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Unleashing the Transformational Power of Travel – A Journey of Discovery and Growth



transformative power of travel

With the transformative power of travel, South Africa is a diverse and captivating destination. It offers countless opportunities for young travellers to explore, learn, and have fun. With its breathtaking mountains, beautiful beaches, captivating wildlife, and vibrant cultures, South Africa caters to every traveller’s interests. iAfrica brought this inspiring story of Kenneth Decker and William Dias Morias, two ambitious students from Belgium who embarked on a life-changing journey to South Africa in 2019, combining their youth travel experience with an internship.

As students pursuing tourism management at a university in Brussels, Kenneth and William have always been curious to travel and immerse themselves in different countries and cultures. When the opportunity arose to undertake an internship abroad as part of their course, they selected South Africa as their destination. “We sought a place that would be distinct from Europe while still ensuring safety and accessibility. We had heard countless positive reviews about South Africa from friends and online platforms. We were enthralled by its history, nature, and people. Moreover, we yearned to engage in something meaningful and contribute to the local community,” explained Kenneth.

Applying for an internship program with Youth Tourism South Africa (YTSA), a non-profit organisation advocating for youth in tourism, Kenneth and William found themselves in the heart of an inspiring journey. YTSA facilitates affordable and quality accommodation, activities, and transportation for young travellers in South Africa. Additionally, it promotes responsible and sustainable tourism practices, fostering cultural exchange and social impact. As marketing assistants at YTSA for three months, Kenneth and William played a crucial role in creating and managing social media content, forging partnerships with local businesses and organisations, and organising events and workshops tailored to youth travellers.

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Reflecting on their time at YTSA, the duo expressed immense gratitude for the invaluable skills they acquired in digital marketing, communication, and project management. Furthermore, they cherished countless encounters with extraordinary individuals who shared their stories and perspectives, creating an enduring sense of belonging. “We felt like we were part of a big family,” fondly recollected William.


While working with YTSA provided a rewarding experience, Kenneth and William relished exploring South Africa independently. They discovered Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban, Kruger National Park, the Drakensberg Mountains, and the Wild Coast. They tried hiking, whale-watching, wine-tasting, safaris, surfing, bungee jumping, and volunteering. They savoured South Africa’s culinary delights, music, art, and historical heritage. Kenneth fondly recalled some of their highlights, including encounters with penguins at Boulders Beach, witnessing breathtaking sunsets from Table Mountain, gaining insight into Nelson Mandela’s life on Robben Island, spotting the Big Five at Kruger National Park, surfing at Jeffrey’s Bay, taking the leap off the Bloukrans Bridge, planting Spek boom trees at Elliotdale, and dancing with locals at a lively township party.

The trip to South Africa left an indelible mark on Kenneth and William, ranking among the most memorable experiences of their lives. Beyond the fun and adventure, they discovered profound personal growth and gained a broader world perspective. “We evolved as individuals and as friends. Our journey fostered greater confidence, open-mindedness, and adaptability within us. Moreover, we became acutely aware of the challenges and opportunities that South Africa, as a developing country, faces. We realised the commonalities we share with people from diverse backgrounds and the incredible potential for mutual learning,” shared William.

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Furthermore, the transformative journey ignited their passion for tourism, inspiring them to make a positive impact within the industry. Kenneth and William expressed their desire to continue travelling and exploring new destinations while utilising their skills and knowledge to promote youth tourism in South Africa and other captivating locations. They firmly believe that youth tourism is more than just a source of enjoyment. It also brings about social change.

Their experience in South Africa has motivated them to embark on a path where they can make a difference. “We are determined to pursue our passion for tourism and leverage it to bring about positive transformations. We aim to use our expertise to advocate for responsible travel practices and contribute to the growth of the industry. By fostering cultural understanding and promoting sustainable tourism, we believe we can create a better future for travelers and local communities,” Kenneth emphasised.


With their eyes opened to the immense potential of travel, Kenneth and William wholeheartedly recommend South Africa as a destination for young travellers seeking a unique and fulfilling experience. They emphasise that South Africa’s beauty knows no bounds, promising various activities to keep travellers engaged and captivated. Furthermore, they praise the warm and hospitable nature of the South African people, noting that the connections made during their journey were truly unforgettable.

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Kenneth and William offer valuable advice to those contemplating a trip to South Africa. They encourage travellers to plan, conduct thorough research, and remain flexible to embrace the surprises that await them fully. Respecting the local culture and environment is essential. It allows you better to appreciate the country’s traditions and natural wonders. They urge young travellers to go on a life-changing experience. “Traveling to South Africa is an opportunity you don’t want to miss. It has the power to shape your life for the better. Just go for it and savour every moment,” Kenneth exclaimed enthusiastically.

Kenneth and William hope to inspire others to embark on their extraordinary adventures. Their story is a testament to the incredible impact that travel can have on personal growth, cultural understanding, and the pursuit of a more inclusive and sustainable world.

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Picture: Unsplash / louis magnotti

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