April 28

King Charles’ Philanthropic Endeavours in Africa

April 28, 2023

Hear ye, hear ye! As we approach the coronation of King Charles III, let us take a moment to celebrate his unwavering love for our beloved continent of Africa. From the stunning landscapes of the Serengeti and the bustling streets of Cape Town, His Majesty has explored Africa with fascination, purpose and an unbridled sense of adventure.

King Charles III has a special relationship with East Africa and other parts of our continent

A truly soulful safari in East Africa 

The King of Many Crowns

In his sojourns to lands like TanzaniaZimbabweZambia, Nigeria, Ghana, KenyaBotswana, and South Africa, King Charles has demonstrated a profound appreciation for the magic of Africa. He has danced with tribal chiefs, tasted local delicacies, and even mastered traditional West African instruments. Oh yes, His Majesty is no stranger to our magnificent continent. 

Hands plucking at the strings of a Kora, King Charles III is interested in African music instruments

The kora is a stringed instrument used extensively in West Africa

King Charles Sets Sights on South Africa

For decades, King Charles hath his eyes set upon the breathtaking land of South Africa! In a display of his unbreakable bond with the country, Buckingham Palace didst welcome South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa with open arms in November 2022, marking the commencement of the King's first state visit since becoming British monarch.

King Charles III and Camilla meeting South Africa's president Ramaphosa in London

King Charles III greets President Ramaphosa, Image Credit: Leon Neal, Pool Photo via AP

The storied relationship between these two great nations is nothing short of legendary, and King Charles's reverence for South Africa is no secret. And we don't blame him! As our cherished homeland, South Africa's rich culture, breathtaking scenery, wildlife, and strong sense of togetherness are nothing short of awe-inspiring.

King Charles has visited Africa on numerous occasions, from his most recent trip in 2018, wherein he turned his attention towards education, youth development, and conservation, to his 1997 pilgrimage alongside Prince Harry. And in 2013, when he paid his respects at the funeral of our beloved former president, Nelson Mandela.

King Charles III met Nelson Mandela in 1997

Nelson Mandela had a long standing relationship with the Royal Family, Image Credit: South African Tourism

Verily, King Charles's love for South Africa is matched only by his fondness for its people, and his and Camilla's visit in 2011 is a testament to this. During their visit, Charles and Camilla graced &Beyond's Phinda Private Game Reserve – a stunning nature haven and a true beacon of eco-tourism. 

The royal couple's presence was part of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) initiative, which showcased conservation projects in KwaZulu-Natal. They championed the cause of wildlife preservation, highlighting the pressing need to protect these magnificent creatures from harm's way. 

People observing wildlife on a nature walk

Phinda Private Game Reserve runs a number of ground-breaking conservation projects, Image Credit: &Beyond

In addition to shedding light on noble causes, King Charles and his team visited the Mduku community. There, they were delighted to witness the astounding success of the Mduku Clinic, which serves the needs of three communities neighbouring Phinda Private Game Reserve.

His Majesty commended the community projects for their unwavering commitment to improving people's lives and applauded them for not only making a meaningful difference in people's lives but also for being an inspiration to people around the world.

A doctor at Mduku Clinic, one of the organisations that King Charles III supports in South Africa

The Mduku Clinic provides a 24-hour emergency service to the rural communities near Phinda, Image Credit: &Beyond

A Kenyan Adventure Fit for a King

Thy Royal Highness hath also ventured numerous times to Kenya, impelled by his fervour for wildlife preservation and sustainable tourism. Kenya dost possess a splendid array of iconic fauna, including the illustrious Big 5 and the annual Great Wildebeest Migration.

The Great Wildebeest Migration in East Africa, one place King Charles III and Camilla like to visit

Wildebeest crossing the Mara River during the annual Great Migration

On one particularly memorable excursion in 1971, the then-Prince and his sister, the esteemed Princess Anne, embarked upon an indelible safari in the Maasai Mara National Reserve. Amidst the breathtaking landscapes, Charles and Anne gazed upon a regal lion from the comfort of their Jeep.

Lions rule Kenya's animal kingdom

But let it not be said that Charles was present solely for his own amusement – nay, he took an active role in collaborating with gamekeepers and local communities to champion the cause of wildlife conservation and the fight against the heinous act of animal poaching.

This noble undertaking is no surprise, considering his late father, Prince Philip, who co-founded the WWF, and his son, Prince William (now the Prince of Wales), who are both deeply committed to the cause of global conservation. It's clear that the pursuit of protecting our planet's wildlife runs deep in the veins of this royal family.

WildlifeACT fights to protect our endangered species

Wildlife ACT fights to protect our endangered species like rhinos, Image Credit: Wildlife ACT 

King Charles' Tanzanian Tour of Duty

Behold the wondrous land of Tanzania, graced by none other than royalty itself in their quest to foster sustainable tourism and safeguard its splendid wildlife. Herein lies a treasure trove of Africa's most renowned attractions, from the breathtaking Ngorongoro Crater to the towering peak of Mount Kilimanjaro

An elephant with Kilimanjaro in the back, King Charles III adores East Africa

The looming mass of Mount Kilimanjaro commands respect

In 2011, Charles and his beloved wife ventured forth to Tanzania to celebrate the jubilant 50th anniversary of the country's independence in a grand display of solidarity and camaraderie. The stately couple rallied behind the noble cause of promoting sustainable agriculture and extending a helping hand to the local farmers.

In fact, recently, King Charles has pledged nearly £2 million to aid African farmers and support crucial environmental causes through the Prince of Wales's Charitable Fund. This remarkable act of generosity will make a significant impact in the lives of many and serves as an inspiring reminder of the power of philanthropy to drive positive change.

The royal couple also graced the Maasai people with their presence, partaking in the vibrant rhythm of their traditional dance and paying homage to the cultural heritage of these ancient people. Through their visit, they not only reinforced the importance of sustainable practices but also emphasised the crucial need to preserve the rich cultural heritage of the country, a legacy to be cherished by generations to come.

Massai people performing a traditional dance - something that King Charles III was also interested in during his stay

The Maasai people are an indigenous ethnic group found in Kenya and northern Tanzania, Image Credit: &Beyond

Zimbabwe & Zambia: Dependence to Development

In 1980, King Charles visited Zimbabwe during their momentous independence celebrations, representing the Queen with grace and honour. And in 1984, he returned to the country once more, this time as the director of the esteemed Commonwealth Development Corporation (C.D.C), after his visit to Zambia.

Established in 1948 with a noble vision to uplift the dependent territories of the Commonwealth, the C.D.C. has been at the forefront of spurring accelerated development throughout Africa. With a steadfast focus on the vital arena of economic development, spanning sectors such as agriculture, forestry, electricity, water supply, transport, housing, and more, the C.D.C. has been a beacon of hope for much-needed rural communities.

Even though his visit was brief in both countries (you know, pressing royal duties and all), there is no doubt he got a glimpse of the mighty and massive Victoria Falls. We mean, it’s hard to miss as this Natural Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site straddles both Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Helicopter experience over Victoria Falls

Helicopter experience over Victoria Falls, Image Credit: Flight of the Angels

Botswana, the Land of Inspiration

Embarking on the final stretch of his incredible 1984 tour through Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, King Charles arrived in Botswana with a heart full of hope and a deep desire to inspire change. With a steadfast commitment to bettering the lives of those in need, His Majesty took the time to inspect the remarkable projects funded by the esteemed C.D.C.

After his royal duties, some downtime was well-deserved, so guided by his passion for nature and his love of exploration, King Charles made headlines when he piloted a twin-engine aircraft and flew to Chobe Game Lodge, the only permanent safari lodge in the elephant-rich Chobe National Park.

King Charles III flew to Chobe Game Lodge in Botswana himself

A bird’s eye view of the Chobe National Park

Fast forward a few decades later, and King Charles's sons, Princes William and Harry, continue his legacy by visiting Botswana on behalf of Tusk Trust, a charity renowned for its highly efficient approach to funding wildlife conservation programmes.

Elephants drinking water - experience Africa like King Charles III

Botswana, the land of gentle giants

Embark on Your Royal African Adventure

And so, as we celebrate the coronation of King Charles III and his unwavering love for Africa, let us take inspiration from his bold sense of adventure and his deep appreciation for the unique beauty and diversity of our beloved continent. We invite you to follow in his footsteps and experience the magic of Africa first-hand.

Long live King Charles III, the King of Many Crowns and a true friend to the people and wildlife of Africa!

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About the author 

Michelle Welvering

Growing up, Michelle always wanted to become a world-renowned artist, a kickboxing-champion and an eccentric explorer – aka a Kickboxing Exploring Artist! After pursuing an education in Fine Arts and opening her own Kickboxing gym in Pretoria, an unexpected twist led her to a six-year stint as a travel consultant in South African tourism. She believes that all things happen for a reason and, driven by adventure, she was eager to find a more “wild” and cultural space to call home. This led her to wander the Western Cape coastline, fall in love with the city of Cape Town and, of course, her workplace, Rhino Africa.

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