ONCE UPON A TIME...

The Mukima Sanctuary, was purchased in the 1930’s by Col Thomas G Chippendale Lewin OBE MC, his portrait can be found above the fireplace in one of the front bedrooms. Here he ranched beef cattle and built a splendid home for his wife Yvonne David and their only son, Paddy. The interior of the house was entirely paneled in red cedar and boasted a magnificent staircase. 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. 

THEN ALONG CAME…

Joseph Kimotho Mugambi bought the 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 section, which was added later by Mugambi. Mugambi constructed a steel development to the north of the house and A frame bandas to the south, you can still see the foundations. He planned to run a hotel, using the original building as a reception and restaurant. Unfortunately, the restoration work was not well done: the cedar timbers were gouged out with carvings and daubed with primary coloured paint, poorly 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.

Mugambi, 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 rotted away. A fire in the late eighties destroyed the steel structures and further damaged the house. In December 2003, a company purchased the land and ruins in hopes to create a horticulture farm however, after clearing much of it's property’s forest and flora, this project failed and it looked as though the property and house were to be abandoned again. But, not all hope was lost…

TO THE RESCUE...

When Leslie Duckworth, a brave, creative pioneer, learned about Mukima’s tragic story, she visited the estate and was met with the scars of neglect and abuse, however she felt a desire to revive it, she had a vision. Although a huge undertaking for one woman, Leslie rolled up her sleeves and set about restoring the house to its former glory, honouring its original structure wherever she could find hints of its history, such as the old photographs now hanging in the cinema room. She also began an ambitious re-wilding and tree planting project to help re-establish the 360 acres of fauna and flora, returning the land to the wilderness that thrived here before.
After a few years of hard graft restoration, Leslie opened the doors to the public in January 2006. She then went on to protect the border by designing and building 10 beautiful ranch-style houses that now make up Mukima Ridge. Leslie was the motivation and inspiration behind so much of what Mukima is today. Leslie passed away in late August 2020 she was taken from us far too early, a much loved and admired lady. Her youngest daughter Anna worked close beside Leslie, they were two peas in a pod with a shared love for Mukima and their project in Lamu. (www.thecabanaslamu.com). Today Anna continues to preserve her mothers legacy and grow Mukima in alignment with her passion for preserving wilderness and wellness.

Anna and her husband, Shawn have breathed new life into Mukima, curating an enchanting wellness space in the wild for health practitioners around the world to come and share their wisdom in an enchanting nature sanctuary. The Sanctuary has undergone a beautiful transformation unveiling a one-of-a-kind unique wellness retreat experience where holistic health meets high-end hospitality. Alongside the Manor House, they have introduced "Nourished," a restaurant that embodies their love for wholesome, healthy and delicious food. This vibrant eatery extends their commitment to well-being offering guests a chance to savour culinary creations crafted with fresh, locally sourced ingredients, much of which comes from their on-site organic farm and fruit orchard.

Fueled by a deep desire to empower others to live vibrantly, Anna and Shawn host a series of health retreats (Healthy Happy Wild) throughout the year at the Manor House. These immersive experiences are a testament to their unwavering commitment to fostering a life of optimal health and happiness to all who pass through their enchanting home.

A Unique Wellness Retreat In The Wild

A Wellness Retreat in a Nature Sanctuary on the foothills of Mount Kenya. On the doorstep of Africa's top Safari Parks. 

Experience wellness in the wild.  
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