Revisiting the heritage Alan Donovan helped Africans preserve

African Heritage House was made a national monument in January 2015.

Alan Donovan

Alan Donovan arrived in Kenya in 1967 to serve as as a relief officer during the Nigerian-Biafra war. It did not take long for him to abandon that post and serve a completely different role. For the past 49 years, Donovan played a great role in preserving the cultural affairs of Kenya, and Africa at large. This was done a great deal through the African Heritage House.

Overlooking the Nairobi National Park, The African Heritage House stands robustly made up of the most interesting architecture; arches, artistic curves and mud. It is probably the most photographed house in Africa, adorned with breathtaking interiors that combine works of different African artists and design elements, ornaments, artifacts, fabrics and colours inspired by different African cultures. African Heritage House serves as a gallery, accommodation for tourists and was Alan’s former residence.

Tours of African Heritage House commence with a serving of coffee or tea at the private train stop (that overlooks the Nairobi National Park), coupled with a view of the Ngong Hills in the distance. Visiting guests are taken around the pool and grounds, including the famous “Wedding Tree” where couples get married.  The tour includes the sculpture garden at the poolside and then continues through the four floors of African Heritage House , ending on the rooftop lookout with a breathtaking overview of the park and its surroundings.

The house at one point faced threats of demolition due to the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) but Alan stood up to the threat. Every piece of work in the African Heritage house tells a cultural story of the African people. It’s worth the visit to learn more about different cultures of the African people while enjoying a luxurious stay. Business at the house has been suspended for the next three days in order to mourn Alan Donovan.

  

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