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NitroXAdministrator
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Karen Blixen's House in Karen, Ngong Hills, Kenya
      #333155 - 08/10/19 03:38 AM

I visited this house in 1988. Travelling to Kenya from London, and after Kenya through Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, then back over to Botswana and back into Zimbabwe this time from the SW. Ran out of money and did not get to South Africa.

The suburb of Karen is about twenty kilometres outside of central Nairobi. I took a manatu, a bus, out to there, it needed a change. Missed the change and arrived end of the road. The driver asked me where I wanted to go, and told me this time where to get off. Turned out to be the side of an empty road. Another bus might stop there. It was maybe seven kms more so just decided to walk it.

I arrived at the lovely house and gardens. Paid the entry price and spent a lovely afternoon there. Had no idea how to get back to central Nairobi. Hoped to catch a ride on a tourist group bus. No such luck. Saw some Kenyans walking down the road and voila, a bus stop. After a while another manatu arrived and it went all the way back to town. Some African girls sitting behind me thought it was very funny to touch my non black non curly hair, which was very different to every else on the bus.

I have a great many transparencies/slides of my visit. And some brochures, booklets etc. No idea where they are packed away. So pinched these images and descriptions from the net.

One day I will scan thousands of transparencies and relive these old travels.

--------------------
John aka NitroX

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Re: Karen Blixen's House in Karen, Ngong Hills, Kenya [Re: NitroX]
      #333157 - 08/10/19 03:41 AM

From this page - Credits: https://www.safari254.com/karen-blixen-museum/

Karen Blixen Museunm
Karen, Ngong Hills, Nairobi, Kenya



Iím in the Nairobi suburb of Karen (again), this time at the Karen Blixen Museum, I had initially planned to combine this visit with the trip to the Oloolua nature trail but things did not work out as planned.

Danish author Karen Blixen is best known for penning the book Out of Africa, lived in this house on the outskirts of Nairobi that has now been turned into a museum in her honor. The bungalow-style house was built in 1912 by the Swedish engineer Ňke SjŲgren and bought by Karen Blixen and her then-husband, Baron Bror von Blixen Fincke in 1917, it became a 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.


Karen Blixen Museum_Sign

I was pleasantly surprised when I got there, they offer free guided tours and the guides are very knowledgeable. This was a pleasant change from having to pay the guide.


Karen Blixen Museum_Driveway



Karen Blixen Museum_Map

A map of the original layout of the property



The house features rooms designed in both the original decor and with props from the 1985 film. Fun fact, the house was not used in the filming of Out of Africa, a movie based on Karenís memoir by the same name. At the time of filming it was being used by the government as a health facility so filming took place in a house that previously belonged to the widow of Jomo Kenyatta, the first Prime Minister and President of Kenya.


Karen Blixen Museum_Front of house

Originally owned by the Danish government, the house was donated to Kenya to celebrate the countryís independence. The government then renovated the house in an attempt to preserve it the way it was when Blixen lived there.


Karen Blixen Museum_Karen

Karen with a dog that she got from her husband Baron Bror Blixen as a wedding gift


The museum does not allow photography inside the premises but rules are made to be broken, no? Once my guide was gone, I went back to the premises and again my Samsung K Zoom camera phone came in handy and was able to take some quick snaps of the rooms (I happened to be the only one inside, perks of visiting on a weekday). There was a large group of tourists outside so I had to rush while watching over my back and listening for anyone coming into the house.


Karen Blixen Museum_Baron Blixen's Study_

Baron Blixenís study. The bookcase contains copies of the book Out of Africa which has been translated into various langiages.



Karen Blixen Museum_Safe

The Baron Blixenís study; if my memory serves me right the free standing safe is part of the original dťcor.



Karen Blixen Museum_Dining room

On the side of the French doors opening to a small patio with views of the Ngong Hills you can see reproductions of Karenís paintings.

.

Karen Blixen Museum_Record player

The dining room; It is here that Karen Blixen twice entertained the Prince of Wales. The table has been set with beautiful cutlery.


Karen Blixen Museum_Dining Room1


Karen Blixen Museum_Backyard1

The lawn; Karen used to sit here in the evenings as it offers a splendid view of the Ngong Hills


Karen Blixen Museum_Lawn

Karen used to entertain guests in the library and in top left corner you can spot two lamps which according to the guide she used to indicate her mood. When she lit the red lamp it meant that she did not want to be disturbed while the green meant she was in a good mood and was willing to entertain.


Karen Blixen Museum_Karen's study


Karen Blixen Museum_Typewriter


Karen and her husband used to sleep in separate bedrooms. There is a door linking the bedrooms.


Karen Blixen Museum_Baron Blixen's bedroom1

To the left you can see a portrait of Karenís lover Denys Finch Hatton.


Karen Blixen Museum_Baron BlixenBaron Blixen


Karen Blixen Museum_Baron Blixen's bedroom

Karenís bedroom offers a lovely view of the front lawn.


Karen Blixen Museum_Karen's bedroom


Karen Blixen Museum_Karen's bedroom1

The dressing table might be part of the original furniture; I seem to recall the guide mentioning something along those lines.


Karen Blixen Museum_Karen's bedroom

Their bathroom facilities were pretty basic. The toilet consisted of a wooden box over a bucket that the servants used to empty when it got full.


Karen Blixen Museum_Bathroom

Unfortunately I was not able to get any photos of the kitchen. The kitchen is situated outside the house and is directly opposite the ticketing area Ė too risky to take photos.


Karen Blixen Museum_Walkway

The museum is located in a beautiful and serene envrironment and is a lovely location to hold an outdoor wedding.


Karen Blixen Museum_Lawn1

You can spot the Ngong Hills in the background. Karenís lover Denys Finch Hatton was buried at the foot of the hills in accordance to his wishes.



You will also be able to see old equipment that used to be used on the coffee farm





The prices are quite reasonable



Karen Blixen Museum_TicketCitizen: _NE Adults -Kshs 200 ($2) Kids below 16yrs -Kshs 100 ($1)

CHARGES (OTHERS)

Residents: Adults- Kshs 600 ($6) Kids below 16yrs- Kshs 400 ($4)

Non Residents: Adults Ė Kshs 1,200 ($13) Kids below 16yrs -Kshs 600 ($6)

How to get there:

Karen Blixen Museum is situated 20km from the city centre in the Karen suburb. If using public means, take matatu or bus number 24 heading towards Karen Hardy from the city centre, and alight at Karen Blixen Museum which is near the junction of Bogani Road and Karen Road.

If driving, take Uhuru Highway till Nyayo Stadium, then turn right onto Langata Road and drive past Bomas of Kenya till the junction to Hardy. Turn left onto Langata South Road, then right onto Bogani Road. The museum will be right before the junction between Bogani and Karen Road.



Edited by NitroX (08/10/19 04:48 AM)


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Daryl_S
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Re: Karen Blixen's House in Karen, Ngong Hills, Kenya [Re: NitroX]
      #333158 - 08/10/19 03:56 AM

That's amazing. Thanks John.
We had a Corona typewriter just like that, when I was a kid.

--------------------
Daryl


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Re: Karen Blixen's House in Karen, Ngong Hills, Kenya [Re: Daryl_S]
      #333171 - 08/10/19 05:37 AM

Quote:

That's amazing. Thanks John.
We had a Corona typewriter just like that, when I was a kid.




I have an old typewriter, which has a whole story attached to it, as well, but not that old. Mine is electric. And purchased for writing articles and other stuff, before computers came about.

Now I remember that road. I am thinking this is the entrance way. And to the right maybe eighty metres was either the bus stop, or a corner with the bus stop again to the left.



--------------------
John aka NitroX

...
"I love the smell of cordite in the morning."
"A Sharp spear needs no polish"


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Re: Karen Blixen's House in Karen, Ngong Hills, Kenya [Re: NitroX]
      #333172 - 08/10/19 05:41 AM



How pleasant a backyard. Neat and tudy.

Made me think of the "Presidential Palace" in Bucharest Romania, where if you looked out the back windows, the backyard of the biggest building on Earth is a rubbish tip and overgrown weeds and bushes.

--------------------
John aka NitroX

...
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9.3x57
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Re: Karen Blixen's House in Karen, Ngong Hills, Kenya [Re: NitroX]
      #333173 - 08/10/19 06:07 AM

Awesome. Thanks for posting that.

I've never been inside but did fly over it at fairly low altitude in a twin-engine Aero Commander on my way to Zaire in 1980. I remember the pilot pointing out the window and saying; "There's Karen Blixen''s house!"

A gal that works for me lived not far away and was an extra in the movie! But she has never been inside the house, as her parents were re-posted not long after.

PS: I didn't see any cutlery on the table!

--------------------
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Re: Karen Blixen's House in Karen, Ngong Hills, Kenya [Re: 9.3x57]
      #333230 - 09/10/19 07:24 AM

Thanks for sharing John.

Never been there but one day I must go. Been to Karen house here in Denmark many times the circle is full with a visit to Kenya.
When visiting Kenya a visit to Nyeri graveyard where Jim Corbett & Baden-Powell are resting seems mandatory too..

Edited by rigbymauser (09/10/19 07:26 AM)


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Re: Karen Blixen's House in Karen, Ngong Hills, Kenya [Re: rigbymauser]
      #333255 - 09/10/19 07:00 PM

Thanks John.

Great you managed to get some photos.

I didnít get there when I was in Nairobi but did go to Karen and Ngong.

Need more time there.


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Re: Karen Blixen's House in Karen, Ngong Hills, Kenya [Re: Rockdoc]
      #333257 - 09/10/19 08:45 PM

Thanks John,

It is nice to see the actual home where a 'Special' person lived, the way it is preserved is a credit to all the staff.



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Re: Karen Blixen's House in Karen, Ngong Hills, Kenya [Re: CHAPUISARMES]
      #333261 - 09/10/19 09:51 PM

These are not my photos. Photos from a female travellor on the net.

My photos are on transparencies somewhere. From her story she mentions it was not allowed to take photos in the house. I can't remember if it was so for me as well. I think I would have taken some anyway? Don't remember. I know I did take outside photos galore. I also know I did buy a book or booklet on the house, which had photos. I do this sometimes when they don't allow your own photos.

--------------------
John aka NitroX

...
"I love the smell of cordite in the morning."
"A Sharp spear needs no polish"


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Re: Karen Blixen's House in Karen, Ngong Hills, Kenya [Re: NitroX]
      #333400 - 13/10/19 11:45 PM

The "Out of Africa" movie house



The "Out of Africa" movie house. A nearby house modified to look like the original. Both the interiror and exterior was used in the movie.

I think they did a good job.




The original Karen Blixen House and now a Museum.







Lovely deep verandahs. Perfect for shade in the tropical sun and wonderful for outdoor dining.



Whicker garden furniture is perfect.






Deep verandahs are oideal for outdoor dining.




The large sitting room.






The mediaeval styled fireplace is a nice touch.













An advertisement showing examples of how to recreate the look of the house.



--------------------
John aka NitroX

...
"I love the smell of cordite in the morning."
"A Sharp spear needs no polish"


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Re: Karen Blixen's House in Karen, Ngong Hills, Kenya [Re: NitroX]
      #333404 - 14/10/19 01:12 AM

John, thank you for the photos.

I visited this house in July 2008 at midday on a week day. I was the only visitor on the property during the hour or so that I was there. I remember that the house seemed to be sitting lower to the ground and appeared to be falling into disrepair. There was far less furniture than I expected and of course no firearms. There were many images of Streep and Redford around, so it felt more like a movie set than Karen Blixen's house. I could not quite get into the proper mood to appreciate it - not sure exactly why as I love the period, the film, Karen, and everything else about it. The surrounding area is now so developed that it is difficult to imagine what it used to look like.


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Re: Karen Blixen's House in Karen, Ngong Hills, Kenya [Re: mckinney]
      #333432 - 14/10/19 06:26 PM

Sad if that is the case. Not unsurprising. Even though Karen Blixen was held in high regard by the black Africans due to her altruism towards them, I wonder if the modern black leadership and gov't gives a stuff about that. Letting their countries fall into ruin seems par for the course to me.

I visited Kenya in 1988. The suburb then was not countryside, but largish blocks of housing. Seeing the Presidents sister lived nearby probably an affluent area. Walking there I remember walking through large fields on the road, it was not solid urban housing. The Blixen House/Museum was located in its own park grounds. Certainly the suburb was no longer big farms and wild bush lands. When Blixen's land was sold when her families company went into bankruptcy, it was sold to Remy Martin, who sub-divided the several thousand acres into smaller blocks and houses. Since then these blocks have been sub-divided further into urban housing blocks.

The girl who took the photos I believe took them sometime in the 2000's as well.

Africans are not known for their high standards of care and diligence. Reading Blixen's writings, she even records they dislike boredom and routine. So perhaps she was in agreement with my assessment.

I decided to listen to Out of Africa on audiobook, again, last week. Still doing so. It is very different from the movie. The book is not truly non fiction, as some of the stories are 'stories' and fictional. Written as non fiction though. I guess the author Blixen also disliked boredom.

--------------------
John aka NitroX

...
"I love the smell of cordite in the morning."
"A Sharp spear needs no polish"


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