”I had a farm in Africa…”


Karen Blixen wrote those as the first few words of her autobiography, Out of Africa. Her book was made into a movie starring Meryl Streep in the 80s, and it’s been my favorite movie since the first time I saw it.

If you’re a fan of the movie, or of Karen Blixen’s writing or personal story, you may recognize the house shown in the following photos. Karen’s farm at the time she lived there nearly 100 years ago was a fair way out of Nairobi at the foot of the Ngong Hills. But time and progress have swallowed up this part of the world, as it inevitably does, and Karen’s farm is now a museum in the Nairobi suburb of Karen. It’s been through many incarnations over the years. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to see it.

There are portraits of her and Denys Finch Hatton. Some of her furnishings and dishes decorate the home, including her beloved cuckoo clock and Victrola.

The grounds are beautiful, but sadly it’s late in the day when we arrive from Masai Mara and we don’t have time to explore. We are lucky to catch the last tour of the day before the museum closes.

Our guide gives us a wonderful tour and shares an interesting bit of trivia. In the 1980s, the museum found there weren’t a lot of tourists coming to visit. So the board decided to market the book to studios in hopes of making it into a movie as a way of advertising the museum. And that’s how they made it a popular tourist attraction for Kenya. Tourism exploded after the movie.

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2 comments

  1. Thank you so much for this wonderfully written post and the beautiful pictures Sturgischick. Just an amazing journey you are sharing.

  2. I, like you,have always loved the movie. The cinematography of Africa in the film is alluring.
    It prompted me years later to read a book of hers. It was a struggle. I’m not sure I finished it.
    Her life there was amazing!
    I, so enjoy your travels. Thank you for sharing.

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