HELLO! Royal tour diary: Day three in South Africa - Kruger National Park

Emily Nash

We arrived in the famous wildlife reserve overnight after joining Prince Harry's flight from Durban and were immediately hit by the intense heat of the African bush.

On the short journey from Skukuza Airport to our hotel, we were lucky enough to spot a family of elephants, a rhino and a buffalo at a watering hole.

Late addition to the press pack @san_parks #royalvisitsa #Elephants #Kruger

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But it was early to bed ahead of a 4.30am start on Wednesday to hear about the battle to save critically endangered species such as the rhino from poachers.

The magnificent beast is hunted for its horn, which gram-for-gram is the most expensive commodity in the world.

Prince Harry spent 10 days in the two million square hectare park during his three-month stint of conservation work during the summer and he was keen for us to understand the plight of these beautiful animals.

Hat love part 2: Kruger style with @QueenVicMirror #royalvisitsa

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A handful of journalists got a spot on one of two helicopters flown out to the scene of a horrific poaching incident, in which a mother rhino and her two-year-old male calf had been shot dead by poachers and had their horns savagely chopped off.

Harry was visibly upset by the gruesome scene and wanted to make sure the message reached home that more needs to be done to protect these vulnerable creatures.

At the South African Wildlife College, which was opened by his grandfather Prince Philip 20 years ago, Harry spoke to trainee rangers about their covert surveillance and tracking methods.


With temperatures hitting the 40s, we did our best to stand in what little shade we could find as he listened intently to their stories.

He then gave a rousing speech about their vital work, warning that if poaching continues at the current rate, there will be no rhinos left by the time his niece Princess Charlotte is 25.

It was clear he is incredibly passionate and knowledgeable about the subject and to emphasise the point, he issued some of his personal photographs and video clips from the summer.



They show him helping vets with painstaking surgery on wounded rhinos, helping to release elephants from tracking collars and even feeding an orphaned baby rhino from a milk bottle, before tenderly kissing it on the head.

It was an incredibly hot, exhausting and emotional day, but as we got off the plane back in Johannesburg, Harry thanked us for making the journey to tell the story, saying: "We did something really good."

Let's hope his efforts will soon start to make a real difference to the magical wildlife he cares for so much.

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