Films and Books Inspired by Kenya

© Shem Compion
Get a taste of your East African safari in Kenya by reading one of the many books or watching some of the films inspired by Kenya. Several books and films feature Kenya's amazing wildlife destinations, including the Masai Mara National Park.Out of Africa, written by the well known Danish aristocrat Karen Blixen, aka Isak Dinesen, features a collection of stories of her experiences and relationship with Kenya. She lovingly describes Kenya through these tales.

Elspeth Huxley moved to Kenya at the age of 6 in 1913. In her book, The Flame Trees of Thika, she describes her childhood from the building of her family house, travelling by ox wagon to growing up with the Maasai and Kikuyu and encountering wild animals.

Beryl Markham's memoir, West with the Night, describes her life and experiences as she grew up in Kenya during the early 1900's. Markham worked as a bush pilot in Kenya and also became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean from East to West.The Man-eaters of Tsavo, written by John Henry Patterson, is a true story of a pair of lions who terrorized the workforce busy building the Mombasa-Uganda railway. It is believed that up to 130 people were killed by the lions. Patterson tracked the lions and eventually killed them.

Born Free written by Joy Adamson tells the true story of Joy and George Adamson and their relationship with Elsa, the lioness. The story is set in the 1950's and describes the love and adventures Joy and George had raising the orphaned lion cub and successfully releasing her into the wild.

George Adamson wrote My Pride and Joy. The story features a range of animal characters. Elsa and her sisters naturally feature in the story along with some new members, namely the lions Boy and Christian. Joy's cheetah, Pippa, also features in the book.

A modern story of Kenya is I Dreamed of Africa. This memoir of Italian Kuki Gullmann tells the tale of her arrival in Kenya in 1972. She was 25 years old and settled on a farm on the Laikipia Plateau. The story follows her life to where she set up a foundation to help protect wildlife from poachers.

The Big Cat Diary by Brian Jackson and Jonathan Scott is the printed version of the well known BBC wildlife documentary series. The book tells the story of one year in the life of several leopards, cheetahs and lions in the Masai Mara National Park.Some of these books have also been turned into movies, allowing you to see the incredible East African scenery on big screen. Out of Africa features incredible cinematography including grasslands dotted with acacia trees. The film won several Oscars, including for best art direction, best cinematography and best picture.

Ghost in the Darkness is based on the book, The Man-eaters of Tsavo, written by John Henry Patterson. The film features Val Kilmer and Michael Douglas. Val Kilmer plays the role of John Henry Patterson, while Michael Douglas plays the role of a hunter, Charles Remington. The film won an Oscar for best special effects.

Nowhere in Africa is set in Kenya and is about a Jewish women and her daughter fleeing Nazi Germany to join her husband on a farm in Kenya. The popular film White Mischief, is based on the true story of the unexplained murder of Lord Errol. He was part of the notorious Happy Valley, set in colonial Kenya. The film was nominated for 2 Bafta awards.The Constant Gardener is a thriller about a widower trying to solve his wife's murder. The story is set against the backdrop of espionage between the British Embassy and the Kenyan authorities. The Constant Gardener won several awards, including an Oscar for best actress.

A classic film set in Kenya is Mogambo. The movie was directed by John Ford and featured Clark Gable as Victor Marswell and Ava Gardner as Honey Bear Kelly. Grace Kelly played Linda Nordley. The character Victor Marsweel runs a game trapping company in Kenya. The film won an Oscar for best actress in a leading role (Ava Gardner) and best actress in a supporting role (Grace Kelly).

The White Maasai book written by Corinne Hofmann tells the true story of a young tourist girl (Corinne) and how she fell in love and married her Kenyan African warrior. She moved into his Samburu village and lived in a Manyatta, in the traditional Samburu way. The book later became a movie of the same name and was filmed in the Mathews Mountain range. There is still the chimney, left over from the film set, which can be seen from the road on the way to Kitich Camp.

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