Prince Harry. Picture: Bang Showbiz

Prince Harry says Botswana was his "escape" when he tragically lost his mother Princess Diana when he was just 12-years-old.

The Duke of Sussex was just 12-years-old when his mother Princess Diana tragically died in a car crash at the age of 36 and returning to Botswana on Thursday, he admitted it was "a nice place to get away from it all".

Speaking at the Chobe Forest Tree reserve, the 35-year-old royal said: "Fifteen years I've been coming here, it's a sense of escapism, a real sense of purpose. I have some of my closest friends here and I came here in 1997 or 1998 straight after my mum died, so it was a nice place to get away from it all. But now I feel deeply connected to this place and to Africa."

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From South Africa 🇿🇦✈️ to Botswana🇧🇼! • What a welcome! The Duke of Sussex has kicked off the next leg of #RoyalTourAfrica by planting trees in Chobe National Park with 200 school children from local primary schools. The Duke planted a baobab, which are severely under threat across Africa, which will live for 1000 years! Each child grew their sapling from seed in a mission to restore the Chobe Forest Reserve. They were all grown in recycled milk tins from the elephant orphanage, using fertilised soil from the orphans’ dung! The park is home to a huge elephant population – more than 17,000 – along with some of the world’s most diverse and vibrant eco-systems. The people, wildlife and whole area rely on the Chobe River to survive, but many species and indigenous trees are sadly now extinct. There is critical need to secure the forest so wildlife have access to the river. The Duke was welcomed by his close friend Dr Mike Chase, Founder of Elephant Without Borders, who has dedicated his life to supporting Botswana’s people and Elephants. ‘If you look after nature, it will look after you’ – The Duke of Sussex The Duke will shortly continue the tour with stops in Angola 🇦🇴 and Malawi 🇲🇼 focussing on community, HIV/AIDS and environment. #RoyalVisitBotswana Photo © PA Images

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Some more behind the scenes moments of The Duke and 200 children planting trees in Chobe National Park! • The Duke of Sussex has kicked off the next leg of #RoyalTourAfrica by planting trees in Chobe National Park with children from local primary schools. The Duke planted a baobab, which are severely under threat across Africa, which will live for 1000 years! Each child grew their sapling from seed in recycled milk tins from the elephant orphanage, using fertilised soil from the orphans’ dung! The park is home to a huge elephant population – more than 17,000 – along with some of the world’s most diverse and vibrant eco-systems. The people, wildlife and whole area rely on the Chobe River to survive, but many species and indigenous trees are sadly now extinct. There is critical need to secure the forest so wildlife have access to the river. The Duke was welcomed by his close friend Dr Mike Chase, Founder of Elephant Without Borders, who has dedicated his life to supporting Botswana’s people and Elephants. ‘If you look after nature, it will look after you’ – The Duke of Sussex The Duke will shortly continue the tour with stops in Angola 🇦🇴 and Malawi 🇲🇼 focussing on community, HIV/AIDS and environment. #RoyalVisitBotswana Video©️ @SussexRoyal

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Today, Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex had a full and impactful day in Botswana. As Sentebale co-founding patron, HRH visited Kasane Health Post, Botswana, to show his support for young people affected by #HIV and the important work being done to eradicate the stigma and support the community at large. He also spent the afternoon working with @elephantswithoutborders to continue to support conservation efforts on the ground- (for more on that please see our previous post!) Both organisations are close to The Duke’s heart, having worked on conservation for many years and founding Sentebale over 13 years ago. As shared on the @sentebale account: In Kasane, 1 in 5 people aged between 15 and 49 live with HIV. The area, a transit point between four countries, is affected by a high HIV infection rate with transactional sex and unemployment driving risky behaviour. Sentebale expanded work in Botswana in 2016, over 47 clubs have been established around the country for young people coming to terms with living with #HIV, reaching over 1,250 adolescents monthly. In addition, the team has held 15 weeks of camp, attended by 1,115 campers. #RoyalVisitBostwana #SussexRoyalTour Photo©️PA

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Prince Harry has travelled to Botswana without his wife Duchess Meghan, who is staying in South Africa with their four-month-old son Archie.

Before their visit, the Duke of Sussex spoke about the upcoming trip as he said he was keen to show his son around South Africa, which will mark the family's first official tour as a family of three.

In a statement posted to Instagram at the start of September, Harry wrote: "In just a few weeks our family will be taking its first official tour to Africa, a region of the world that over the past two decades has been a second home to me. Our team has helped create a meaningful programme that we're so excited to share with you. On a personal note, I can't wait to introduce my wife and son to South Africa! We'll see all of you very soon."