Out of Africa, but all in Blixen’s house
In Nairobi’s upmarket area of Karen is a house where Danish author Karen Blixen lived. She is famous for her book, Out of Africa, which was turned into a movie that won seven Oscars.
The Karen Blixen museum now attracts thousands of visitors every year who come to admire its contents and get a taste of colonial Africa.
Curators and administrators say that Blixen lived in the house between 1914 and 1931.
During this time, most of Karen was a coffee plantation and she managed part of it.
According to records from the National Museums of Kenya, which now manage the museum, the house was built in 1912 by a Swedish engineer called Ake Sjogren.
Karen and her husband Baron Blixen bought the house in 1917 and it became the farm house for their 6,000 acre farm, 600 acres of which were under coffee.
Their marriage failed after eight years and in 1921, Karen’s husband moved out and left her to run the farm.
She lived at the house until her return to Denmark in 1931. The house changed hands several times after that until 1963 when the Danish government bought it and handed it to the Kenyan Government as an Independence gift.
There is a guided tour of this museum and most of the time photography is strictly limited.
The guides, who are well versed in Karen Blixen’s life and history, will take you through the rooms.
Many of the artefacts from the movie have been carefully preserved here.
Another outstanding feature of the Karen Blixen museum is its carefully manicured garden that takes about an hour to tour the beautiful garden.
There are old coffee roasting and grinding machines that have been carefully preserved and add a lovely, picturesque feel to the garden.
For art lovers, the museum, which has been redone to show how Blixen lived, offers a very interesting look at life back then.
It has a great library of books that belonged to Denys Finch Hatton whom, it is claimed, lived with Blixen in the house in 1926.
Within the museum is a shop that sells books, artefacts and African handicrafts.