Map

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.