Inside Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s love affair with Africa

There’s no denying that Africa has played a key role throughout Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s romance.

After all, it was in Africa that the couple enjoyed one of their first romantic minibreaks together – including a three-week safari trip for Meghan’s birthday – not to mention that Meghan’s engagement ring itself features a diamond from Botswana.

Even before the pair met, they were both involved in various charity projects which saw them visiting the sun-soaked continent and spending time with locals.

Prince Harry often visited as part of his work for the royal’s charity Sentebale and his role as patron for Rhino Conservation Botswana, while Meghan headed to Rwanda when she was a global ambassador for World Vision.

However, it’s Botswana that already sits at the forefront of their love story.

It was here that Prince Harry whisked Meghan away for a luxury safari break just four weeks after their blind date – and later the couple reportedly returned for Meghan’s birthday.

Speaking to the BBC in their first joint interview, Harry said: "I managed to persuade her to come and join me in Botswana.

"We camped out with each other under the stars. She came and joined me for five days out there, which was absolutely fantastic.”

They pulled out all the stops as they camped under the stars opting to stay at the glamorous Meno a Kwena campsite , which overlooks the Boteti river and offers the perfect opportunity to take in the views and look out for the exotic wildlife.

It seems extra touching then that when Prince Harry popped the question, the engagement ring he chose featured a diamond from Botswana, as well as two diamonds from Princess Diana .

And their love for Africa saw Namibia hotly tipped to be their honeymoon destination in the lead-up to their wedding, although their chosen destination has yet to be revealed.

Located next to Botswana, Namibia would make for quite the exotic choice, not to mention it’s ideal for a romantic getaway.

After all it boasts some seriously spectacular landscapes from the jaw-dropping Etosha National Park with its lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos, giraffes and much more, to the vibrant red sand dunes.

Then of course there are the incredible safari retreats on offer, although Natural Selection’s Hoanib Valley Camp has been tipped as one of the stronger contenders for the royals’ romantic break.

Surrounded by mountains, sand dunes and deserts, it’s ideal for privacy, and only offers six guest rooms.

No doubt Africa will continue to play a big part in the couple’s lives for years to come. Prince Harry has previously described it as his "second home", not to mention he has plenty of ties to African countries thanks to his charity work.

For example, his charity Sentebale works to help vulnerable children in Botswana and Lesotho, so the royal has often visited to see the progress being made and speak to locals – he was even reunited with a young boy he met on his very first trip in a sweet moment last year.

Meanwhile, Prince Harry took on a new role as patron for Rhino Conservation Botswana last year, so no doubt will be returning to the African country to see progress being made and help to raise awareness for the cause.

As Meghan settles into her new role as a royal, the former Suits star will no doubt also be getting involved in a host of charity work although it’s yet to be confirmed which organisations she will work with.

However, she’s made it clear that she will continue to champion women’s rights .

Of course, Africa has repeatedly featured in the British royals’ history.

It was in Kenya that the then-Princess Elizabeth discovered she was Britain’s new monarch, while Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton in the beautiful Lewa Safari Camp by Lake Rutundu, near Mount Kenya.

Of course, South Africa will also have a place close to Harry’s heart as mother Princess Diana paid regular visits to the country, and travelled there to meet Nelston Mandela just a few months before her tragic death.

South Africa has also played host to a series of royal tours ; the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh visited twice, first in 1995 and then 1999, while Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall visited in 2011.

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