Inside the Botswana camp where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle holidayed before he proposed

Harry whisked the American actress away last year for a surprise holiday to celebrate her 36th birthday, hopping between luxury resorts in the southern African country.

The trip last August came a year into their relationship and a few months before they got engaged.

The trip even meant to much that Harry sourced the diamond in Meghan's engagement ring from Botswana – the world's biggest producer.

The couple went to Botswana soon after they began dating in July 2016, a trip Harry described in a media interview last year as a "crucial" chance to get to know each other.

But Reuters have reported that the couple also visited the Okavango Delta last August, although it was kept a tight secret – with Kensington Palace and lodge managers declining to comment.

The news agency spoke to two local insiders who described the romantic escape at Mapula Lodge, an isolated $800(£580)-a-night retreat that translates as "mother of rain".

Harry and Meghan slept in a traditional thatched cabin with an outdoor shower and a carved wooden bed looking out over a lagoon.

The couple enjoyed a sunset cruise along the creeks, stopping to try their hand at fishing and Harry caught a sharped-toothed catfish.

The source said: "They are like regular guys. They were just relaxed. You could see they were very happy together."

They also went on an early morning game drive and were driven out at twilight to the foot of an ancient baobab tree, where they were served a three-course meal beside a glowing fire.

They added that when the couple left, Harry gave generous tips before flying from the resort's private airstrip.

Botswana is popular with the rich and famous because of the privacy and isolation its top end lodges offer, with other recent visitors including George W. Bush, Saudi princes, Hollywood stars and millionaire footballers.

Eric Muizebelt, manager of the nine-room Mapula Lodge said: "They all come to Botswana because it's still a nice destination to go to where you're not bothered about paparazzi because you're far away from anything and everything.

"The people from Botswana are not like: 'I want to have an autograph or a picture'. People can come here and have their complete rest and peacefulness."

Before venturing into the Delta, Harry and Meghan also spent a night at Meno a Kwena – meaning "teeth of the crocodile" – a camp of luxury tents overlooking the Boteti river where guests often hear the roar of lions during the night

Harry brought his then girlfriend, Chelsy Davy, to the same camp in 2007.

Hennie Rawlinson, owner of Meno a Kwena, where chefs prepare food over an open fire and guests dine al fresco said: "It's an extremely romantic destination, almost every night we have a spectacular sunset.

Botswana, a country of around two million spread over an area the size of France, has always been important to Harry.

He first visited when he was 13, two months after his mother Princess Diana died, and he has returned several times for leisure and charity work.

This year he also became a patron of Rhino Conservation Botswana.

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