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African Heritage House: Inside Africa’s most photographed house located in Athi River 

African Heritage House is a national monument built by late environmentalist Alan Donovan to preserve forgotten architectural designs of the African continent.

Facing the Nairobi National Park, the public can visit the house for a tour, lunches, dinners, events, conferences, and overnight stays.

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The house inspiration depicts the towering mud of the Great Mosque of Djenne in Mali, the mud palaces of Morocco, Swahili architecture of the East African coast, Zanzibar and Lamu; and the traditional houses of Ghana and Burkina Faso.

The house has thousands pieces of objects, collections of artworks, artefacts, antique, ceremonial costumes, weaponry, jewellery, textiles, brassware and traditional pottery.

In 2014 African Heritage house was at risk for demolition to pave way for planned standard gauge railway line.

Fortunately the house was saved through online campaign petition to stop the demolition and the classification of the house as a national monument in Kenya.

African Heritage House was the first house in Africa to be featured in the prestigious US Architectural Digest in November 1996.

The house is also described as Africa’s most photographed house.

The African Heritage house was founded over 50 years ago when Donovan arrived in Kenya and spent most of his time in Turkana.

With the collections of art and material culture of the nomadic Turkana tribe, he held his first art exhibition in Nairobi.

In attendance at this exhibition were former Vice President Joseph Murumbi and his wife Sheila.

Murumbi was an art connoisseur and one of the greatest art collectors of African art and promoted African culture.

Thus, African heritage was formed in 1972 by Donovan and Murumbi.

African Heritage also established a cultural outreach program known as Kenya’s African Heritage Festival, with a troupe of models, dancers, musicians and acrobats.

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The troupe would travel the world promoting Kenya tourism and African culture showing a collection of authentic African costumes and fashions created from the hand-woven and hand-printed textiles of Africa.

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