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Baroness Karen Christenze von Blixen-Finecke was a Danish author who wrote in Danish and English. Blixen is best known for Out of Africa, published in 1937, an account of her life while living in Kenya. In 1986, Out of Africa, the motion picture won numerous awards around the world, including Best Picture at the Academy Awards. The story and the life of Karen Blixen is beautifully told in the movie; we watched it again a week before our trip.

Karen followed her fiance to Kenya where they were married in Mombasa in 1914. Baron Bror Fredrik von Blixen-Finecke, was a Swedish nobleman, writer, and African big-game hunter. They were married from 1914 to 1925. After her marriage, she became known as Baroness Blixen, and she used the title until her ex-husband remarried in 1929. Initially, Karen and Bror Blixen planned to raise cattle on their farm, but eventually became convinced that coffee would be more profitable. In August of 1931 Blixen returned to Denmark to live with her mother leaving her beloved estate. The move was the result of many factors, the main ones being the death of her lover at the time, Finch Hatton and the failure of the coffee plantation. She remained in Rungstedlund for the rest of her life.

Karen’s life and legacy as well as her incredible impact on Nairobi is marvelously narrated by a local guide as you start the tour of the Karen Blixen museum. The grounds are stunning; at the end of your tour make sure you take some time to sit back and take in the beauty of the park at the back of the property or even the sitting areas in the greenery in the front. As you sit there you’ll feel the depth behind Karen’s words: “I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong hills… “

The museum has a small but perfectly stocked gift shop that is very reasonably priced.

Karen Blixen Coffee Garden and Cottages

Located less than 1km ( less than a 5 min drive) from the museum the Coffee Garden is a peaceful escape perfect for an afternoon break. We had a lovely lunch there with Martin, our driver. The garden and the grounds are lush and peaceful, a mini oasis in the busy neighbourhood of Karen. The trees and the sun umbrellas provide the much needed shelter from the African sun and the staff are there with jokes and smiles to keep you entertained. There are rooms and garden cottages available at the property and I’m sure they’re lovely but we did not stay there during this visit.

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