On 29th April 2011, Prince William and Kate Middleton were married, watched by over 2 billion people. And it was only 18 months earlier, that William proposed to Kate in a continent he regards as his “second home”. Prince William’s choice of venue was influenced by his long-standing love of the area. He first came to Kenya as a child and has since been a regular visitor.
The prince spent several months working in the northern parts of Kenya, during his gap year between Eton and St Andrews. So, whilst on holiday there in October 2010, the 28-year-old prince pulled out all the stops to make the moment all the more special for his future bride. According to royal sources, he asked for Kate’s hand by a secluded lake on the slopes of Mount Kenya, Africa’s second highest mountain.
It was also in Kenya where William’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, made history, in 1952, when she learnt she had become queen. The young princess had been staying at the Treetops Lodge in Nyeri with husband Prince Phillip, when her father George VI died.
But Prince William’s decision to pop the question to Kate Middleton in Kenya reveals the depths of his love for a continent to which he feels a treasured connection both personal and philanthropic.
Part of the appeal is simple privacy, and part is the excitement of the natural wonders to be found in this continent. Whether your African experience include prowling cats or elegant giraffes, predators tearing into a dead carcass or just a herd of elephant strolling by, close encounters with wildlife get your blood coursing in all sorts of ways. Throw in candle-lit dinners under a canopy of blazing stars and you have an experience guaranteed to stoke the fires of almost anyone.
“This place will hold a special place in my heart for the rest of my life,” William said while visiting a wildlife charity in beautiful Botswana recently. “Africa’s the perfect place to come. The locals haven’t a clue who I am, and I love that.”
Asked if visiting Africa is partly a way to escape the pressures of his public life, he replied, “It is, definitely. When I step off the plane I’m like, ‘Yes, I’m back.’ I know I’m here to work, but you can’t help feeling like that. Africa is my second home.”
Following in the family of supporting countries in Africa, Prince Harry, William’s younger brother, vowed when he was 18, that he would continue his late mother Princess Diana’s humanitarian work with AIDS victims in Africa. On a recent trip to Africa, he also revealed that he thinks about his mother ‘every day’ – and wants to live in Africa because it is the only place on earth where he can truly be himself. Prince Harry helped found the charity Sentebale, which has projects in Lesotho, which help to educate and support children in one of southern Africa’s poorest countries.
So, if you want to live like a British Royal and volunteer in Africa, help in wildlife conservation, or with sustainable community projects or simply take an African overland tour exploring this wonderful continent, Amanzi Travel would love to help you plan your unique experience.
I would love to hear if you have found your own ‘second home’ in Africa?