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More than a bungalow – Karen Blixen Museum

This week, I am still in the leafy suburbs of Karen in Nairobi, but this time round, we set camp at the Karen Blixen Museum. A story is told of Karen Blixen, a famous author of a popular memoir titled Out of Africa.

She lived in the now leafy suburbs of Karen, and in her honour, the house was turned into a museum. The bungalow was built back in 1912, in a 4,500-acre farm where Karen lived with her husband, Baron Bror Fredrik von Blixen-Finecke from 1914.

Six hundred acres were, however, used for coffee farming. Their marriage failed after eight years and Baron moved on and left the running of the farm to Karen. Karen lived at the house until her return to Denmark in 1931.

The Danish government later donated the house to the Kenyan government and it was opened to the public in 1986 as one of Kenya’s national museums following the popularity of the 1985 Academy award winning movie, Out of Africa.

The house farm was later bought by Remi Marin, who later divided the land into 20-acre parcels for development. The suburb that emerged on the land where Blixen farmed coffee is the present Karen, a town that was created by the subdivision of the coffee farm’s land after Blixen’s return to Denmark.

So, what does the house really have you would ask? It still has its original décor and some props that were used in the Hollywood film, Out of Africa. However, they did not use this particular house when filming the movie, even though the film was based on a Kenyan memoir.

The pictures were taken in her first farmhouse in the nearby Mbagathi, where she lived between 1914 and 1917. It is in this house that she did a grand dinner party for the Prince of Wales, Denys Finch Hatton.

You even get to see the details of the menu when you visit the museum. You are also taken on a nature walk around the land and you get to see some of the machinery she used to cultivate the coffee farm.

This place also offers an excellent view of the Ngong Hills. There is also a gift shop and the grounds are available to rent for corporate functions and weddings, among others.

For this historic tour you only pay Sh200 if you are a Kenya citizen and Sh1,500 for foreigners. Once you are done with the tour, you can try out the menu at the Tamambo Blixen in Karen as you reminisce on the intriguing tales of Karen Blixen.

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