The Story of Karen Blixen and Denys Finch Hatton 2 Day Cultural & Historical Tour
Adults 17-65 years
Senior ≥ 66 years
As made famous in the movie Out of Africa
One Horizon's until They Meet Again experience embodies the colonial history, themes and locations that capture a snapshot of the story of Karen Blixen' life in British East Africa (now known as Kenya). Karen Blixen's love affair with Kenya was captured in her autobiographical published in 1937 and made famous by the movie out of Africa that was filmed in Kenya in the mid 1980's. This tour captures the essence of those colonial times and a romantic era for Africa which captured the attention of the world. It provides a vivid snapshot of African colonial life in the last decades of the British Empire.Book Now Enquire Now Download PDF
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Visiting Karen Blixen's Home
The home of Karen Blixen was the centre and one of the largest coffee plantations of its era in Kenya. Her home in the suburb that carries her name, is now a museum showcasing her life. The original property covered 6,000 acres (2,400 ha) of land: 600 acres (240 ha) were used for a coffee plantation, 3,400 acres (1,400 ha) were used by the natives for grazing, and 2,000 acres (810 ha) of virgin forest were left untouched.
Karen and her husband became convinced that coffee would be profitable. The Karen Coffee Company was established by their uncle, Aage Westerholz, who chose the name after his daughter Karen, Blixen's cousin, rather than to create an association with Karen Blixen. The coffee plantation was untimely unsuccessful and as Karen's marriage crumbled, she ultimately took over the management of the plantation.
Talented and Passionate
Karen Blixen was an internationally acclaimed author whose pen name was Isak Dinesen and who chronicled her 17 years in Kenya in her autobiographical book, Out of Africa (published in 1937). She had spent from 1914 to 1931 in British East Africa and her story was made famous in the same named movie over 50 years later.
Karen Blixen was a Baroness who gained the title after marrying Baron Bror Blixen-Finecke in Mombasa in 2014. She was nominated for a Noble Prize in Literature several times. Two of her books Babettes Feast' and Out of Africa were made into Hollywood movies to critical acclaim. She was also a very well-known and talented artist as well.
Karen left Kenya in 1931 not long after dealing with the loss of her lover Denys but also the failure of her coffee plantation. She remained inexplicably linked to the country and the Ngong Hills. As a recent commentary states "Karen's unbearable longing for Africa, her farm and her employees never faltered through all the long years since. In a letter to her mother, she wrote: 'I have a feeling that wherever I may be in the future, I will be wondering whether there is rain at Ngong.'
On the 7th of September 1962: Karen Blixen died after a long illness at her family home in Denmark. And quoting from Nicky Fitzgerald, "All she owned of Africa, a handful of earth she'd brought back with her to Denmark in a little wooden box, was mixed with the soil of Rungstedlund in her grave. The unadorned tombstone of Isak Dinesen, the world-famous author, is inscribed simply 'Karen Blixen." It was one of the most moving places I have ever visited".
Visiting The Resting Place of Denys Finch Hatton Bound to Denys for Eternity
In a letter to her brother Thomas in 1924, Karen Blixen wrote: "I believe that for all time and eternity I am bound to Denys, to love the ground he walks upon, to be happy beyond words when he is here, and to suffer worse than death many times when he leaves..."
Denys Finch Hatton was a big game hunter and entrepreneur, who flew his own plane and had a reputation for an adventurous and daring life. He was the epitome of the colonial period. And he was flying his plane when it crashed in Voi near Mombasa. The manner of his death only added to his reputation as an adventurer with a great jest for life. He had expressed a desire to be buried in the same place that Karen had planned for herself in the Ngong Hills. It was Karen Blixen who organised his burial.
Karen Blixen and Denys Finch Hatton had been part of a group of ex-pats known for their wealth and lifestyle. They merely epitomised a period when East Africa was the playground for royalty, titled and wealthy. It offered an escape or as Karen Blixen wrote, "Here at long last one was in a position not to give a damn for all conventions, here was a new kind of freedom which until then one had only found in dreams"! Denys Finch Hatton had come from a titled English family and the current titles continue in his family to this day. On the 14th of May 1931, Denys perished in an air crash and is buried, as he wished, in the Ngong Hills. Karen Blixen had him interred at their 'special place'.
The Final Resting Place
As Karen noted in her biography "There was a place in the Hills, on the first ridge in the Game Reserve, that I, myself at the time when I thought that I was to live and die in Africa, had pointed out to Denys as my future burial-place. In the evening, while we sat and looked at the hills from my house, he remarked that then he would like to be buried there himself as well. Since then, sometimes when we drove out in the hills, Denys had said: "Let us drive as far as our graves."
In 1974 his British family erected the obelisk in his memory and visit Kenya regularly – honouring their son, brother, and uncle.
Visiting Ngong Hills Which Karen Loved
Ngong Hills, which Karen's coffee plantation skirted, was a source of great pleasure for Karen Blixen as well as Denys Finch Hatton.
The Ngong Hills is an area of great beauty and it was a place that she retreated to often. It was a source of inspiration to Karen Blixen because of its sheer beauty and the diversity of its flora and fauna. And it was the place that she chose, and which was supposed to be, her final resting place. Denys Finch Hatton also endorsed the same place to be with Karen. The magnificent vistas dominate the landscape as much today as they did in Karen and Deny's day.
And on this excursion, we take you to the peak of the Ngong Hills to stand in the same place where Karen stood and to see the same amazing valley’s and hills that she loved so much. You will be as inspired as Karen was. And it's also a photo opportunity to recreate the same amazing scenes that were so beautifully captured in the movie. A lifetime memory!
Visiting A Maasai Elder Who Became an Extra Hollywood Comes To Ngong Hills
Less than 20 minutes from the vista which you will enjoy is an adjacent valley that is part of the Ngong Hills. It is another magical place of extreme beauty but where acacia trees dominate in a traditional African landscape.
Driving through the foothills our destination is to meet up with a Maasai elder who was in several scenes that were shot for the film. The arrival of Hollywood, with all the supporting crew and activity involved many of the locals. And the scenes were shot less than 1000 yards from where your Maasai hosts live. A picturesque valley that epitomises the beauty of Africa.
Your Maasai host was, at the time, not aware of such things as movies, let alone the industry of acting and Hollywood. But remembering the support crew and stars that interacted with the local Maasai stands out in his memory. Your host will tell you fascinating stories of his interaction with the stars. And he became, unknowingly, an extra in a movie that became known for its incredible depiction of the beauty of Africa.
The Wildlife Scenes that Enthralled The World
On Day 2 the tour takes you, following the route of the Great Rift Valley, to Lake Naivasha and Crescent Island.
Crescent island is where the wildlife scenes of the movie were filmed and guests will experience what the cast and crew of the movie captured on film and which enthralled movie goers to this day. Crescent Island has since become one of Kenya’s premier wildlife viewing areas.
1985-6 Were Great Years for Kenya
In 1986 Out of Africa dominated the Academy Awards winning 11 Oscars and won 7
The Impact of the movie Out of Africa on Kenyan Tourism
Sydney Pollack's Oscar-winning film, Out of Africa, launched Kenya's tourism career. Before Out of Africa, Kenya was the preferred but very exclusive destination of royalty, aristocracy and glitterati for whom, in the 1900s, it was THE big game hunting safari destination. It was not, however, a holiday option for the average traveller.
- For 2 day option - 1 nights accommodation at Dove Lake Hotel - Lake Naivasha
- For 2 day option - all meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) each day
- Air-conditioned hotel transfers in luxury vehicles. We'll collect you from your Nairobi hotel at a prearranged time and drop you back late afternoon.
- Please note that your vehicle has charging facilities for your mobile phone and internet for your convenience.
- A personal guide who is also your driver and One Horizon staff members each day, whose task is to ensure that you enjoy every moment of the day.
- You will also receive up to 150 images of your adventure as well as videos that capture the moments you will treasure for life.
- In addition to lunch each day there is unlimited fruit, tea, coffee and water available.
- There are modern toilet facilities at the venue for your comfort.
Di and Steve Shaw (Australia)
Today we got to visit the drop in facility for street kids in one part of Nairobi run by One Horizon. What a privilege. We watched the kids perform some welcome items, visited their classrooms and read some stories about some Australian kids and animals, helped prepare lunch and serve it to them and participated in an art activity and face painting. Watching happy faces and learning about their plight and the great work of One Horizon from its founder and being hosted by Mary and Solomon was fantastic. I encourage you to take up the opportunity to visit when you come to Nairobi. Thanks for the experience.
An exquisite experience
As a European, this experience was absolutely fantastic! The people I met, the things I’ve heard and seen, all was overwhelming. It was also definitely an energy exchange, a great communication and a lovely atmosphere overall. The hosts were more than welcoming and I truly hope I also able to bring something in this exchange with the hosts. One Horizon was perfectly organising everything and the staff that accompanied me were very friendly and paying attention constantly to my comfort and well-being. So, a really exquisite experience!
Everyone who visits Kenya should do this
We had our One Horizon experience on the first day of our two-week Safari holiday in Kenya. Visiting the grandmothers and learning about their challenges was one of the best parts of the whole trip. We highly recommend this to anyone visiting – it gives you a different perspective on the great people of Kenya and the challenges they face. We visited two grandmothers and their pig farm project on the outskirts of Kenya. Our family with two teenage children were given an amazing welcome by our hosts. We were shown the pigs, the biogas plant and all the other improvements that One Horizon have helped with. We helped to feed the pigs and make chapatis which was hands-on and great fun. We then had a chance to hear the full story from our hosts and how, with help from One Horizon, they have turned their lives around. Highly advised for anyone.