RICH HISTORY OF KAREN BLIXEN COFFEE GARDEN & COTTAGES
Many might have visited Karen Blixen Coffee Garden & Cottages but have never known its history. Karen Blixen Coffee Garden and Cottages is a continuation of storytelling and building of history around Karen Blixen, the famous author of Out of Africa book. It is a historical Site Dating from 1906.
The main building housing Offices and Reception at the Karen Blixen Coffee Garden and Cottages, Ltd. is the Historic Swedo House which was the original hunting lodge/farm house, built between 1906 and 1908. It is located approximately half a mile from the Karen Blixen Museum (Bogani House from the film “Out of Africa”), and is a 30-minute drive from downtown Nairobi.
When the house was built, it was surrounded by indigenous forest (bush and grasslands), most which was cleared for use as agriculture, particularly coffee in the first quarter of the 20th century. Aake Sorgren, who was the Swedish Consul in British East Africa until 1913 formed the Swedo-African Coffee Company.
Sorgren and Sir Northrup MacMillan formed the Swedo African Coffee Company from this house and later commissioned Bogani House in 1912 (the house featured in the movie “Our of Africa” (now known as the Karen Blixen Museum).
Bror Blixen bought the Coffee Company in 1913 for his wife Karen. The Swedo House played a central role in the Coffee Company and served as the farm manager’s house. Karen Blixen (known by her pen name Isak Dinesen) spent a great deal of time at the Swedo House and her brother, Thomas Dinesen resided in this house for several years.
While the Bogani House represents the second generation of colonial residential architecture, the Swedo House represents the first generation of houses. These houses were constructed of wooden structures on raised stilts. This typical example of architecture of the pioneering days of Kenya was raised on stilts and had corrugated iron walls which were lined with wood inside and had railed verandas with arched roof supports.
As much as some renovations were done to the Swedo House, the management still ensures they maintain the structure of the building. The Luxury Hotel Cottages were built in 2001 to link and have visitors staying at the facility experience the Karen Blixen rich history but were later renovated to ensure guests have an enjoyable stay. The rooms have portrait pictures of Karen Blixen just to bring out the history of this place
Both the Restaurant and the Cottages have also incorporated ways to bring out the history of the place. The Hattons Lounge was named after Finch Hattons, lover to Karen Blixen, who died in a plane crush in Voi The cottages also have beautiful paintings of Karen Blixen, each signifying her life when she lived here.