A Guide To Karen Blixen Museum

Karen Blixen Museum opened in 1986 was once the centre piece of a farm at the foot of the Ngong Hills owned by Danish Author Karen and her Swedish Husband, Baron Bror von Blixen Fincke. The Museum is located 10km from the city centre. The farm house gained international fame with the release of the movie ‘Out of Africa’ which immortalized Karen Blixen’s book  based on Karen’s an autobiography by the same title.

Karen Blixen Museum History

The Museum was built in 1912 by Swedish Engineer Ake Sjogren. Karen and her husband bought the Museum house in 1917 and it become the farm house for their 4500 acre farm, of which 600 acres was used for coffee farming. Their marriage failed after eight years and in 1921 the Baron moved on and left the running of the farm to Karen. Karen lived at the house until her return to Denmark in 1931. The house farm was bought by Remy Marin, who broke the land into 20 acre parcels for development. Subsequent development created the present suburb of Karen. Records indicate that a Lt. Col.G. Lloyd, an officer of the British Army bought the house in 1935 and lived there until his death in 1954, when it passed to his daughters, Mrs. G. Robersts and Lavender Llyod.  A transfer of title to Mrs. J.P Robson and Mrs L.B. Hyde is in City Hall records in 1956.  The house was sporadically occupied until purchased in 1964 by the Danish government and given to the Kenyan government as an independence gift.

The government set up a college of nutrition and the Museum was initially used as the principal’s house. In 1985 the shooting of a movie based on Karen’s autobiography began and the National Museums of Kenya expressed acquired the house for the purpose of establishing a Museum.

By 1985, with renewed interest in Karen Blixen occasioned by the film production of Out of Africa, an agreement was reach with the collage for the house to become part of the National Museums of Kenya. Many pieces of furniture that Karen Blixen sold to Lady McMillan on her departure were acquired back and constitute part of the exhibition in the Museum. The Museum house remains a serene environment that seems to belong to the past, surrounded by a tranquil garden and indigenous forest, with a splendid view of Karen’s beloved Ngong Hills. She honours the hills with the phrase ‘I had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills.

Karen Blixen Museum
Karen Blixen Museum

The Museum is open to the Public every day (9.30 am to 6pm) including weekends and public holidays. Visitors are encouraged to be at the Museum by 5.30.  Guided tours are offered continuously.  A museum shop offers handicrafts, posters and postcards, the Movie ‘Out of Africa’, books and other Kenyan souvenirs.  The grounds may be rented for wedding receptions, corporate functions and other events.

Karen Blixen Museum Rungstedlund

Rungstedlund situated on the shores of the Øresund Strait is the house in which the author Karen Blixen was born on 17th of April 1885, and to which she returned after 17 years as a farmer in Africa. She lived here until her death in 1962 at the age of 77, and it was here that she wrote all her internationally renowned stories.

Things to see and do at Karen Blixen Museum

Karen Blixen Museum has unique collection of agricultural tools, wagons, ploughs, coffee driers and first generation tractors that provide an insight into early twentieth century agriculture.

Taking a guided tours of the house features rooms designed in both the original decor and with props from the 1985 film. See Karen Blixen’s drawings and paintings, a film screening room,a documentary exhibit on her life and work, a library, a film screening room, a café, a museum shop, and an auditorium used for lectures and special exhibitions.

The grounds of the museum are available to rent for weddings, corporate functions, and other events.

Karen Blixen Museum Opening Hours

Karen Blixen Museum is open every day between 9:30 am to 6:00 pm, including weekends and public holidays.

Karen Blixen Museum Entrance Fee

Citizen – Kenya 

Adults Ksh. 200
Below 16 years Ksh. 100

Residents – East Africa

Adults Ksh. 600
Below 16 years Ksh. 400

Non‐ Residents

Adults Ksh. 1,200
Below 16 years Ksh. 600

How to get to Karen Blixen Museum

By road: Karen Blixen Museum is situated 20km from the city centre and about 2km from Langata Rd. If using public means, take matatu or bus number 24 via Kenyatta Ave heading towards Karen Hardy from the city centre, and alight at Karen Blixen Museum which is near the junction of Bogani Road and Karen Road. A taxi from the city centre should cost KSh 1500 to KSh 2000.

If driving, take Uhuru Highway till Nyayo Stadium, then turn right onto Langata Road and drive past Bomas of Kenya till the junction to Hardy. Turn left onto Langata South Road, then right onto Bogani Road. The museum will be right before the junction between Bogani and Karen Road.

A Map to Karen Blixen Museum

Karen Blixen Museum Contacts

Attraction Type: Culture, Historic Sites, Culture
Category: Cultural Museum, Historical Museum, Community Tourism
Region: Nairobi
City / Town: Nairobi
Road / Street: Karen Rd / LangataNairobi, Kenya
Address: P.O Box 40658- 00100 GPO, Nairobi.
Tel: 020- 8002139/ +254 736919321/ +254 722146193
E-Mail: karenblixen@museums.or.ke

Watch a Video of Karen Blixen Museum