Where Prince Harry & Meghan Markle's secret love bloomed
The newly engaged couple first cemented their romance at this plush hideaway in Botswana
It really is the kind of place where one could fall in love; in love with the country, the stars, and, crucially, with the person standing beside you.
That, by their own account, is what happened to Prince Harry and his fiancee Meghan Markle in Botswana.
It was here, by the dark blue waters of the Boteti River, that the pair first began to get to know each other properly.The recently engaged couple said in an interview that their first proper date was a secret five-day holiday in August last year.
Harry said: "We camped out with each other under the stars."
The Telegraph has revealed that their romantic hideaway was in the heart of the Okavango Delta, Botswana, at the £1,000-a-night Meno A Kwena tented camp, on the edge of Makgadikgadi Pans National Park.
Meno A Kwena ("teeth of the crocodile") guards its secrecy closely, making it ideal for a prince who, at that stage at least, was reluctant to advertise his new romance.
The camp lies 120km east of the town of Maun, in a region Harry knows well.
He first came here in 1997 to help him cope with the death of his mother. Subsequent trips were for happier reasons, including one in 2007 with Chelsy Davy, his then-girlfriend.LONG WALKS IN THE BUSH
After a night's sleep in a handsomely furnished tent, equipped with solar-powered hot showers and an open terrace offering views of the night sky, guests can choose a day's safari across the Makgadikgadi Pans, a boat trip along the Boteti, or even a trek through the scrubland.Local San people offer weekly walks in which they describe their culture and relationship with the country's habitat and wildlife.
During their interview, Meghan described how she and Harry had revelled in being able to "take the time to be able to go on long country walks and just talk".
Chicos, a host at Meno A Kwena, was enthusiastic on the subject of its charms.
"This is really a very beautiful place. The elephants and zebra come to the water in the evening to drink, right in front of your eyes."
But he was far more circumspect when asked about Harry and Meghan.
"We have lots of guests from many countries," he said. "English, German, South African. They love it."
Owner Hennie Rawlinson would only say: "All information regarding our guests, past, present and future, is highly confidential."
That is the kind of discretion for which Meno A Kwena is renowned.Rawlinson is a friend of Colin Bell, who has pioneered responsible safari tourism in the region, where land-lease fees paid by camps such as Meno A Kwena go directly to local communities.
It is part of a vision that aims to reduce the environmental impact of visitors, while at the same time ensuring that tourism revenue goes into the pockets of those who need it.
That is an aim which Markle, an advocate of equal rights for women, and in particular better access to clean water for, all would surely endorse.With their shared interests in sustainable development in countries such as Botswana, it is little wonder that Prince Harry described how he felt "the stars were aligned" when he met Meghan.
In this case the stars were those above them, in the vast African skies over the Okavango Delta. - The Sunday Telegraph..