Damaris Rotich, the Senior Curator at the Nairobi Museum, said the Karen Blixen
Museum has seen an upsurge in the number of Chinese tourists.
Rotich said that
given that most Chinese visitors are not fluent in English, this has created a
communication gap between the Chinese and local guides.
"The Chinese volunteers therefore are a vital resource that will help to
increase our service provision towards Chinese visitors," she said.
According to the NMK, the Karen Blixen Museum receives between 50,000 and
60,000 visitors annually with Chinese nationals making up approximately ten
percent of the guests.
"We hope that the Chinese tour guides will significantly increase the share
of Chinese visitors," he added.
Rotich said tourists from the Asian country could help Kenya diversify its
tourist revenues that has traditionally relied on international visitors from
When Blixen lived in the farm house, it consisted of 4,500 acres of farm land
as well as a coffee processing facility.
The historical site currently consists of all her household belongings that
depict her life and cordial relationship with the locals.
Karen Blixen house which sits on 12.5 acres of land, was converted into a
heritage site in 1985 after it gained international fame following the release
of Hollywood movie "Out of Africa" which is based on a book with a
similar title authored by Blixen.
Rotich said the movie helped to raise the profile of the Karen Blixen Museum
which served as a setting of the film that won several Oscar Academy Awards.
She added that one of the most prized possessions of Blixen that are on
display at the museum are the Chinese artifacts including a rich collection of
Liu Heng, a-28 year-old employee of PowerChina also serves as a tour guide at
Karen Blixen Museum.
Liu said the time spent as a volunteer is very rewarding as it helps to
cement Sino-Kenya ties.
"My translation work for the museums helps the Chinese understand Kenya’s
rich cultural and dynamic heritage especially during the colonial era," Liu
He revealed that he was also inspired to volunteer by the life of Blixen who
had a deep appreciation of the African people.
He added that there is growing interest among Chinese nationals to learn the
history of the African continent.
According to the Chinese tour guide, the peak season for Chinese tourists in
Kenya is between June to September during the Chinese summer vacation when
Chinese tend to take their children to overseas trips.