The marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's last week - now the Duke and Duchess of Sussex - followed a whirlwind 16-month romance. So where did it all unfold? Botswana. Just weeks after they first met, Harry says he managed to "persuade" his new beau to join him on safari, where they camped out under the stars in a getaway he described as "absolutely fantastic". The prince later designed Meghan's engagement ring using a blinder of a diamond that was sourced from the African country. Will they return for a honeymoon? That remains to be seen, but it's certainly a contender.
Exactly where they stayed during this first holiday is a fact they've kept to themselves, but it's highly likely the lovebirds spent at least one night at his favourite bolthole, Meno A Kwena, a remote bush camp on the western edge of Botswana’s Makgadikgadi Pans National Park. Harry also took Meghan there to celebrate her 36th birthday a year later, and several girlfriends before that.
Fancy a stay yourself? Room rates at the luxury hideout, which Graham Boynton reviewed for Telegraph Travel last year, start at £857 a night for a sharing couple.
But there's plenty more to enjoy in Botswana. Read on for 12 surprising facts and compelling reasons to follow in the royal couple's footsteps...
1. It has more elephants than anywhere else
Botswana is something of a haven for the beleaguered African elephant, which is found in greater numbers here than anywhere else on the planet. Poaching is pushing these gentle giants to the brink across the continent, but Botswana’s conservation efforts have kept local populations stable.
2. It has a thriving metal scene
Yes, really. Proving heavy metal isn’t just the preserve of caucasian head-bangers is Botswana’s booming underground scene, which has moved into the mainstream more recently thanks to bands like Overthrust, whose brand of death metal has graced the stages of European music festivals.
3. And one of Africa’s healthiest big cat populations
You don’t have to have the eyes of a hawk to spot big cats in Botswana, particularly Chobe National Park, which is one of the best places in Africa to see leopards, lions and cheetahs. Their bountiful numbers are, again, down to Botswana’s admirable conservation policies, which have made the country one of the best safari destinations in Africa.
4. Nearly half of the country is protected
Botswana has set aside 45 per cent of its land for protection, which is why the country has such an abundance of wildlife.
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5. There’s plenty of space
With just 3.5 people per square kilometre, Botswana is one of the world’s least-crowded countries. Just the tonic if you live in bustling Britain, which, by contrast, is one of the most crowded, with a claustrophobic 262 inhabitants per square kilometre.
6. It’s home to the Okavango Delta
One of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa, the Okavango Delta also enjoys World Heritage status – and it’s easy to see why. Spreading out across 15,000 sq km, this dramatic delta provides a vital habitat for some of Botswana’s most celebrated wildlife, including the African elephant, Nile crocodile, spotted hyena and black rhino.
7. There’s a “Louvre” in the desert
World Heritage status has also been bestowed upon Tsodilo, which Unesco describes as the “Louvre of the Desert”. And with good reason: this corner of the Kalahari Desert is home to one of the highest concentrations of rock art in the world. Revered by the Hambukushu and San communities, Tsodilo boasts some 4,500 paintings, some of which are 100,000 years old.
8. It’s landlocked, but you can go on a cruise
And not just any cruise: a cruise down the Chobe River, one of Africa’s richest waterways. Teeming with wildlife – from hungry hippos to boisterous buffalo – a boat trip down this life-giving river gives passengers the chance to quaff a G&T whilst watching elephants go for a dip. To experience all of this in unabashed luxury, book a cabin aboard the opulent Zambezi Queen, which plies this limpid waterway.
9. It boasts one of the world’s largest salt flats
The Makgadikgadi Pan is all that remains of the defunct Makgadikgadi Lake, which once covered an area the size of Switzerland. Tourists can traverse the arid salt flats on quad bikes by day and watch zebra and wildebeest migrating across it by night.
10. It’s one of the freest countries in Africa
According to Freedom House, there are only eight countries in Africa that can truly be described as free – and Botswana is one of them. The other seven are: Cape Verde, Senegal, Tunisia, Ghana, Benin, Namibia and South Africa.
11. It’s big on rhino conservation
Another beleaguered African species, the rhino, which is hunted for its horn, is the star attraction at the Khama Rhino Sanctuary in the east of the country. Home to white and black rhinos, the reserve’s inhabitants are closely monitored by conservationists, who are keen to boost the number of rhinos living in Botswana.
12. You don’t need a visa
At least not if you’re travelling on a British passport, which allows travellers to spend up to six months exploring the country without the need for expensive paperwork.