My name is Franck Leya. My hope is that my story inspires youth out there to never give up on their dreams – There is no better victory than paying it forward and helping others through your efforts. I arrived in South Africa as a refugee from Congo at the tender age of seven. My father was a political journalist and my family was forced to flee the government in fear of execution. I remember the journey vividly – we traveled by bus and foot for many years to reach our final dream destination – South Africa. Over the years it took to finally arrive, I lived in Zambia, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Angola. I truly believe that we share a common home in the great continent of Africa and refer to myself as an African not Congolese or South African. Travelling this great continent has inspired me throughout my life and has given me so much of passion for the tourism industry. I opened my company – Honest Travel Experiences in 2012 as a young entrepreneur and have not looked back since. I wanted to create a company that dispelled the notion that travel and tourism is only accessible to those who have money whilst focusing on creating positive impact for my community.
I strongly believe that we should all travel locally and explore the gems that our beautiful country has to offer. I am also passionate about providing unique experiences for foreign tourists so that they can immerse themselves in truly authentic local experiences and contribute to local economies directly. We are such a dynamic nation that is a merge of a kaleidoscope of African cultures. Our primary drive is to create experiences that are very inclusive and use tourism as a way to uplift communities around South Africa, we build tours to help communities tell their own stories. We have unique experiences that challenge perception and educate people on the places and people who make up our communities. Our work in Yeoville where we showcase African dining and local walking tours, includes developing the youth by training them to conduct tours and offering them firsthand interactive opportunities to join our booked tours. This helps to expose them to various types of tourists. We also ensure that our guests have the opportunity to interact with local as much as possible during their experiences. Our vision is to roll out our business model around the continent and support communities through tourism.