LIFE

Prince Harry And Meghan Markle Share Never-Before-Seen Photos From Their 2017 Trip To Botswana

by Angela Andaloro

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are very serious about their conservation work. Much of that work is concentrated in Africa.

Harry found comfort there following the death of his mother, Princess Diana. After completing his service in the army in 2015, Harry got involved in conservation efforts on the continent.

Shortly after meeting Meghan Markle, Harry invited her to join him there. In Botswana, Meghan saw Harry’s passion firsthand. In 2017, she joined him in helping outfit elephants with satellite navigation collars. These collars help experts understand the elephants’ needs and provide them support and protection accordingly.

In December 2017, Harry was appointed the president of African Parks, the conservation group he has worked with on these projects.

In celebration of World Elephant Day, Harry and Meghan released photos of their work with the elephants in 2017 in Botswana. They also announced that since following Elephants Without Borders last month while highlighting environmental issues, they’ve worked with Ellen DeGeneres’ wildlife conservation fund to outfit another 25 elephants with satellite navigation collars.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are celebrating World Elephant Day with an inside look into their 2017 trip to Botswana. The couple traveled to Africa two years ago to help Dr. Mike Chase of Elephants Without Borders outfit satellite navigation collars on the majestic creatures.

The organization was one of those highlighted last month by Harry and Meghan. They used their Sussex Royal Instagram account to highlight nonprofit organizations doing work on environmental causes that they felt needed more attention.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex even collaborated with Ellen DeGeneres’ Wildlife Fund to help outfit another 25 elephants with the satellite navigation collars. These collars are crucial in helping experts understand more about elephants.

These collars allow the team at EWB to track the elephants, as well as to learn their essential migratory patterns to keep their corridors safe and open so future generations of elephants can roam freely,” Harry and Meghan explained in the photo caption.

The couple’s conservation efforts were also highlighted on their account in April. Harry attended the premiere of Netflix’s Our Planet with Prince William and Prince Charles. Among the shared photos was one of Harry and Meghan on that same trip.

In May, Harry cohosted a fundraising event for National Geographic’s Into the Okavango, a documentary that highlights the ecological vulnerability of the Okavango Delta and its source rivers in Angola. This is the primary water source for the largest remaining population of elephants in the world.

“Millions of people, food security and regional power generation are dependant on these free-flowing rivers,” Harry explained in the photo’s caption. “Threats such as uncontrolled fires, the bushmeat trade, unsustainable harvesting of the forest and rapid biodiversity loss are already destroying this incredible and delicate landscape.”

“Known by the locals as ‘Source of life,’ this ecosystem is wilderness at its best, playing an absolutely crucial role for the planet, people and wildlife,” he noted. “This is our one and only chance to save this magnificent last Eden.”

While it may seem dangerous for Harry and Meghan to be getting so up close and personal with these enormous animals, it’s all done in a way that keeps everyone safe. The elephants are sedated for just 10 minutes while the collars are put on, then they’re free to go.

Africa is very special to Harry, which is why he does so much conservation work there. The continent was a safe getaway for the young prince after losing his mother in 1997. In late 2017, he was appointed the president of African Parks, an NGO he worked with on an elephant translocation project in 2016.

Harry and Meghan first visited Africa together just after they met in 2016. He recalled the special few days in their engagement interview in 2017. “I managed to persuade her to come and join me in Botswana,” he recalled. “We camped out with each other under the stars. She came and joined me for five days out there, which was absolutely fantastic.”

For Harry, it was important that Meghan understand who he was aside from the life that came with his title and family. “So then we were really by ourselves, which was crucial to me to make sure that we had a chance to know each other,” he explained.

Africa was also the last place Harry and Meghan traveled to together before baby Archie was born. It was a working babymoon of sorts, with the couple attending to royal duties while in Morocco, but they also enjoyed the area.

This fall, Harry, Meghan, and Archie will visit South Africa on a royal tour. While the whole family is going on the trip, Harry is expected to carry out royal duties in Angola and Malawi on his own. The itinerary known so far also mentions a stop in Botswana.

Conservation is sure to be a major topic of interest for Harry and Meghan on their South African tour. It will be a unique moment for the couple, doing important work and spending time in a place that means so much to them — and sharing all of that with their child for the first time.