Near Malindi on the Kenyan coast, the ruins of Gedi date from between 1200 to 1600 AD. Also known as Gede, meaning "precious," the city presents a mystery to modern researchers. Excavators have unearthed objects of luxury, such as a Ming China vase, as well as Venetian glass. Other traces of trade include shards of pottery from different parts of the world. However, no written records exist about Gedi, and researchers study the artifacts to piece together the history of this settlement.
Declared a Kenyan historical monument in 1948, the 45-acre ruins indicate that for 400 years, Gedi was a sophisticated cosmopolitan area. Streets were built at right angles with gutters. The city held buildings such as the Great Mosque, the Palace, mansions and tombs. Sanitation included toilets, more advanced than comparable European settlements of the Middle Ages. Located in the Arabuko Sokoke Forest, the area gives visitors an outdoor experience, a chance for a stroll through an abandoned city being reclaimed by the forest.
Gedi Ruins, Arabuko Sokoke Forest
National Museums of Kenya Headquarters
P.O. Box 40658
Karen Blixen Museum
Danish Writer Karen Blixen (1885-1962) wrote imaginative fiction such as Seven Gothic Tales under the pseudonym Isak Dineson. Before becoming a famous writer, Blixen and her husband Bror von Blixen-Fineck moved to Kenya, at the foot of the Ngong Hills, where they started a coffee plantation in 1914. Members of the Kikuyu tribe worked on the plantation and also attended a school begun by Blizen. After their divorce, Blixen remained at the plantation, often with her friend and lover Denys Hatton, until 1931 when she returned to Denmark after Denys' death in a plane crash.
Blixen's book about the experience, Out of Africa (1938) was made in to a 1985 film starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford playing Karen's lover. Originally 6,000 acres of forest, with 600 used for coffee plants, the home and grounds are now cut into the affluent suburb, Karen, named after Blixen. Because of the historical slice of settler life, her home was designated a national museum in Nairobi, Kenya. The estate grounds and home typify the colonial architecture and culture of the time. The property gives visitors a view of a settler's life in Kenya during the early part of the 20th century.
Karen Blixen Museum
P.O Box 40658
Tsavo National Park
Visitors travel to the Tsavo National Park to view the natural habitat of Kenya. This vast stretch of land shows evidence of Stone Age habitation. The park is also home to hundreds of birds and animals native to Kenya, including lions, leopards, elephants and zebras. The diversity of the wildlife is matched by the diversity of the landscape, which consists of rivers, streams, forests and grasslands, as well as views of Mount Kilimanjaro.
The park is easily accessed by the Nairobi-Mombassa Road, which divides the area into the West and East parks. The numerous roads and trails blend outdoor exercise with the natural beauty and diversity of the Kenyan landscape and animals. At Mizimi Springs, visitors travel to underground locations to view hippos. Besides hiking, the park offers volcanic climbs and game-viewing. Many visitors stay at the park's accommodations, which include lodges, tented lodges and camping areas.
Tsavo Conservation Area
P.O. Box 14