We must leave our mark on life while we have it in our power~ Karen Blixen
What comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘Museum’? Perhaps the word ‘Museum’ brings to mind dusty, old, dull things and buildings, ay? 🙂 Well, I’m coming to appreciate Nairobi’s offerings in terms of the History of Kenya and House Museums… And it is far from dusty or dull! 😀
In keeping with our ‘Best of Nairobi’ blog series, we recently visited the Karen Blixen Museum in Nairobi. This age-old House Museum took us on a journey through time, as far back as 1910….
The beauty of a House Museum is that it is more personal- you get to see the person’s things, what they liked, how they lived…. making it more relatable.
The Karen Blixen Museum was initially home to Karen Blixen and her husband, Baron Bror Blixen in the early 1900’s. She is well known for her Book ‘Out of Africa,’ an account of her life in Kenya; it was later adopted into a film.
She lived in Kenya, until 1931 when she returned to Denmark. Karen’s home was transformed into a Museum in honor of her memory in the 1980’s.
Karen’s time in Kenya was not devoid of adventure or controversy… She challenged societal norms, for instance when she set up a school for the local children who lived on her farm. Her value for education, saw the setting up of Karen’s College, next to the farm, which is now K.M.T.C Karen.
Karen’s coffee plantation in Nairobi was also a popular subject, as it had never been done before, considering the warm weather… While she may not have been perfect, suffice it to say, she danced to the beat of her own drum….
When you have a great and difficult task, something perhaps almost impossible, if you only work a little at a time, every day a little, suddenly the work will finish itself~ Karen Blixen.
Exploring The Karen Blixen Museum
I don’t know how I first learned about the Karen Blixen Museum, but I’ve had it on my wish list since last year…
Then by some sheer luck, we came upon the ‘Karen Blixen Museum’ sign, on our way to the Giraffe Centre (story for another day)… It felt only right for Wanjiku and I to drop by and explore. 🙂
How To Get There
The Karen Blixen Museum is located in Karen, about 10km away from the CBD, on Karen Road. You can board a bus #24 to Karen, from the Kencom Stage, in the CBD.
It is also easily accessible via Uber or Taxify, as the roads are well-marked, and it’s a quick find on Google Maps.
What To Expect
I was curious to learn more about Karen Blixen’s life in Kenya, as well as her home… Our experience turned out way better than we had anticipated!
Here are some of my favorite aspects of our time there, that will hopefully inspire you to visit! 😀
Super Affordable Entry Fee
This is possibly one of the best parts about the Karen Blixen Museum! We went in blind, since it was not exactly a planned visit, so we were excited to learn that it fit right into our thin budget for the day!
They charge 12USD, and 6USD for Non-resident adults and children respectively, while it costs only 200Kshs for Kenyan residents.
This amount covers entry, a guided tour and access to the grounds for as long as you like. 😀
A Fun Tour of The Farm
I have not been on such a fun tour in a long while! Our guide (sadly her name escapes me) was friendly and down to earth. She relayed the details of the museum to us with such ease, making it easy for us to interact with her, and ask questions.
More Than A House Museum!
Karen’s home is like box of gems, humorous stories, little pieces of History and details of the people who have been there. Moreover, it was the main set for the Film ‘Out of Africa’ featuring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford.
Here you get to learn more about Karen who was incredibly talented as an author, painter, floral artist and story teller. They also have a display of all the books that she wrote when she returned to Denmark
PHOTOGRAPHY BY: WANJIKU THUO
It was amazing how well her life story fit in to our Sarova Heritage Tour. We got to learn more details about the Gramophone, and her relationship with Denys Finch Hatton. (You can read about the Sarova Heritage Tour Here)
I also had an ‘Aha’ moment when it clicked that Karen, the entire area, is named after Karen Blixen…
go figure! 😀
Vast, Relaxing Gardens
From the moment you walk in, you feel the warm, soothing embrace of the farm, with its well-manicured lawns, airy trees and colorful flowers.
Perhaps it’s because I like huge outdoor spaces, but I totally love it when you can almost ‘hear’ yourself breathe in the fresh air… Plus Karen’s farm equipment took me back to that calming effect of the village. 😀
The red-flowered tree (I forget it’s name), was like a dream come true! I wanted to sit down, and play with the flowers like a little child-and so I did. 😀 The sound of cracking leaves beneath my shoes felt like the ultimate connection with nature.
I could have spent the entire day sitting there, bonding with nature. That is a moment I will always treasure. 🙂
There is so much more to the Karen Blixen Museum, that I have intentionally left out… Why? Because I would love for you to take a tour there, and experience it for yourself… It is both accessible and affordable, so why not… right? 😀
It is well worth it- I promise you. 🙂
- The Museum is open daily from 8:30 a.m to 6 p.m; you can walk in for a visit and they will assign a tour guide to you
- They have plenty of open space, so it makes for a good family activity with kids or friends
Thank you ever so much for reading! 😀 Writing this post started off somewhat rocky, but in the end I’ve had a ball sharing it with you!
I love reading your comments, questions and inputs, so be sure to drop a line or more in the Comments’ Section down below! And if you’ve been to the Karen Blixen Museum, what was your best part? I want to hear that too! 😀
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