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African Heritage House

The African Heritage House in Nairobi is a must-see for lovers of African art. This traditional mud house turned villa hosts a spectrum of African textiles, masks, books and statues. Visit for a day, have lunch or sleep over in one of the four beautiful rooms. They are decorated in a tribal African style with dark woods, African fabrics and art objects.

American born founder Alan Donovan collected all these items during his travels. He arrived in Africa in the late 1960s and developed a huge passion for African art. Together with former Kenyan vice-president Murumbi he put African art on the map with exhibitions, festivals and this house.

Important details

  • 13,50 per person entrance fee (excluding transfer costs)
  • Four rooms available for sleeping guests
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Additional information

The African Heritage House was Africa’s first pan-African gallery. The house is a combination of African mud-architecture from different countries and is a feast for the eyes. Here you can book a lunch, dinner or overnight stay while taking in the beautiful collection during a guided tour.

Alan Donovan came to Africa in 1969. After traveling the continent he developed a passion for African art. He was especially inspired by the Turkana people and how they made beautiful clothing and weapons in their harsh desert environment. He made multiple visits and started to collect everything they made and bring it with him to Nairobi.

As he said: “I would go crocodile hunting with the Turkana people and they would give me full sets of crocodile teeth which I would string on fish line with ostrich egg shell, python vertebrae and dik-dik toe bones. We melted down cooking pots to make earrings and incised designs on them with a hot nail.”

On his first exhibition, former Kenyan vice-president Joseph Murumbi visited. Their shared passion led to the foundation of the house, that became famous for its architecture and has hosted many events and festivals over the years. It helped put African art on the map in different parts of the world.

Donovan himself used to entertain guests that came to visit and sleep over, which give a visit an extra dimension. Unfortunately he passed away late 2021. Visits however, are still possible and will help conserve this house for years to come.

Nairobi

African Heritage House