Karen Blixen Museum

Karen Rd, Nairobi, Kenya


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“My own relation to the world of ancient Africa was indeed a kind of love affair; love at first sight and everlasting,” wrote Karen Blixen, who is more widely known through her pen name Isak Dinesen. Arguably through her book, Out of Africa, she is more responsible than any other writer of the 20th century for making the wild beauty of Africa, its people, landscape and animals, such a romantic destination. She wrote of her arduous attempt at creating a coffee plantation, of her friendships with Africans and fellow expats as well as of the animals. “A giraffe is so much a lady that one refrains from thinking of her legs, but remembers her as floating over the plains in long garbs, draperies of morning mist, a mirage.” Though she left Kenya, defeated by the economic failure of her venture in the 1930s, her house, where she lived from 1917 to 1931, remains. (Only parts of the film were shot here.) Typical suburban houses surround it now, for Karen, as the area is known, has become a desirable suburb with private schools, diplomatic housing and country clubs. Her loyal staff and beloved dogs have long since died and many of the furnishings and memorabilia are now in a museum in her native Denmark but the setting is lovely and her presence remains. It is worth a visit if for no other reason than as Peter Beard wrote of Blixen in his book, The End of the Game, “She has made us all part of that world, those extremes because like any great writer she was involved us in herself. This is her world and we are different fro having known it through her.”

Written by Melissa Biggs Bradley

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