Prince Harry Reveals He Fell in Love with Africa After His Mother Died

Prince Harry has revealed that he fell in love with Africa after his father, Prince Charles, took him there to escape the chaos that followed the death of his mother, Princess Diana.

This past summer, Town & Country Executive Travel Editor Klara Glowczewska traveled to Africa and spent six days on the ground with Prince Harry observing, interviewing and documenting his work with African Parks for their 500 Elephants relocation project.

Prince Harry for Town & Country
CREDIT: Alexei Hay/Town & Country

The Prince worked alongside volunteers, vets and experts in Malawi on the frontline of one of the largest and most significant elephant translocations in conservation history. The experience is documented in the February issue of the magazine, on newsstands nationwide today.

Here are some highlights from the interview:

On his relationship with Africa: “I first came in 1997, straight after my mum died. My dad told my brother and me to pack our bags—we were going to Africa to get away from it all. My brother and I were brought up outdoors. We appreciate nature and everything about it. But it became more… This is where I feel more like myself than anywhere else in the world. I wish I could spend more time in Africa. I have this intense sense of complete relaxation and normality here. To not get recognized, to lose myself in the bush with what I would call the most down-to-earth people on the planet, people [dedicated to conservation] with no ulterior motives, no agendas, who would sacrifice everything for the betterment of nature… I talk to them about their jobs, about what they do. And I learn so much.”

Prince Harry for Town & Country
CREDIT: Alexei Hay/Town & Country

On the working together to protect wildlife: “Everyone has a different opinion; every country has a different way of doing things. But I do believe that we need a regulatory body so that everyone who owns or manages wildlife is subject to inspection and rated on how well they look after the animals and how the communities benefit. I know I’m going to get criticized for this, but we have to come together. You know what Stevie Wonder said: ‘You need teamwork to make the dream work.’ I use that a lot.”

On the importance of protecting the wilderness and conservation parks: “These are very special places, but they are islands with a sea of people around them. I do worry. I think everyone should worry. We need to look after them, because otherwise our children will not have a chance to see what we have seen. This is God’s test: If we can’t save some animals in a wilderness area, what else can’t we do?”

Prince Harry for Town & Country
CREDIT: Alexei Hay/Town & Country

Founded by Paul Fentener van Vlissingen, African Parks is a non-profit conservation organization that takes on the complete responsibility for the rehabilitation and long-term management of national parks and protected areas in partnership with governments and local communities. With the largest counter-poaching force in Africa, over 600 rangers are on staff, and the most amount of area under protection for any one NGO in Africa, African Parks manages 10 national parks and protected areas in seven countries covering six million hectares: Malawi, Zambia, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Chad.