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Kenya – Happy Valley

Kenya has many attractions and one of them is the rich history of its colonizers. On all these stories of the life and times of these henchmen one story is worth telling and retelling as many times as possible. It’s the Happy Valley escapade in Aberdare region. Its talk of the Happy valley Set. The Happy Valley set were a group of privileged British colonials living in Wanjohi Valley, near the Aberdare mountain range, in the colonial of Kenya. They were the ones dedicating the economic policies in Kenya and most of the time in their own favor. But what makes this people of happy valley famous is their notorious way of life with drug use and promiscuous sexual encounters.

The group activities of the Happy Valley set have been highlighted in books and films all over the world. They include; ‘White Mischief; ‘Earl of Enroll’, ‘Child of Happy Valley’, ‘Sallyport Papers’ The Wanjohi Valley, the heart of the happy valley set, is near Aberdare National Park, east of the Great Rift Valley. One of the prominent land mark of that set is the Delamere Estates, originally owned by the peculiar Lord Delamere, It the farm that almost gulp down the Naivasha Town. Some members of the Happy Valley set lived in Gilgil region just some kilometers away from Naivasha town.

Happy Valley History

In the early 1900s the Kinangop Plateau (after the building of the railway) served as the Headquarters of “Happy Valley”; a settler community that included many titled aristocrats who were cast away from their native, England, and came to settle in the colony of Kenya. They were given loans to buy land at very easy terms. They built stone brick houses in the plateau and kept sheep and cattle on their vast farms, as they frolicked and fornicated. Parties were held in rotation from house to house. Particularly at “Clouds”; immortalized in numerous books and even a Hollywood film.

Happy Valley Tour

Visitors to Kenya are welcomed to take a tour to this happy region. The tour takes you to the Kinangop Plateau on The Happy Valley. They circumnavigate around Kipipiri visiting the houses of Happy Valley Residents. The tour begins at a restaurant in Nairobi, The Lord Enroll Restaurant, with morning tea, after which they are taken with a bus and drive to the first house. The Guide will lead with an eccentric account of the Happy Valle set lives. Notably the houses of Alice De Janze, which is now a local school: Happy Valley School. You will also see Patricia Bowle’s house that now belongs to the Catholic Church. You will drive along the Aberdare Forest and into the Elephant corridor to Kipipiri; you will enjoy superb views all around. The tour skirts around Kipipiri to end at Clouds where the Murder of Lord Errol is discussed over a drink in the dining hall after a visit to Idina’s infamous bathroom. The tour guide leads into all the current conspiracy theories on who killed Lord Errol, the history of the Delamere family and the involvement of the 3rd Baron in Happy Valley.

The Guide also talk about other historical facts and stories on Karen’ Blixen’s meetings in Happy Valley, the Muthaiga Club and history of the English in Kenya as well as what is currently happening in and around the Kinangop Plateau. After the tour the visitor proceeds back to Naivasha for a sumptuous three-course lunch and a free time around the lake and river. After the visitors came back to Nairobi arriving in the late afternoon.

Anybody interested with the History of Kenya and maybe anybody who have read or seen the above books and movies will demonstrate the need to have a visit to this eminent “Happy Valley”

Michael Muriithi

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