Karen Blixen came to Kenya from Denmark to marry her friend, Baron Bror von Blixen Fincke, and start a dairy farm. However, when she arrived in the country she found, much to her surprise, that the Baron had invested in coffee instead. Whilst her attempts at growing coffee heartbreakingly failed, her courage, incredible fortitude and kindness to her Kikuyu workers who toiled so hard alongside her, earned her enormous respect from the local people. As the area in which she once lived became more developed, the district of Karen was named after her.
The Danish government gave Blixen’s house to the Kenyan government as an independence gift in 1964. In 1985 when her autobiography ‘Out of Africa’ became an Academy Award-winning Hollywood film, the house was turned into a museum.
The 113 square-metre Karen Blixen room at Giraffe Manor is located on the top floor of the main manor house. Its spacious balcony enjoys lovely south-facing views and provides guests with the opportunity to feed the giraffes in the early morning hours. This two-bedroomed suite – the largest of all the rooms at the manor – was rebuilt and moved to its new location in 2019. Each bedroom has its own en-suite facilities with bathtub, shower and twin sinks. The master bedroom has a king-sized four poster bed, whilst the second bedroom has two single four poster beds and a small daybed which can accommodate a young child. The room also has a spacious lounge with a fireplace and a writing desk. This delightful suite is adorned with a little piece of history; a dressing table and wardrobe that were both from Karen Blixen’s original guest bedroom. The mother of Jock Leslie-Melville (who bought the manor in the 1970s) was a friend of Karen’s and the furniture was given to her as a parting gift when Karen returned to Denmark in 1931.