Tour of the African Heritage House with Alan Donovan

Step inside to explore treasures from all over Africa with Alan Donovan.

By African Heritage House

Alan Donovan Black and White photo by Alan DonovanOriginal Source: African Heritage House

Welcome to the African Heritage House

"My name is Alan Donovan. I came to Africa over 50 years ago and was, together with Kenya’s first vice-president Joseph Murumbi, the co-founder of the African Heritage Gallery and the creator of the African Heritage House. The African Heritage House, overlooking the Nairobi National Park, is a combination of the mud architectures from across Africa and each room includes objects from my travels around the continent."

"Architectural Digest described the house as 'an architecture rising from the sere Kenyan plain like an outcropping of earth, a vision of usefulness informed by the African genius for decoration.”

"The African Heritage House is available for tours, events and meals. Breakfast, lunch and dinners can be enjoyed on the rooftop or by the refreshing pool. Visitors can stay overnight in the luxurious rooms filled with African art and furnishings."

"This is the entry reception at the African Heritage House. Above the fireplace, is a poster of the King of Benin of the ancient City state, in present date Nigeria. He he adorned with ceremonial daggers from Benin. At the left is a glorious clay vessel by Kenyas most famous artist, Magdalene Odundo, now professor of Creative Arts in the United Kingdom."

"The stairway to the first floor is lined with rare handwoven fabrics and embroidered ceremonial robes from ngera. At the top of the stairs is a Yoruba carved wooden headdress which represents the celebration of the battle of an ancient Yoruba King."

"The bathroom is decorated with pink stone from the Maasai Mara and stone floors from Mazeras, Kenya. The bath tub features a hand carved lentil from an old door in Lamu. There are also silk batiks from Kenyan artist Robin Anderson. The oil painting over the door shows a scene near African Heritage House in 1971 by Kenyan artist Ancent Soi."

"This is the Moroccan Suite which includes a 19th century bed from Siyu, an Island near Lamu, off the coast of Kenya. It has secret compartments used for storing gold jewellery and valuables. It is covered with Royal Kente cloth which were hand woven in Ghana. The closet doors and mirror frames are carved and hand painted in Morocco. The lamps on each side of the fireplace are created from hinge covers from an old gate in Morocco."

"The African Heritage House is a showpiece of African culture and heritage and holds an invaluable collection of African art."

"The first floor living room has a verandah overlooking Nairobi National Park. In the center is a double- sided couch made from an old baby cradle from Lamu, an island of the Coast of Kenya. In front of it is a round table made from an old coffee grinder, also from Lamu. This room features old containers and weapons from Northern Kenya."

"On the other side of the living room, our giant calabashes are used for carrying milk by Fulani women in West Africa. The woolen wall hanging is a camel blanket from Northern Nigeria. The engraved silver panel is by a Nigerian blacksmith artist Asiru Olatunde."

"The roof room has four single beds. It provides the ultimate privacy with an adjoining shower and toilet on the same level. The cozy living space features textiles from the Kuba and the famous Bokolonfini from Mali. The walls in the room were hand painted by Carol Beckwith and African Heritage artists based on the textiles in the room."

"Enjoy the spectacular view. We look forward to seeing you at the African Heritage House."

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