Trip Finder

Trip Updates

South Africa 2A • June 23-July 9, 2023

Magical Final Moments in Mozambique

July 8, 2023

Last day! Banquet! Goodbyes :(Can’t start our goodbyes yet until we tell y’all about our final day of fun! Friday morning, we woke up bright and early so we’d be the first boat to launch for our final ocean safari. We’d had some big wins this trip: seeing a whale shark right off the bat, seeing elephants in the final moments of our last safari, milkshakes 2 days in a row, 4th of July sparklers on the beach, birthday sunset boat cruises… but today was not one of the big wins. The waves were rocky, and the animals were shy. Everyone was good to call it early and head back to our favorite place (Tofo Scuba) for some classic beach time. What better consolation prize than milkshakes (again)!

For the rest of the morning everyone cycled through Spades, playing in the waves, tossing the frisbee, and relaxing. Spencer, Lucas, Ford, and I, after breaking a sweat throwing the frisbee, took the football to the ocean, tackling the waves after each catch. By now, we’d worked up an appetite! Yesterday, we had fish sandwiches which the seafood fans thought were top-notch! We are so proud of Mia and Lila for continuing their food adventure and giving the fish a try! Nonetheless, when they served us fried chicken sandwiches everyone was pumped! We enjoyed our lunch with copious amounts of peri peri sauce and said goodbye to Tofo Scuba.

Off to the market we went to try out our bargaining skills! Spencer was the king of bargaining and had some “business to take care of” down at the market after striking up a deal earlier with one of the beach boys. Lucy is incredibly thoughtful, which was evident as she searched for the perfect gifts for her family. Hank was extra excited about his new bracelet to add to his new collection. We topped off our market trip with a quick stop at the fruit market to buy some fresh pineapple (a fan favorite). We went back to the lodge to put down our souvenirs and headed off to our final activity — the sunset boat cruise! We arrived at a sandy beach that stretched into beautiful mangroves. We loaded the dhow boat that was waiting for us with our guide, Tony, who told us all about the flamingos and fishing industry. No sunset cruise is complete without some refreshments! We all enjoyed Fanta and Cokes (in a bottle to add to the fun) and some chocolate cookies. With the music playing, the sunset reflecting off the water, and all piled into the boat together, it was hard to not feel a little sad our time together is ending. What a perfect final evening shared together!

While everyone was busy bargaining for hand painted whale sharks and bracelets galore, Lucas and I snuck off to buy some banquet attire. Surprise! Everyone gets Mozambican patterned bucket hats! Grace totally rocked hers with just the right size brim and flop (for reference, Lucas’s looked a bit like a shower cap)! To end the night, we feasted on hot brownies and ice cream (I promise we did more than eat on this trip, but the food was a true highlight). For our final Moonup, we gathered on the outdoor patio, listened to the ocean waves, and reflected on what we will take away from this trip. Mia shared she’d take home the importance of coming in with an open mind. Isabel shared the value of branching outside your comfort zone and being grateful for the opportunity to come on a Moondance trip, which was a collective takeaway from almost everyone’s responses. We ended our final night in Mozambique running around beneath the vibrant stars on the beach and staying up late laughing and chatting.

Our final day began before the sun rose to drive to catch the first flight of the day back to Johannesburg. Thank goodness we started our day bright and early to maximize our waning moments together! Our flight went smoothly but everyone was ready to grub once we reached the Johannesburg airport. So straight to Chicken Licken and Mugg and Bean we went. We feasted, laughed, and with full bellies got checked in. While killing time before security, we pulled out Lucy’s scissors that we’d been using to cut string for friendship bracelets and Hampton gave Lucas a haircut! Right in the middle of the airport. I think we are getting delirious! Nonetheless, airport fun day pt. 2 & banquet continued have certainly been moments to remember.

Goodbyes are always hard, but as our last night LODs Lilly and Lucy shared with us, “Don’t be dismayed at good-bye’s, a farewell is necessary before you can meet again and meeting again after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends” (Richard Bach). Before we even left, “Yellow” by Coldplay this morning in the van got Smitty feeling all the feels. On day 1 of our trip, everyone started playing the name game and found a mutual connection to one another. Now, after 17 days of growing in friendship, our worlds are even more interconnected. I have a feeling our paths will cross again one day! It’s not a goodbye, it’s a see you later!

Off they go back to the USA for their next adventures whether it be early fall sports practices for Ford and Lilly, Smitty enjoying having her license, Lucy safeguarding the pool, Hank and Spencer tearing up the golf course, Hampton and Lila immediately heading off to Europe with their families, Grace finally getting her spicy Chick-fil-A sandwich, Mia starting work in less than 36 hours, or Isabel heading to the beach. To the parents, thank you again for sharing your delightful kids with Lucas and I and entrusting them to us in South Africa! I can’t wait for them to tell you all about our amazing adventures from their perspective!


Sarah Catherine & Lucas

Catching Waves in Mozambique!

July 7, 2023

It’s the 4th of July! We woke up at City Lodge, ate a glorious continental breakfast, and headed to catch our flight to Mozambique. The girls have become obsessed with the Mugg and Bean chocolate chip muffins, so of course, we had to make a stop to grab a snack for the plane. Once we landed in Mozambique, we jumped in the van for our transfer to Tofo Beach. It’s a bit of a drive, but we hardly noticed! The miles and miles of palm trees are mesmerizing, but mostly everyone was engrossed making friendship bracelets. Lilly is a master and has taught everyone! Smitty made her first ever and the boys were busy making red, white, and blue bracelets. Upon arrival at Tofo Beach, we surprised the group with 4th of July festivities: red and blue cups on the dinner table, BBQ napkins, red/white/blue marshmallow skewers, glow-sticks, and sparklers. After dinner, we raced down to the beach for an All-American music themed dance party including Footloose on the beach. We lit our sparklers and watched them shimmer underneath stars all grinning ear to ear. (With a group of so many Moondance vets, we’ve struggled to truly pull off surprises, but I think we did it this time!) When there’s water — jump in it! To top off the night, into the water we went with our light-up beach ball, glow-sticks, and travel clothes on. Grace was one of the first running into the waves and exclaimed in pure joy “this is so much fun!”. It was the perfect way to get the energy high for our final section of the trip and end a long travel day!

Wednesday morning everyone woke up well rested and eager to start the day (for a group of non morning-people, everyone sprung out of bed shockingly quick!). We hit the beach for our first activity — surfing! Everyone was enthusiastic about either improving their previous surfing experiences or learning some brand new skills. Lucy and Hampton put their surfing skills from Fiji to the test and improved dramatically! Spencer mastered turning to ride the wave longer. Hank could paddle faster than anyone and mastered the timing to catch almost any wave. Ford is an athlete at heart and was absolutely in his element! Mia front-flipped off her board for every dismount. Surfing was a highlight of the entire trip for this crew! After shredding till we “ran out of gnar” as Hank would say, we headed to Tofo Scuba for lunch. Lunch was met with much anticipation over the famous Peri Peri sauce. We’ve learned, peri peri is a loose phrase, and will taste different from place to place. The peri peri at McDonald’s is similar to a sweet and sour and received pretty average reviews. However, Lucas had been hyping up the homemade Tofo Scuba peri peri which is more of a hot sauce. Burgers and chips (aka french fries) were brought out for lunch and immediately the peri peri was passed around for a taste test. It was a great success! I think Hampton might try to recreate it back home; he put it on literally everything! After lunch, we set off for our first ocean safari. We received our briefing on etiquette for whale shark encounters and that just made us all the more excited. We helped launch the boat, hopped in, and kept our eyes peeled as we zig-zagged from deep to shallow water in search of any dark shadows to indicate something below the surface. Within half an hour, our skipper gave the fin sign which signals a whale shark sighting! We masked up, put our flippers on, and carefully slid into the water to not spook the whale shark. It was HUGE and SO COOL! We swam around the whale shark getting views on all sides. The whale shark was so chill just carrying on as we admired it and snapped some cool photos! Lila took a deep breath and dove down for an awesome shot! Once we were finally exhausted from swimming alongside it, we pulled ourselves back onto the boat and the whale shark dove deep away from the surface. We continued on our safari and saw humpback whales breaching the surface! They’re prevalent in Mozambique during this time for mating and birthing. We also saw a pod of both humpback and bottlenose dolphins. We headed back into shore for milkshakes, relaxation, and beach games until it was time to walk back down the beach to our lodging for dinner. We are really liking the beach life!

Thursday morning brought in a little bit of wind and rain. We knew this was a possibility and had discussed some alternative options for the morning if the waves were too big for an ocean safari. Like I said, this group loves surfing and when asked, they were all down for a little bit of rain surfing! We pivoted from a morning ocean safari to surfing/beach time at Tofo Scuba. Fortunately, after stalling at breakfast and in classic beach weather fashion, the rain cleared up and the wind died down making for another great morning of surfing! Spencer, Hank, and Lilly attempted and successfully completed a 180° (jumping to switch your front and back foot on the board). Everyone was feeling confident after having lessons just the day before! One of my favorite parts of the morning was when the second surfing group was all waiting for the perfect wave and just sitting out on our boards chilling, laughing, and enjoying the water together! After catching our last wave, we headed up to the surf shop with our boards. We then headed back to Tofo for lunch and milkshakes… Everyone was so obsessed after our first day of milkshakes I couldn’t deny the group one more! For our afternoon activity, we walked about 15 minutes down from our lodging to a house in the village for our cooking class. The women showed us how to make Matapa from cassava leaves and squeezing the milk from shredded coconut. Hank, always willing to try something new, jumped up to try his hand at carving out the coconut meat. Lilly and Ford followed behind with great form! Everyone then got a chance to cook when it came time to make the cookie/biscuits. Mia made a snowman, Lucas attempted a pyramid that was just simply too much dough, Ford made a giraffe and Spencer attempted to make the UNC logo. It was so funny to see all the successful designs. Nonetheless, they tasted amazing! When the Matapa was finally finished cooking over the fire, rice, pineapple, and shrimp were also brought out. The shrimp was nice and buttery and it went almost instantly. Smitty and Isabel shared a plate and finished the whole thing! We were so proud of everyone for branching out and having a great attitude about trying new foods! With full bellies, we walked back to our lodging for some downtime playing cards and then our actual dinner. Surfing will make you work up an appetite so the second dinner was enjoyed as well — including the incredible banana pastry and ice cream dessert! We circled up for Moonup under the stars soaking up every last minute! Can’t believe we have less than 2 days left together!

Still having a blast,

SC & Lucas

Grace: hey! I can’t wait to see y’all soon! I have had the best time ever but also missed y’all so much! Tell everyone I said that I can’t wait to see them! Love y’all and can’t wait to give y’all a big hug very soon! Ps pls bring me spicy chick-Fil-a sandwich when you pick me up! 💕

Smitty: hey I’m so exited to see y’all and got the fam some sick gifts. Love y’all and will see u soon💙💙

Lila: hey guys! I am having so much fun here and the beach is awesome! I am bringing back some fun stuff home and I can’t wait to see y’all! I will be sleeping the entire time when I get home and I am probably checking a bag home!! Love you guys and I would love some Hubbee Ds when I get home!!!!

Lucy: hey mom, dad, and Molly! I’m so excited to see y’all soon. Thank you so much for the opportunity to come here, I can’t wait to tell you guys all about it tomorrow! Love and miss you guys

Mia: Excited to see y’all! I really want a cookie cake

Lilly: hey!!!! Mozambique was amazing I don’t want to leave, but I can’t wait to see y’all!! Can we please get Starbucks when I get back? 💕

Hampton: Just wrapping up the trip, Mozambique has been great I love surfing now, thank you so much for letting me go, love y’all.

Spencer- I don’t really want to come home but I’m really excited to see y’all. Love you. This trip has been amazing. Can’t wait to tell you all about it.

Isabel- this trip has been so great and I’m so thankful you let me come! Thank you and love y’all!

Ford: Hi. Last night of the trip and it has been really fun. Can’t wait to see y’all and tell you all about it!

Hank- Hey y’all!! Thanks so much for letting me come can’t wait for Chick-fil-A!! Mozambique was awesome me and lucas shredded the gnar!

Greetings from Little Mongena!

July 3, 2023

Hello again!


SAF 2A dove right into the community engagement portion of our trip. Our first night at Little Mongena, after our evening boat cruise, we were surprised with a traditional dance performance from members of the community. Earlier in the week at Mabula, we broke out the speaker and the girls (plus Lucas) re-learned the line dance from Footloose. Lilly was a pro! While the kids weren’t expecting it upon arrival at Little Mongena, they were not surprised when the dancers scooped us up from our seats to join them for a dance around the fire. Time for that dance lesson I’d been talking about! Smitty and Isabel shocked us when we found out they actually already knew one of the traditional songs. They had learned it from the choir at their school and began singing along. We were so impressed with the dancers ability to sing and dance without ceasing for nearly an hour! Our birthday girl Lucy exclaimed, “that was the coolest ever!”. Hank later told me that was his favorite part of the entire last section! We topped off the night with a birthday cake for Lucy, sparkling candles, and the warmest welcome from the community! Off to bed for some good rest before our first day painting!


Friday morning we took the 22 passenger safari bus into Hammanskraal to an elementary school. Our community partner informed us this was going to be a one-day project and we had another planned for tomorrow. We got right to work! Everyone worked diligently and did a great job entertaining the the local kids at the same time. One kid took quite the liking to Spencer, and hung out on Spencer’s shoulder for hours throughout the day. Hampton worked until the very last minute adding the final touches — especially in the higher corners. That night at Moonup, Hampton’s enthusiasm earned him the title of LOD for the next day. Everyone’s evident desire for working alongside kids led Lucas and I to encourage the group to find ways to serve at home.


For our second day of service, we headed further into the city to the Kgwete Project for the Aged. Here, we met Ella, who greeted us literally with open arms. We took down all the drapes, moved out the furniture, taped the baseboard, and began painting the main community room. Groups of 4 all claimed a wall, and then completed the final walk through a group effort. While we waited on the first coat to dry, we laughed playing group games together. After beginning some prep for the next day, we headed back to camp to pack for our Bush Sleepout!!! Along our bush walk, our guides led us in a game of “Who been there? Who dun that!”. We found hippo, rhino, lion, and giraffe tracks, some porcupine quills, and broken trees from elephants. We arrived at our campsite to a roaring fire. While we still had daylight, we broke out the hacky sack and upon Ford’s suggestion, played many rounds of Death Sack, a popular Moondance hacky sack game. Hank had a dynamic strategy by either playing aggressively, ready to catch the hacky sack in the middle, or sprinting away as soon as someone made the 3rd touch. Lilly, one round, had 3 back to back outs and Ford was the king of the double elimination. As the sun set, we settled around the fire for some campfire games, music, and dinner. Of course, even in the bush, we had to celebrate Lila! A Happy Birthday cake was delivered and feasted upon to top off the night! Little Mongena sure does know how to bake a cake — shoutout to Lila and Lucy for spending their bdays with Moondance so we could celebrate them by enjoying not 1 but 2 cakes! Everyone laid next to one another – curled up in our sleeping bags – as we listened to the animals call in the distance under the stars.


We woke up Sunday morning in the bush and headed back to camp for a warm breakfast to refuel for another day of painting. Ella at the Kgweteke Project graciously stayed back from church on Sunday to oversee our work. She was giddy with excitement because she had tasked us with lettering the name of the center on the side of the main building. This was a bit of a daunting task but one we were honored to complete. Lucas was the project manager for the inside where we painted the kitchen walls and the cabinets. I handled the outside with a team who passed up paintbrushes up the ladder and made sure the letters were in a straight line. Just after lunch, we had completed the project! Ella was thrilled and couldn’t wait to show the sign to all the local community members when they returned on Monday! We returned back to camp for a lazy afternoon of cards and naps in the sunshine before heading out on our final game drive. We wrapped up an amazing series of game drives with a full moon and arguably the most beautiful sunset yet! Not to mention, our dinner that night consisted of goofy conversations, and what Grace said was some of the best pasta she’s ever had!


This morning, before we took off from Little Mongena, we enjoyed sleeping in a little bit and eating a later breakfast. To our surprise, during the bush sleepout, we learned Mia and Lila had never tried eggs before – ever. GUESS WHAT?! MIA AND LILA TRIED EGGS! Moondance trips are all about trying new things and exploring outside your comfort zone and with some encouragement they did just that. Lila was not a fan, but Mia found them pretty good (6/10 to be exact) which I’d say is a win! She even went back for another bite! After an eventful breakfast, we soaked up the mid-morning sunshine playing more hacky sack and frisbee. We got our energy out and said goodbye to Little Mongena. We headed to the airport for the much anticipated AIRPORT FUN DAY! We dropped our bags at the airport hotel and raced to the food court. All 7 girls ordered tomato soup and grilled cheese while the boys tried out Wimpy’s and Chicken Lickin. I think Hampton and Ford might try to franchise a Chicken Lickin in the USA after their heavenly experience! After lunch, we continued to explore the airport where the boys stumbled upon the plane viewing area. It was a random but fun day making the most of our free time before our travel day tomorrow! Off to the beach in Mozambique!


Having a blast,

Sarah Catherine & Lucas


Lila: Hey fam!! I am having a blast and I actually have a good group! And I got to watch a rhino get darted and we slept outside on my birthday! I love and miss y’all so much!!!! Can’t wait to tell y’all 💗 PS mom could you please check my well’s account.


Lilly: Hey!!! I think this is the best trip I’ve ever been on, so thank you so much for letting me go! Guess what, I got to touch a rhino and saw elephants!! I hope the Swiss alps are amazing! I miss y’all so much, and I love you!! Also please tell Bo I miss him the most, and tell Frances that I miss her more than anything 💗💗


Mia: Hi!! I’m having literally so much fun! I hope y’all’s Fourth of July was great and Ainsley is doing good! Excited to tell you all about my trip! Tell Charlotte happy birthday!! Love you all!


Smitty: hey mom and dad! I’m having so much fun with all my new friends. This is by far the boujeest trip ever and I expect tea time when I get home. Text all my friends I miss them including bea. I’ve eaten such good food like filet and I miss you so much, love you, smitty💙 also can you get me a cookie skillet with vanilla ice cream when I get home ily


Isabel: hey everyone! This trip is so much fun and I have so many cool stories to tell. Can’t wait to see y’all back at home! The people here are spoiling us and are so nice. Can I have a welcome home cookie cake I’m craving one. Thanks so much for letting me come! ❤️Love y’all!!


Lucy: hey mom, dad, and molly! I’m having the best time here in Africa and can’t wait to tell y’all all about it. Everyone is so nice here! Thank you so much for the opportunity to come here. I miss y’all and can’t wait to see y’all when I get back in charlotte! Hope y’all are all well and love you guys!


Grace: hey mom,dad,maggie and the dogs! I am having such an amazing trip! Thank you so much for letting me go! I miss you guys so much and can’t wait to see y’all soon! I have made so many new friends and so many amazing memories here!! I can’t wait to tell y’all all about the amazing animals and adventures we have gone on! I have tried so many amazing new foods and I can’t wait to have a Chick-fil-A sandwich when I get home! Please give the dogs a hug for me and tell the grandparents and elan I said hey and that I miss them all! Love everyone! Xoxo,grace



Spencer: Hey mom and dad! I’m having the best time right now and I don’t really want to come home. Hope y’all are having the best time on your trip and hope you make it back safely. Love you and miss you!


Hampton: Hey mom & dad. The trip is great so far we’ve seen a bunch of cool animals and had some great activities that I’m excited to tell y’all about, love y’all and can’t wait to see y’all soon.


Ford: Hey mom and dad. This trip is awesome. We’ve seen a lot of cool animals and done a lot of cool things. Hope y’all are having a good time at home and I can’t wait to tell you all about the trip when I get back. Love y’all.


Hank- Hey mom and dad!! Hope y’all are doing well at home! I am having a great time in africa definitely my favorite trip!! Can’t wait to get home and tell y’all all about it! Love and miss yall!

Rising with the Sun!

June 29, 2023

Despite cancelled flights in Charlotte and customs shutdowns, SAF 2A made it and is having THE BEST time!!! (Big shoutout to Zoe from HQ for holding down the fort in customs!) Lucas and I were eagerly anticipating the group’s arrival outside of baggage claim in our tie-dye Moondance t-shirts and boxes of pizza in hand. We quickly checked into our hotel and inhaled the pizza. Lilly took no time asking questions and breaking the ice for the group. This group of Moondance veterans jumped right into our first Moonup! Everyone hit the sack to prepare for our first day of activities!We woke up the next morning and transferred to Mabula Game Reserve.

Upon arrival, the staff greeted us warmly and briefed us (without spoiling any surprises) on our upcoming activities. Then, we explored camp and loaded the safari vans for our first game drive! Our first game drive set the bar HIGH! At one point, there were two large antelopes on our left (Sable and Nyala), a giraffe sauntering across the road on our right, black-backed jackals chasing each other around, and a mom/baby rhino up ahead. It was everything and more that you’d imagine when envisioning an African safari! We ended our first full day with a beautiful sunset during our drink stop and Hank got a few games of shadowboxing going. Then back to camp for dinner and Moonup under the stars! Then off to bed. Isabel and Mia always spent time at night vlogging and recapping the day. Bedtime is a hit here!! There may or may not be heated beds…The next morning at breakfast the kids discovered the hot chocolate. Hampton continued to perfect the milk to chocolate ratio over the course of our stay (he landed on a scoop and a third of the cocoa powder). We then began our search for cheetah for our cheetah bush walk. The cheetah were not working with us, and after a slower morning we finally found them up by the main road. Nonetheless, we got a glimpse of the coalition of cheetah brothers as they relaxed in the shade. It was our first — but certainly not our last encounter up close with the animals at Mabula!

Back to camp for tea time, where everyone had more hot chocolate, Lilly became obsessed with Rooibos tea, and the leaders drank our 3rd cup of coffee. After feeling all warm inside from tea time, we loaded the vans for our evening safari ride. Our guides couldn’t let us down after the incredible drive yesterday, so they took it to the next level. Eyes-wide and smiles-on, we watched the lions as they basked in the setting sun and listened as they chomped on the bones from their most recent kill. It was wild!Wednesday was just one fun thing after the other and as Zoe put it, “it’s going to one of those incandescent days we remember forever.” Spencer, our Leader of the Day, got the group AMPED for the day with an exhilarating Morning Huddle about the opportunities we have to stretch our minds with new experiences. We then set off to learn about the Ground Hornbill Project. Mia, also one of our shining LODs, led the group in learning how to track the endangered Ground Hornbills. With Mia’s keen listening and some direction from the conservationist, we were able to find the tracker!The morning continued with a brunch high up overlooking the most beautiful mountains. The boys posted up with their breakfasts with the view looked like a Patagonia ad!

We returned to camp for some ultimate frisbee and lunch. LUNCH WAS AWESOME! To start, fried chicken had been frequent topic of conversation up to this point, and what do you know, we were served a tasty meal of fried chicken, salad, and veggie pizza. The staff also delivered a massive bowl of ice cream, cones, and chocolate sauce. While we were enjoying our cones, a giraffe walked up to the watering hole that is no more than 60 yards from where we eat. We raced with our cones out towards the giraffe to get a close- up look. I think the wildest part of the whole experience was just how the giraffe drinks. It’s HILARIOUS! They’re just so tall and have to get so low to drink. I’ll be excited for them to show pics when they get home! That afternoon, Mr. T (who the boys refer to as “the man” and a “true stallion”) led us in a hands-on activity feeding the Buffalo! As we tossed hay from the back of the pickup, we were giddy being so close to another Big 5 animal! A mom and baby rhino even decided to join us and the Buffalo for an afternoon snack!

After the feeding, we went straight into the evening game drive. We were determined to see elephants. We searched the elephants usual area for nearly 2 hours to no avail. However, we took our drink stop beneath a beautiful tree watching the sunset over the mountains and enjoyed the peaceful African bush. Everyone had great attitudes and were so appreciative to our guides, Thabo and Frans for trying!

YESTERDAY WAS THE BEST DAY EVER! We rose with the sun for breakfast. Prilla, the head ecologist, briefed the group for DARTING THE RHINO! This group was eager to be hands on and did not take this opportunity for granted. Rhino are sensitive to anesthesia so after darting the mamma rhino and her baby, we were racing against the clock. Ford, Hank, and Hampton jumped to help notch the baby rhino’s ears for tracking purposes. Lucy was on supplementary oxygen duty. Even in the chaos, Isabel was confident and quickly injected a shot into the mamma rhino. Spencer after diligently measuring the rhino’s horn and demonstrating leadership and eagerness was the lucky winner and with Prilla’s direction got to go shoulder deep in the rhino’s butt in search of a poop sample. It’s not glamorous but Spencer will assure you that’s the coolest thing he’s ever done! The mamma and baby rhino were successfully woken back up and reunited with their new collar and notching! Lucas and I were so proud of everyone for listening, following directions, and getting hands-on!

After an exhilarating morning, we ate a delicious breakfast in the bush overlooking the reserve. We returned to camp for some downtime and lunch which consisted of endless rounds of cards — specifically President. Grace successfully climbed from Butt to President! We also played some ultimate frisbee, Don’t Touch my Rock, and Heads Up. Lila chose the most hilarious descriptions during Heads Up such as “I saw her in concert when I was 8!” We were all slightly confused yet dying laughing! It was then time for our sunset game drive and we were determined to find elephants. Back to circling the same area for hours and FINALLY we got a glimpse. We turned off the safari vehicles and waited patiently for them to move into sight. ALL 6 elephants emerged from the thick bush into the road in front of us. They gave us a show! Swinging their trunks, flapping their ears, and walking right in our path 20 yards in front of us was genuinely the wildest encounter we’d had thus far (and maybe in most of our lives). The rain started coming down and it was like a movie with the background music singing “I blessed the rains down in Africa”!!!

We drove back for our final dinner at Mabula feeling very blessed to be together and experience such a magical moment. We laughed and enjoyed community at dinner and wrapped up our final night at Mabula with a roaring fire and the smell of rain in the air.This morning we woke up for Lucy’s birthday!!! We started the celebration with a final sunrise game drive where we got another look at the lions. We returned back and hit the road for our next location. Of course, we had to stop for some birthday McFlurry’s and fries on the way! Smitty kept the van ride lively with lots of Taylor Swift music.

Maybe the only downside of our entire trip this far was we had to say goodbye to Zoe upon arrival at Little Mongena so she could catch a flight back to Moondance HQ. We are sad to see her go but are thankful for every memory we have together and the joy she added to our trip! (Also shoutout for Zoe for killing it at documenting the trip!) More updates to come and memories to make! SAF 2A is THRIVING!Celebrating life, birthdays, and new experiences,Sarah Catherine & Lucas

Safely in South Africa!

June 25, 2023

Hello South Africa 2A Families!

We heard from our leaders and the group has landed safely in Johannesburg! The trip is off to a great start, and we cannot wait to hear more stories from their adventure as they head to their game drives.

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!

-Moondance HQ


  • Spencer
  • Smith
  • Mia
  • Lucy
  • Lilly
  • Lila
  • Isabel
  • Hank
  • Hampton
  • Grace
  • Ford