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HomeTravel news and articlesWalk in Karen Blixen’s footsteps

Walk in Karen Blixen’s footsteps

14 June, 2018
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Karen Blixen Museum

Karen Blixen is a famous Danish author. She lived in Denmark and Kenya and became world famous for her memoir “Out of Africa” about her time in Nairobi.

In Kenya, you can visit the amazing places where Karen Blixen lived and understandably fell so in love with.

Read on here and find out how you can walk in Karen Blixen’s footsteps.

Who was Karen Blixen?

Karen Blixen (née Dinesen) was born in 1885 and grew up in the north Zealand town of Rungsted in Denmark. In 1914, she married her Swedish half-cousin Baron Bror von Blixen-Finecke in Africa, where they settled on a small farm, M’Bagathi.

In 1917, the couple bought the coffee farm, M’Bogani, in the Ngong Hills, around 10 km outside Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. They ran the farm, the Karen Coffee Company Ltd., together until their divorce in 1925, after which Karen Blixen ran it alone.

Karen Blixen subsequently began a love affair with Denys Finch Hatton. Denys died in an air crash in 1931, after which the farm was sold at foreclosure auction and she left Kenya.

The world-famous “Out of Africa”, about Karen Blixen’s time in Nairobi, was published in 1937 under her pseudonym Isak Dinesen.

Karen Blixen died aged 77 in 1962 after many years of excellent writing.

“Out of Africa” was made into a film of the same name in 1985, winning several Oscars and making her world famous.

Want to walk in Karen Blixen’s footsteps?

bedroom

Would you like to get to know Karen Blixen’s Kenya a little better?

In Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, you will discover more exciting sights and attractions, giving you a truly unique insight into Karen Blixen’s life in the African country.

In the “Karen” neighbourhood, around 10 km outside Nairobi, you can visit the Karen Blixen Museum and Karen Coffee Garden.

Before your visit, you might like to read “Out of Africa” or watch the film of the same name about Karen Blixen’s life on the coffee farm.

Karen Blixen Museum

The Karen Blixen Museum was opened as a tribute to Karen Blixen in 1985.

From coffee farm to museum

A year after Karen Blixen’s death in 1962, the Danish state purchased the coffee farm and gave it to Kenya as a gift when the country achieved independence from the UK. Until its independence, the country was called British East Africa.

The Kenyans converted the farm into a school of home economics in 1966, and the farmhouse became the principal’s residence.

In the 1980s, a Danish committee again became involved in the coffee farm, and it was then that the decision was made to transform it into a museum as a tribute to Karen Blixen.

It was also in the 1980s that Sydney Pollack directed “Out of Africa”, a dramatisation of Karen Blixen’s memoir of her life in Africa. The film company behind the film donated $ 5,000 to the restoration of the buildings, which were in poor condition, and the Danish committee raised funds to furnish the museum.

The museum itself consists of the old farmhouse, the kitchen and the coffee dryer, which were some of the buildings that formed the setting of Karen Blixen’s coffee farm.

The museum today

Today, the museum is part of National Museums of Kenya, and is located in the Karen neighbourhood, which is named after the Dane.

At the museum, you gain a unique insight into Karen Blixen’s everyday life in Africa. There are a few pieces of furniture in the house from the Blixens’ day, as well as photographs and a bronze cast of Karen Blixen, made by Harald Isenstein in 1935.

The museum is open 365 days a year from 9.30 am to 6 pm. Guided tours are available, but you can also walk around the farm on your own. The Karen Blixen Museum is a popular tourist destination and a must-see for anyone interested in Karen Blixen and her story.

Karen Coffee Garden

If you need a rest before or after experiencing the sense of history at the Karen Blixen Museum, you can visit Karen Coffee Garden, which is also located in the Karen area, a few kilometres from the museum.

The house where Karen Coffee Garden is located was once the administration building of the coffee farm and was built between 1906 and 1908.

The fairy-tale garden has several old trees, which are more than 100 years old, colourful flowers and abundant wildlife.

In the garden, you can enjoy a delicious lunch or an exquisite cup of coffee made from beans from the area where Karen and Bror cultivated coffee beans on their African farm.

Want to experience Karen Blixen’s Africa?

Karen's house

If you would like to experience Karen Blixen’s Africa, there is plenty of opportunity to walk in her footsteps.

On several of our amazing tours to Kenya, you can experience Karen Blixen’s Africa in Nairobi.

If you have any questions about the tours, please feel free to contact our travel consultants.

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