pep in their step thanks to our wonderfully made breakfast at Lake Carnelly! The LOD’s, Hardy and Keira led us in our morning huddle before we hit the road to Southern Kenya! We stopped at a cool spot to use the restrooms and the cold sodas were just too enticing. Charlie even lent some of his group members some money to buy sodas! Ryder showed us the group’s new favorite game, wavelength, along the way while Eddie queued up the aux with everyone’s favorite throwbacks. Claire and Tony kept the other Land Cruiser entertained with an endless supply of country music for the road trip. Once we arrived we were greeted by several colorfully and traditionally dressed Maasai warriors who graciously helped carry our bags. Our assorted lunch of meatballs and potatoes made the group feel right at home. What a way to kick start our four day adventure with the Maasai! The ground had some downtime before our afternoon activities so Dillon and Anna Holt led the way in teaching a new group card called “ask to answer.” Time truly does fly fast when you’re having fun because the next thing we knew we were headed out on a bush walk with some of the Maasai Mara warriors! We truly got a lay of the land with a spectacular view of the reserve. Our guide, Sopia Luca, taught us all about what it takes to become a Maasai warrior and even got us started in the process of becoming one! The boys ventured into the woods with our other guide James to fetch some spears while the girls stayed back to learn all about the culture of women in the Maasai tradition. It wasn’t long before we heard the boys approaching with their spears and song ready to show us how far they can throw. But don’t worry the whole group had a go and Kacie even beat out some of the boys. Our next Maasai warrior-in-training task was seeing how big we could jump! In Maasai culture, the male that could jump the highest was seen as being successful and a “lady’s man.” Eddie impressed us all with his jump and even gave some of the warriors a run for their money! Next we learned about archery and even got to give it a shot. Both Anna Holt and Hardy were naturals at it! During the rest of the walk, Keira showed off her newfound Maasai knowledge and answered many of the trivia questions! We even got to climb a tree and Dillon got the highest! After a long afternoon the group got some downtime. Claire, Anna Holt, and Carter talked all things Taylor Swift, while Kacie and Ryder made some hot chocolate and afternoon coffee! We ended the day with a delicious dinner which Charlie and Tony kept the group cackling throughout. A sunset bonfire and Moonup was the perfect end to an even more perfect day!
Sopa!!What another amazing day with the Maasai Mara tribe. We woke up to the sky painted with a beautiful sunrise. Breakfast was a delicious assortment of homemade cinnamon doughnuts, sausage & peppers, fruit, toast, and of course BEANS! The LODs for the day, Dillion and Anna Holt, lead us in morning huddle right after breakfast. Our activity for the morning was a community visit to a Maasai Mara village to learn about their culture and way of life. It was truly amazing and so much fun. We made the hike over to the village and were met with song and dance! Eddie impressed the Maasai with their jumping ability which they value greatly in their culture. Kacie showed off her dance moves moves with with the women of the village as they sang a traditional chant. Once we entered the village we were completely immersed into Maasai culture as we learned how to start a fire with only sticks, how to cook the traditional Kenyan dish Ugali, and how the Maasai women build their homes. An important part of the home building process is to spread a mixture of cow manure, dirt, and water on the side of the homes with your bare hands and Keira & Hardy stepped up to the plate to help and show the group how it’s done! Claire and Ryder had a blast interacting with the small children in the village and playing games with them. We had a bead making class with the women of the village and everyone made their own bracelets in traditional Maasai fashion. We then made the hike out to the local well to help the village carry jugs of water back. Charlie absolutely killed this carrying the large jug using a band around his head. This was such an eye opening experience to understand how far the villagers have to go everyday for water. After lunch back at camp we participated in a service project repairing some of the roads up to the camp. After service we all played a huge game of soccer against the people of the Maasai tribe and it was incredible. Team moondance took the win in the end with the help of a few goals from Tony! We had a delicious, well earned dinner and finished the night with a great Moonup.
Jambo again!Another great day in the books! We started our morning early to get a head start on our safari or the Maasai Reserve! Our LOD’s, Claire and Charlie, got everyone out of bed and ready for breakfast! We filled up on donuts and coffee before hitting the road into the reserve! With Hardy and Ryder on aux, it was all good vibes even for how early it was! During the safari we got up close and person with giraffes, elephants and even… lions!!! Keira spotted a pride of lions with her binoculars and it was our first out of two pride sightings! Charlie made sure to get some awesome pictures with his camera to send to everyone at the end of the trip. Kacie and Anna Holt posed with the lion cubs in the background for the perfect picture! We thought it couldn’t get any better but boy were we wrong. Dillon spotted out our first Cheetah sighting of the trip and we made sure to get plenty of photos! Soon after we found a shady place to stop for lunch nearby a tower of giraffes! Ryder kept us entertained during lunch with plenty of funny jokes. Our guide Lawrence and Sopia Lucas taught us a traditional dance before getting back on the road. The rest of the car ride was filled with Tony’s showing us some of his favorite Latino songs! Once we got back to camp everyone, tired from the day’s activities, took a Power Nap before playing some ground games! Tony, Hardy and Eddie were the main participants in a “dream” game that we showed them and the whole group got a kick out of it! We continued to play games to pass the time while Anna Holt was gracious enough to bring the group snacks! Kacie, Keira, and Claire got some great sunset pictures and Eddie couldn’t help but jump in! We had another fantastic dinner before ending the day with a campfire Moonup!
Today is our last day with the Maasai Mara tribe 🙁 But we made sure to make it a good one! Our day started off with our LOD’s, Tony and Kacie, going around to all the tents and waking everyone up. Then they led us in morning huddle before having a delicious breakfast! Our activity before lunch was to go around the area and pick up trash and plastic for the community to reuse and recycle then head over to a local school to interact with the students! Before leaving camp Hardy and Eddie made sure to get everyone pumped up with some music on the speaker! We played a game to see which duo could collect the most trash before going to the school and team Anna Holt & Kacie took the win! We got to the school and all sat down with students and shared lessons, thoughts, and ideas! Keira and Ryder were helping students with math problems while Dillion was sharing thought with other students about his favorite subject, History! We came back to camp for a much needed lunch and relaxed a little before heading back to the school. The students preformed traditional Maasai song a dance routines for us and even got all the girls to join in! We then played an intense game of soccer to end our day at the school! Claire won MVP as our goalie saving SO many shots that came her way! We had a FEAST for dinner as it was our last night at this camp! With our belly’s full and our hearts happy, we needed the night with a touching Moonup before going to bed for some much needed rest before a big travel day to Zanzibar tomorrow!
Nate and Carter
June 13, 2023
After a long day of traveling, we all woke up to a wonderful buffet breakfast before departing Wildabeest for The Stables at Ol Pejeta. The kids all received their Moondance swag and alumni got an extra gift — Ryder’s fifth year gift is incentive enough to come back for more years. We split up into our two land cruisers and were on our way. Carter’s car with Kacie, Dillon, Charlie, Keira, and Anna Holt had a blast learning so much more about each other, some things — Kacie’s favorite queso being Chipotle’s — kept the group entertained. Nate’s car with Eddie, Tony, Claire, Ryder, and Hardy kept the energy and excitement high with lots of riddles. Eddie managed to solve the classic penguin Moondance riddle in world record timing. Needless to say everyone was impressed. Once we arrived at Ol Pejeta we drove through the park to reach our home for the next few nights, The Stables. During the 15 minute drive, we were floored by how massive the property is and even got to see some Elephants and Zebras on the way! We were greeted with lunch and dove right in. Dillon had plenty of stories to entertain the group while we ate! We put our things away and were off to our first game drive. Kacie and Claire had great eyes and even spotted some rhinos in the distance. We saw four out of the big five animals. Our guides took us to the Chimpanzee Sanctuary where we learned about Ol Pejeta’s rehabilitation and protection of monkeys taken from their natural habitats. Charlie made sure to capture some great pictures to send to the group of the Chimps. Soon we were back on the safari. Tony and Claire were jamming out to some country music while keeping a look out for animals. The guides showed us the Rhino Cemetery where we learned about why they are hunted. Just when we thought the drive couldn’t get any cooler, we stumbled upon the lions and their cubs playing in the grass. After we headed back to the stables and even saw a herd of elephants walking along. It was so cool that even Tony used his last disposable of the day on it! The group hung out before dinner and Eddie showed us some pretty impressive soccer skills. The group decided to play a big round of spoons, but without any spoons Hardy suggested using grass. The game was intensive with Ryder and Anna Holt being especially good. Ryder won right in time to get some dinner! It was a perfectly clear night and we found the best spot for Moonup! Dillon, Hardy and Tony had the group hysterical as they told funny memories. The LODS for the next day were chosen to be Ryder and Tony! After some long travel days everyone was especially ready for bed.
Wow! What an amazing day! We started our day with a delicious breakfast with a view of some curious monkeys. curious enough to steal a piece of Tony’s toast! Our LOD’s (Leaders of the day) Ryder and Tony led us in the morning huddle following breakfast. We all got ready for a BIG day and headed to an animal and habitat conservation meeting. It was so interesting hearing about the extensive work that the reserve puts in to benefit the animals and their habitat as best as possible. After the meeting we all loaded up into the Land Cruisers and headed for our Community Visit. Our first stop was a cow farm where we learned about how the villages in the area raise cattle. We then headed to a school to interact with local students. This was such a transformative experience for everyone in the group. A few students even said it was the best day of their life. A group of 2nd grade girls performed a beautiful dance and song recital and even pulled Anna Holt and Claire into the routine! Dillion, Hardy, and Eddie absolutely killed it in an intense game of volleyball against the school’s team! Kiera and Kacie had the best time laughing and dancing with all the little girls at the school! We headed back to camp to shower before a much-needed dinner. After dinner we played games and told stories by a campfire where the LOD’s surprised the group with the information that we would be going on a nighttime safari drive! And let me tell you, it did not disappoint. We got lucky enough to come across a pride of lions who were feasting on a fresh kill! One of the coolest things we’ve ever seen! Charlie made sure to capture some amazing pictures of this moment on his camera! We got back to camp, had Moonup around the fire and got into bed for some well-deserved rest!
Time is flying by and we can’t believe it’s our last full day at Ol Pejeta! We started the day with a big breakfast and our LODS, Eddie and Kacie, pumped us up for the day’s activities. We hopped in the land cruisers and Claire took over on aux with some classic throwbacks. We headed to Ol Pejeta’s endangered species enclosure where we helped the caretakers with some of their everyday tasks… including scooping poop. We switched taking off turns with Dillon taking a strong lead, which was no easy task. Needless to say it made us appreciate the effort that is involved in taking care of the animals. Once we were finished we loaded the trailer and drove into the field to empty it. Charlie was a huge help and even came up with an organized system. Ryder, with the help of our guide, drove us and the tractor back to the enclosure. We sat down for a quick snack and the guides even brought coffee and hot chocolate! Keira had the awesome idea to make Mochas, which most of the group followed along with! We loaded the land cruisers and went on search for the two remaining Northern white rhinos in the world… Hardy had to take over on aux for this special moment. Charlie caught plenty of amazing shots of the rhinos for the whole group to enjoy later! Before leaving the enclosure, we even got to see Baraka, the blind black Rhino. Everyone got to feed and pet Baraka! After a full morning of activities, we headed back to the Stables for some lunch but not before Eddie and Ryder got some soccer tricks in. Lunch was some awesome pizzas and gave us some time to kill after! Keira was even nice enough to share all her string with us to make bracelets with! Anna Holt even made some for the group. We got the ping pong paddles out and started playing some games — which Claire and Kacie soon proved to be pros. Our guides arrived in the afternoon to teach us all about lion tracking. We went out into the field and even got to spot a lioness and her cub! We used ecological monitoring to track the lions…so insane! We headed back to camp to rest before dinner. Tony was gracious enough to set up his Eno and share it with others! Dillon had the idea of creating a ping pong tournament…everyone was immediately in. While matches were going, Charlie and Keira were working hard on their friendship bracelets. The tournament came down to Claire and Eddie, with Eddie eventually securing the first-place title. But one tournament was not enough, so Keira suggested we play a card game called Kemps! Anna Holt and Kacie, although joining in late, jumped right in and worked well as a duo! Everyone joined in on the fun before the smell of dinner was in the air. Hardy and Dillon kept us laughing throughout the meal and were insistent on playing Mafia right after followed by some rounds of our new favorite game, Frogger! It’s been so fun watching the dynamic of this group grow so quickly! Kacie and Eddie closed us out tonight for our final Moonup under the stars at Ol Pejeta, a perfect way to end an awesome day!
Until next time,
Nathan and Carter
June 7, 2023
Hello Kenya + Zanzibar Families!
We heard from our leaders and the group has landed safely in Kenya! The trip is off to a great start, and we cannot wait to hear more stories from their adventure.
Please remember our leaders and students will be unplugged during their trips but we will be posting up to three trip updates throughout the next couple of weeks! This will allow you to follow along with the trip and the students will also give a special shout out mid-way through! You can also follow us on Instagram, @moondanceadventures, to see more of what we are up to this summer!