Karen Blixen came to Kenya from Denmark to marry her friend, Baron Bror von Blixen Fincke, and start a dairy farm. When she arrived in the country, however, 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, as well as her amazing grace in defeat, 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 dressing table and cupboard in the Karen Blixen Family Room at Giraffe Manor were part of Karen Blixen’s original guest bedroom suite. 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.
This 61 square-metre room is situated on the ground floor of the main manor house behind the kitchen and adjacent to the outdoor terrace where lunch is usually served. It has a king-size bed on the ground level and two single beds on a loft level accessed by a small spiral staircase. A small day bed can also be added to this room to accommodate a young child if required. The room has a large fireplace with seating area as well as shared en-suite facilities with a bathtub and shower. Much like traditional British homes of the same period, the room has a separate water closet with toilet. It is important to note that the giraffes do not have access to this room and it does not have a view of the sanctuary.