Karen Blixen and Girrafe Centre
The Karen Blixen museum is one of a number of very interesting regional museums and archeological and prehistoric sites of the National museums of Kenya.Karen Blixen Museum is open to the Public every day (9.30 am to 6pm) including weekends and public holidays. Located 10km from the city centre, the Museum belongs to a different time period in the history of Kenya. The farm house gained international fame with the release of the movie ‘Out of Africa’ an Oscar winning film based on Karen’s an autobiography by the same title.Visitors are encouraged to be at the Museum by 8.00 am – 5.30 pm. Guided tours are offered continuously. A museum shop offers handicrafts, posters and postcards, the Movie ‘Out of Africa’, books and other Kenyan souvenirs. The grounds may be rented for wedding receptions, corporate functions and other events. Karen Blixen Museum was once the centre piece of a farm at the foot of the Ngong Hills owned by Danish Author Karen and her Swedish Husband, Baron Bror von Blixen Fincke.
The Museum was built in 1912 by Swedish Engineer Ake Sjogren. Karen and her husband bought the Museum house in 1917 and it become the farm house for their 4500 acre farm, of which 600 acres was used for coffee farming. Their marriage failed after eight years and in 1921 the 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 house farm was bought by Remy Marin, who broke the land into 20 acre parcels for development. Subsequent development created the present suburb of Karen. Records indicate that a Lt. Col.G. Lloyd, an officer of the British Army bought the house in 1935 and lived there until his death in 1954, when it passed to his daughters, Mrs. G. Robersts and Lavender Llyod. A transfer of title to Mrs. J.P Robson and Mrs L.B. Hyde is in City Hall records in 1956. The house was sporadically occupied until purchased in 1964 by the Danish government and given to the Kenyan government as an independence gift. The government set up a college of nutrition and the Museum was initially used as the principal’s house. In 1985 the shooting of a movie based on Karen’s autobiography began and the National Museums of Kenya expressed acquired the house for the purpose of establishing a Museum. The Museum was opened in 1986.This museum was originally the home of Karen Blixen, who came to Kenya from Denmark in the early part of this century; the present museum site is at the heart of the larger coffee plantation run by Blixen between 1914 and 1931. The house and surrounding land was donated by the Danish government to Kenya at independence; the house was restored by the Danish government and was used during the filming of Out of Africa, which immortalized Karen Blixen’s book by the same name. The Museum was opened to the public in 1986. Much of the original furniture is on display in the house, and combined with the beautifully landscaped gardens and encompassing view of the Ngong Hills, the Museum has continued to a be very popular destination for international and local visitors. The original kitchen has been restored and is now open for viewing. A Dove Stove similar to the one used by Blixen is on display, as are other period kitchen utensils. Reconstruction of the coffee factory as an additional attraction is underway and other early farm machinery is also on display, depicting the early settler life in Kenya.
Later proceed to the giraffe centre to see and feed the famous rothschild giraffe.
The giraffe center was started by Jock Leslie-Melville, the Kenyan grandson of a Scottish Earl, when he and his wife Betty captured a baby giraffe to start a programme of breeding giraffe in captivity at their home in Langata – home of the present centre. Since then the programme has had huge success, resulting in the introduction of several breeding pairs of Rothschild Giraffe into Kenyan national parks.
The giraffe centre is located Langata, approximately 5 km from the centre of Nairobi, Kenya. It was established in order to protect the endangered Rothschild giraffe, giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi, that is found only in the grasslands of Africa. In 1979, Leslie-Melville added an education centre to his (then still private) giraffe sanctuary. By 1983 he had raised enough money to establish the Giraffe Visitor’s Centre as a tourist destination in Nairobi. The center is also home to several warthogs which freely roam the area along with the giraffes. The main attraction for visitors is feeding giraffes from a raised observation platform.