“The Little Known Farm House”
What most people don’t know is that the Karen Blixen Museum was once a farm house for a coffee plantation owned by Danish author Karen Blixen who is famous for her book Out of Africa.
The farm house was built in 1912 by a Swedish engineer Åke Sjögren, and was later bought by Karen Blixen and her then-husband, Baron von Blixen in 1917. In 1921 she separated from her husband but she continued living in the house and ran a large coffee plantation on the grounds until she returned to Denmark in 1931 after the coffee plantation was declared bankrupt.
The house was later donated by the Danish government in 1964 to the Kenyan government as an independence gift. The house opened to the public in 1986 as one of Kenya’s national museums in 1986 following the popularity of the 1985 movie, Out of Africa.(However, this house was not used for the filming of Out of Africa, as the pictures were taken in her first farmhouse, at Mbagathi, where she lived between 1914 and 1917.) Today the Museum is situated in the upscale Nairobi suburb of “Karen,” a town that was created by the parceling out of the coffee farm’s land after Blixen’s return to Denmark.
Why it stands out
The Karen Blixen house stands out because it tells part of the story of Kenya’s colonial beginnings, European settlement and cultivation pattern. It also stands out because of the fact that it is associated with the life of Karen Blixen, who showed the world the beauty of Kenya’s rich heritage.
The house’s architecture is typical of late 19th century bungalow architecture, including the spacious rooms, horizontal layout verandas, tile roof and stone construction typical those built throughout European suburbs of Nairobi in early decades. Visitors have a chance to take part in the continuously offered guided tours of the house, which features the rooms designed in the original décor and props from the 1985 film, out of Africa. The ground features the original equipment from the coffee farm and a botanical garden that offers a serene and cool environment.
How to get there
The museum is located 10 km outside Nairobi. It is therefore not a walking distance form Nairobi’s CBD. You can access the museum by both public and private means of transport. For public transport use matatu number 24 that are found at Ambassador along Tom Mboya Street.
Or get there with Uniglobe Lets’ Go Travel
Opening hours and charges
The museum opens at 8.30am- 5.30pm daily .A Kenyan citizen only needs to have ksh 200 while residents and non residents need ksh 600 and 1200 respectively. These charges are inclusive of the guiding fees.
What to do and see
At the museum you get a chance to learn about the life of a Danish Author Karen Blixen. If you loved the movie out of Africa you will love the farm house. The museum houses a gallery featuring Karen Blixen’s paintings, drawings and a library of books she wrote. It also has Karen’s living room, study room, bedroom and dining room you could explore.
Outside the house you will see the farm equipment that Karen used in the coffee plantation to farm and harvest the coffee. In the nature trails you will find a coffee drying machine with a vertical steam boiler.
In addition to offering visitors with Karen’s history the museums ground is available to rent for weddings, corporate functions and other events.
My product experience rating
The botanical garden was the best place for me because I love nature. It was perfect and calm for unwinding after a busy day or week. The history of Karen is well kept at the museum for the history and movie lovers. Rating: 7/10
Guiding and interpretation
The guides at the museum are very knowledgeable about the museum and will give you every detail about the museum. In addition, they do the guiding passionately. Rating 8/10
The museum environment is very clean and well maintained. The botanical garden is very clean too. Rating:8/10
Overall experience rating; 7.7/10
The farm equipment is wearing out something should be done to maintain and preserve them for the future generations. Otherwise it is a good attraction for the history and movie lovers and also offers a cool environment to unwind.
Visit Karen Blixen with Uniglobe Lets’ Go Travel
Reviewed on 29th April 2017 by Jane Ngeso