Prince Harry makes surprise three-day solo visit to Mozambique

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Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, paid a solo visit to Mozambique
Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, paid a solo visit to Mozambique

The Duke of Sussex has paid a solo visit to Mozambique to highlight wildlife conservation.

Prince Harry travelled from California to the southern African country for a brief stay earlier this week in his capacity as president of African Parks.

He is said to have flown to Heathrow on Sunday, where he caught a connecting flight to Johannesburg en route.

His spokesperson said he was “welcoming and co-hosting a group of US officials, conservationists and philanthropists as they toured protected wildlife and nature areas”.

The Duke appeared in photographs on social media dressed casually in a cap, polo shirt, shorts and trainers in the coastal town of Vilanculos.

The popular beach resort is the gateway to the islands of the Bazaruto Archipelago, renowned for their idyllic beaches and diverse marine wildlife.

One report suggested he stayed at the luxury resort of Vilanculos Beach Lodge for three days.

In 2010, the Duke travelled to Mozambique to tour a minefield with the Halo Trust, while dressed in a visor and protective vest. The photographs were reminiscent of a visit to Angola made by his late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, in January 1997, eight months before her death.

As well as meeting victims of landmine blasts, including a 14-year-old boy who had lost a leg the previous year and a 50-year-old man who lost both eyes and one arm, he was taught mine-clearing techniques and personally attached a detonator to a live mine before carrying out a controlled explosion from a safe distance.

Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, while he worked in Malawi with African Parks - African Parks/Frank Weitzer /PA
Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, while he worked in Malawi with African Parks - African Parks/Frank Weitzer /PA

African Parks is one of the few private patronages the Duke retained when he stepped down as a working royal in early 2020.

He has worked with the charity since 2016, when he helped them complete a relocation of 500 elephants in Malawi.

In a foreword for African Parks' annual report last year, he warned there were just 10 years to save the world from an "extinction crisis", saying there was evidence that the Covid-19 pandemic "may be linked to our exploitation of nature".

In late 2020, the Duke described his love of Africa, reminiscing about his first visit shortly after the death of his mother.

Harry 'grateful for Africa's escapism and space'

Speaking in his capacity as president of African Parks, he was interviewed to promote WaterBear, a new Netflix-style streaming platform for climate documentaries.

"I don't know what it is but there's something in the air that ends up running in your blood." he said. "No matter what experience you have, it just pulls you back, you want to be back there again.

"I first travelled there when I was 12, 13 years old, straight after I lost my mum, and the sense of escapism and space that this continent of Africa afforded me is something that I will be eternally grateful for."

Africa Parks, a non-profit conservation organisation, manages around 20 national parks in partnership with governments and local communities in nearly a dozen countries including Malawi, Zambia, Rwanda and Chad.

It faced faced criticism earlier this year after it emerged its rangers were fighting jihadists in west Africa.

Rangers working for African Parks are supposed to protect north-west Benin's endangered flora and fauna from poachers.

But the conservationists found themselves fighting jihadists allied to al-Qaeda who had spread across the west African nation's porous borders from the embattled Sahel region, according to reports.

The Duke is preparing for a brief return to the UK next month with his wife, the Duchess of Sussex, when the pair set to attend the One Young World Summit in Manchester and the WellChild Awards in London.

They will also head to Germany for the Invictus Games Dusseldorf 2023 One Year to Go event.

The Royal family is bracing itself for Harry’s forthcoming tell-all book, which he has vowed will be an “accurate and wholly truthful” account of his life.