The House

The double storey house, set in vivid tropical flowerbeds with expansive lawns, has 8 ensuite bedrooms, a games room, large kitchen with store, laundry room, cloakroom, drawing room, dining room, a generous entrance hall and an upstairs gallery. There is a first floor open terrace, perfect for sundowners while watching the white egrets fly home to roost on the dam against the backdrop of the mountain and the African dusk. Just as stunning on the clear mornings is the sunrise, which silhouettes the mountain on soft pink and blue. The front of the house has a large, wrap-around veranda, used for daytime dining.

The rooms are comfortably furnished with local, Lamu and imported Indonesian pieces, which all combine well and compliment the formal aspect of the house.

There is a 4×14 metre oval swimming pool, a children’s pool, a pool house with covered eating area, bar, sauna, exercise room with massage area and a tennis court.

Our staff will discreetly ensure that your every requirement is met. The generous farmhouse food is fresh and wholesome, with local and homegrown fruit and vegetables.

Useful information

Drinking Water

The tap water at Mukima is perfectly safe to drink. There will be a jug of water placed in your room each night and on excursions we will provide you with a water bottle both of which help us to reduce the amount of plastic brought onto Mukima. If however you would prefer to drink mineral water please let John know and he will stock the fridges accordingly.

Health Issues

Should you have any health issues during your stay please alert a member of management you can organize for an appointment with Dr Butt in the nearby town of Nanyuki. In an emergency we would call for AMREF flying doctors service from Nairobi.

Mobile Phone Reception

The best mobile phone reception can be found either upstairs or on the front verandah.

Wifi Internet

Mukima House offers wireless internet connection. The best area for this is the study/library.

Staff Tips

The Mukima staff kindly request that any tips that you wish to leave go into a collective tip box. This way that can be evenly divided amongst all the staff, the hardworking ones you see and the hardworking ones you don’t. As a guide the tipping guidelines for Kenya are $10 per guest per day. Management will leave an envelope marked “staff tips” in the office, if you would like to leave a tip please give this envelope to John.

The History

History of Mukima House

Mukima Farm, or Ol Kinyei as it was originally known, was purchased in the 1930’s by Col Thomas G Chippendale Lewin OBE MC. Here, he ranched beef cattle and built a delightful home for his wife Yvonne, and their only son, Paddy. Thomas Lewin, or ‘Chippy’ as he was commonly known, was of the UK Bushmill Distillery family and came out to Kenya to ranch cattle. He also started up the Smithfield Butchery in Nanyuki.

Paddy grew up in the house, wild and free, fishing, hunting and riding until he left for Eton and Oxford, where he excelled as a scholar. Some of his childhood friends still live around Nanyuki and have happy memories of Paddy, the house and social events held there. Paddy returned to teach philosophy and religion at Alliance Boys School, Nairobi. Among his students were celebrated Kenyans, such as Amos Wako.

Later however, Thomas Lewin subdivided the estate, selling off most of the farmland to local MP of the area, Joseph Kimotho Mugambi and keeping only the 143.1 hectares around the house.

Joseph Kimotho Mugambi bought the remaining land and farmhouse in 1954 from Yvonne and Paddy, after Thomas’s death. The house at that time was in the shape of an H, without the back part, which was added later by Mugambi. The interior of the house was entirely paneled in red cedar and boasted a magnificent staircase. Mugambi constructed a steel development to the north of the house and some A frame bandas to the south. He planned to run a hotel, using the original building as reception and restaurant. Unfortunately, the restoration work was not well done: the cedar timbers were gouged out with primitive crude carving and daubed with primary coloured paint; badly planned and constructed extensions were attempted; the staircase and cedar paneling disappeared; partitions were erected using offcuts and at one point the roof fell in. At this point Mugambi, who had not been able to obtain an operators license, appeared to abandon the project.

The house sat empty and rotting for decades, the remaining paneling, windows and doors stripped out for firewood and the fine timbers slowly rotting. A fire in the late eighties destroyed the steel structure and further damaged the house.

In December 2003, the property was purchased for a horticulture project. However, it was subsequently decided that the house was better suited for residential/recreational purposes and the restoration of the house and the implementation of an ambitious tree planting project commenced. The tree project objective being to replant the magnificent cedar forest that had been cut down to build the original house, together with other indigenous hardwoods, trees with medicinal properties, some commercial wood stands and a few experimental trees/shrubs such as bamboo.

The farm had been severely overgrazed. However, an electric fence has been erected around the entire perimeter, which has allowed the natural bush and grasses to grow back and bush creatures to return, including guinea fowl, warthog, bush buck and impala. The dam already attracts a proliferation of birds and has been planted up with trees that will attract more.

In 2005, a tree nursery was established so certain indigenous trees could be grown from seed. This will include threatened species, experimental species and a medicinal tree/herb arboretum. An orchard and vegetable garden was also established in January 2006, with most of the fruit and vegetables that are grown being used within the house.