Prince Harry makes solo private wildlife conservation visit to Africa

Prince Harry has flown alone to Africa on a private fact-finding mission to learn about the latest developments in wildlife conservation.

Harry has been visiting Botswana, a place he loves and knows well - and where he took his fiancee Meghan Markle in the early days of their relationship.

Ms Markle's engagement ring not only features diamonds from the personal collection of Diana, Princess of Wales, but a stone from Botswana.

The African nation is helping to safeguard the continent's population of black and white rhino and earlier this week the prince travelled there in his role as UK patron of the organisation Rhino Conservation Botswana (RCB).

A spokeswoman for the organisation said: "Prince Harry is in Africa for a private working trip, focused on organisations working in conservation across the region and learning more about the issues affecting wildlife in the region."

On Monday at the Chobe Game Lodge, which bills itself as a five-star, fully ecotourism-certified safari lodge, Harry met fellow RCB patron Tshekedi Khama, Botswana's environment, conservation and tourism minister, and Mike Chase, founder of Elephants Without Borders.

During a television interview to mark his engagement, Harry revealed how he persuaded Ms Markle to visit Botswana with him as their romance blossomed in 2016, and how they "camped out with each other under the stars" for five days.

Prince Harry and the Duke of Cambridge pose with a rock python during a visit to the Mokolodi Nature Reserve in Gabarone, Botswana in 2010 (PA Archive/PA Images)
Prince Harry and the Duke of Cambridge pose with a rock python during a visit to the Mokolodi Nature Reserve in Gabarone, Botswana in 2010 (PA Archive/PA Images)

That same year Harry joined an RCB operation to help protect black rhinos in Botswana, clearing thorn bushes from around sedated rhinos so tracking equipment could be fitted.

He also monitored the animals' breathing and heart rate and helped to keep them cool with water.

Harry spent part of Thursday visiting the headquarters of the RCB before he travelled to neighbouring South Africa to meet staff at the headquarters of African Parks.

In December it was announced that Harry had become the president of the organisation which aims to manage national parks on behalf of governments and to advance wildlife conservation.

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