African Heritage House

African Heritage House

Mombasa Road Box 17871, Nairobi 00100 Kenya
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About

5.0
#4 of 34 B&Bs in Nairobi
Location
4.7
Cleanliness
4.7
Service
4.8
Value
4.6
The African Heritage House overlooking the Nairobi National Parkis described by the prestigious Architectural Digest as " a vision of usefulness informed by the African genius for decoration" Designed by American Alan Donovan, the house is a combination of architectural styles from across the continent. Tours of the house interior reveal the beauty of Africa's art and crafts.
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Free parking
Pool
Free breakfast
Bar / lounge
Restaurant
Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly)
Non-smoking hotel
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Non-smoking rooms
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HOTEL STYLE
Great View
Romantic
73Reviews5Q+A19Room tips
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Detailed Reviews
Madalienne P wrote a review Jan 2020
8 contributions
+1
5.0 of 5 bubbles
We were a group of 3 preparing to return to CA at the end of a 2 week stay in Kenya that included travel to Mt. Kenya area, Lake Nakuru and Maasai Mara. While we only stayed one night, we learned a great deal about African Heritage through the owner/founder Alan Donovan. He accepted us into his home, joined us for conversation and meals and helped set all that we had learned in context, not just about Kenya, but the continent of Africa.
The rooms were sumptuous, the food absolutely delicious and the conversations covered history, politics, art and culture to such a degree that upon returning home I read Alan's book, African Heritage.
On our flight home, once we could put words to our emotions, we discussed the entire trip, with a focus on our last night and our experiences and conversations with Alan. We learned a great deal in the final 24 hours of our trip, thanks to Alan and his staff. We began planning our next trip to Kenya, one that would start and end with a minimum of 2 days at the beginning of the trip and another 2 days before returning home. This was a cultural experience in and of itself.
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Date of stay: January 2020
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
5.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
Room Tip: The house is located off the noisy streets, set back with a view overlooking Nairobi Game Park. ...
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Linda K wrote a review Apr 2015
Boulder, Colorado28 contributions62 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
For authentic Kenyan hospitality and art, coupled with a unique lodging experience, you don't need to travel further than the African Heritage House in its setting on Nairobi National Park, while only 25 kilometers south--but a world away--from the hub-bub of downtown Nairobi and close to the Kenyatta and Wilson airports. To recognize this special place, the Kenyan government in January 2015 gazetted the African Heritage House as a Kenyan National Monument of national and international importance to the history, culture, art, architecture and economy of Kenya. If you live in Nairobi, make the African Heritage House your go-to weekend getaway! If you're travelling through or on safari, then bookend your visits with relaxing and educational stopovers at the African Heritage House! Best of all is to make the African Heritage House your destination for an immersion in the arts, culture, history, books, and hospitality of Africa!

No single review can do justice to the many facets of the African Heritage House and to its creator/owner/host--Alan Donovan, who is, himself, a cultural icon. My daughter and I stayed for 3 days during January 2015. Beforehand, we oriented ourselves with several visits to the National Museum of Kenya and the Nairobi National Art Museum, which are also landmark sites. We found that AHH exceeded our expectations and well deserves its high rankings among all hotels, B&Bs, and landmarks in Nairobi. The exterior exemplifies "mud architecture of Mali' and is inspired by the Great Mosque of Dejemne; it is deservedly called the "most photographed house" in Africa. Inside, K's room was open-air on the top floor, with sensational views and early sunrise over the Athi Plains. My room was on the second floor where I spent hours on a chaise longue on my spacious balcony reading Alan's book, "My Journey Through African Heritage"--a perfect read for watching giraffes and ostriches sedately strolling the Nairobi National Park or watching the historic Nairobi-Mombasa train as it rolled across the Athi Plains toward Tsavo National Park and on to the Indian Ocean. Uniquely, the view of the Athi Plains from the iconic stone bathroom/stone bathtub was pleine aire (but no mosquitoes), framed by riotous colors of bougainvilla and hibiscus. The entire compound is a work of art and meticulously landscaped. In the swimming pool area, you will find yourself surrounded by excellent stonework and contemplating masterpieces of African art. Exquisite meals and sundowners with Alan Donovan on the roof terrace are a special treat which might extend into hours of stimulating conversation. Some of Alan's extraordinary jewelry and crafts may be for sale; if so, you can be sure they are authentic and fairly priced.

Additional tips: (1) If you're driving, call for directions from Mombasa Road to find the secluded driveway; (2) If you have several hours or a layover at Kenyatta Airport (not impossible), call AHH for a tour, meals, room, and/or a driver. (Gideon is excellent.)

I've searched for and found unique lodging on six continents and observe that the African Heritage House is one of my best experiences in six decades of travel. I heartily recommend AHH to all who enjoy a unique cultural experience when they travel.
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Date of stay: January 2015
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
5.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
Trip type: Traveled with friends
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Smiles4miles wrote a review Aug 2013
Tallahassee, Florida1,356 contribution548 helpful votes
+1
5.0 of 5 bubbles
There are so many reasons to stay at this beautiful property that I don't think I can name them all but I'll name some of the best.

1. Outstanding architecture: the design of this house belongs on the pages of Architectural Digest...and yes,...it has been deservedly featured in that publication, among others. It's eye-popping and the terraces alone, with their colorful blooms, will have you transfixed so allow yourself plenty of time to relax and take it all in.

2. Alan Donovan. He's fascinating, an absolute treasure and so are his stories. He can describe every piece of art and jewelry, every antique and his passion for what he does is compelling. He loves animals, does not love the traffic congestion and is driven to accomplish a myriad of tasks. I'm not sure how he does it all but he does and he does it with loving care.

3. Beautiful antiques, sculpture and art....everywhere.

4. Delicious food that will make you shed tears of joy. Alan's chef knows what he's doing. Make sure you arrange to have your meals here...and the enjoyment of your meal will be heightened by your conversation with Alan. The best meals of our entire African journey were served at African Heritage House. Pumpkin soup to die for!

5. Easy access from the airport. The traffic in Nairobi is horrific but this secluded house is only about 15 to 20 minutes away from the international airport, depending on the time of day. Don't underestimate the amount of travel time you will need if you stay in the city. Staying here is a much more relaxing option. Alan arranged for Gideon, a very nice driver who's also quite a safe driver, to pick us up. He was waiting for us when we walked out and also returned to Alan's to pick us up. The cost was $20 one way for both of us plus tip. Well worth it! Book the pickup through Alan. Some of the local drivers do not know how to find African Heritage House and are not the best drivers I've seen.

6. Relatively close to the Sheldrick elephant orphanage (don't miss) and the giraffe center. Alan will arrange for transportation to these places too. In our case, Gideon was once again at the ready and was a wonderful person to talk to. He had lots of helpful hints at each location and we appreciated his inside knowledge. He charged us about $70 for the tour, plus tip and we thoroughly enjoyed getting to know a little bit about him.

7. African Heritage House terraces overlook Nairobi National Park, where we got our first look at zebras and giraffes. Lovely!

8. Swimming pool if you need to cool off, once again, surrounded by art and sculpture and flowers.

9. Peaceful, quiet, serene, relaxing. I am one of those people who wish we had scheduled more nights here. Bring a good book and sit on your terrace and enjoy.

10. Very reasonable price. VERY! You get what you pay for and this is an unforgettable lodging.

And to you, Alan, thanks for making the beginning of our journey to Africa so memorable. Our entire trip was the most amazing of our lives and African Heritage House is a major part of that memory. A very special place and a very gracious host.
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Date of stay: July 2013
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
5.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
Trip type: Traveled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Chandra H wrote a review Dec 2014
Atlanta, Georgia32 contributions36 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
I had the unique experience of spending two days with the world renowned artist Alan Donavan who is the creator and owner of the African Heritage House and Museum. I must ofer 5 stars and diamonds to my stay. There you will find one of the most magnificent and impressive collection of African Artifacts. Alan is the ultimate host lending his experienced 40 years of settlement in various parts of Africa especially Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana ,and Mali. I absolutely enjoyed my bedding accommodations, tour of his home, food preparation by Zack, arranged driver Gideon, and foot massage by one of the nicest young man who also locally instruct basketball for the youth in Nairobi. I will always make the African Heritage House my first stop upon arrival in Nairobi as long as Alan and his wonderful staff are there. Meanwhile, I encourage any and everyone to do the same. It is definitely a worthwhile experience overlooking a large animal park and peaceful surroundings.
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Date of stay: November 2014
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
5.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
Trip type: Traveled solo
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Gene K wrote a review Oct 2019
Alexandria, Virginia51 contributions60 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
I spent one night here to get out of Nairobi after hearing so much about it. My stay did not disappoint. I arrived early afternoon and had time to meet Alan Donovan and discuss his various projects. Other guests arrived for the 90 minute tour which was enlightening and incredibly educational. Dinner was delicious and my sleep was deep....the frogs from the pool sang all night, providing a wonderful backdrop. You really sensed you were far away from everything. I stayed in the Lamu room which I can recommend highly....every detail was thought through from furniture to African decorations to bathroom plumbing. Having your own veranda to look out over the National Park was lovely and provided protection from the occasional rain shower. I left after a hearty breakfast and look forward to returning again. Great for a first night or last night stay as it is close ( 10 min) to JKIA international airport.
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Date of stay: October 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
a1956r wrote a review Jul 2015
Washington DC, District of Columbia1 contribution2 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Alan Donovan has made Africa his home for more than 40 years. The African Heritage House is the culmination of his amazing experiences throughout the great continent and a tribute to his vast knowledge and talents. I will never forget my first impression upon arriving at the property. Here was this incredibly beautiful exotic structure with the Nairobi National Park as its backyard. I grew up overseas and have visited many exotic destinations in my lifetime but the African Heritage House is one of the most magnificent. My husband and I had the privilege of staying there for almost a week and each and every day was a delight. Mr. Donovan's staff of many years, Zack, Zadok, Mutisya and Tom, took care of all our needs with great attention to detail. We ate some of the best dishes I have ever had. All local, fresh ingredients with great culinary flare. From overlooking the savannah while breakfasting until enjoying a drink at sunset followed by a delicious dinner, we were surrounded by great artistic and natural beauty. Beyond the house, Mr. Donovan arranged wonderful tours of Nairobi's giraffe and baby elephant sanctuary's. Lunch at Karen Blixen's coffee plantation was like walking on to the movie set of "Out of Africa", for which Mr. Donovan was a consultant. Visiting the Masai market was surreal and I can't wait to do it again. The African Heritage House, with it's museum quality collection of African art and artifacts representing the vast mosaic of an incredible continent deserves to be preserved so that generations to come can experience first hand all things African. This was our first trip to Africa and needless to say, we will return.
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Date of stay: July 2015
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
Trip type: Traveled on business
Room Tip: All the rooms are beautifully appointed and have fabulous views.
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
souf100 wrote a review Mar 2015
Copenhagen, Denmark1 contribution2 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
I spent one night at Allans place and could have stayed forever. It is the most amazing house I have ever seen and Allan took good care of us. I recommend that all visiting Kenya should visit Allans place.
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Date of stay: March 2015
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
5.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
Trip type: Traveled with friends
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Sam H wrote a review Jan 2015
Syracuse, New York, United States2 contributions2 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
An interesting personality, and even more impressive collection of African Art, housed in a Gatsby-esque treasure. This is the amazing story of Alan Donavan, which would be hard to find anywhere but Africa, and is recountered by the principle protagonist himself, offered freely with a self- depricating wit, and obvious genius, who has attemped much. A more incredible B&B experience could hardly be imagined, AND you will perhaps be helping to save an international Treasure ..
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Date of stay: January 2015Trip type: Traveled with family
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
rezand wrote a review Nov 2014
Juba1 contribution2 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
I just returned home from my two nights' stay at this property and it is safe to say that the experience will stay with me forever. The African Heritage House is for people who are interested in African culture, art, and architecture in general, as this house is the product of the owner's vast knowledge of all the above, and his bravery in making his dream come true by designing and creating a special home that is full of African artifacts and objects from all over the continent.

Alan found the perfect spot for every single item, thus the entire place feels very inviting, homely, harmonious and although there is a vast number of objects displayed, things are arranged in a way that feels very natural and obvious, and the result is a feeling of complete harmony and effortless unity of all things different, despite the fact that it must have been an enormous job to design and finish up all the rooms the way that we can see them today.

Also, despite the large number of art pieces the place does not feel like a museum. On the contrary, all these items become part of the living space and they have an effect on you, slowly creeping into your subconscious and claiming their right to have an impact as pieces of art. Walking around in the house you will always discover something you have not seen before and for lovers of art this place is a non-stop intellectual and sensory overload, in a good sense.

There are several rooms, all with a personality and a special touch. The word 'ensuite' takes on a new meaning here. The bathrooms are all very special and make one feel pampered. I was able to see the Athi Plains and the grazing zebras of Nairobi National Park from my bathroom and balcony overlooking the park. I set my alarm to get up at sunrise both mornings in order to enjoy as much of the scenery as possible.

There is also a lot of reading and learning one can do just browsing through all the books and magazines that Alan has placed all over the house. I spent hours just reading books in the top level room that also has a giant terrace with amazing views. There is also a pool house with beautifully arranged and landscaped gardens where one can relax or have a meal.

I have shared several meals with Alan and there was always much attention given to the tiniest details when it came to setting the table and serving the different courses. The service is exceptional, always personable and makes one feel special. Alan's staff members are very professional and helpful and they prepare delicious meals.

Alan Donovan is a great host and will do everything to make sure that your experience at the African Heritage House is a memorable one. Visiting this property is a wonderful experience and I recommend it to everyone who would like to learn more about African art and would like to spend some time at a truly unique place in Kenya, all thanks to the creative mind of Alan.
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Date of stay: November 2014Trip type: Traveled solo
Room Tip: One cannot go wrong with any of the rooms, they all are special. The ones upstairs have better...
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Anders K wrote a review Aug 2014
Esbjerg, Denmark5 contributions5 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
We stayed at the African Heritage House, at the end of our trip to Kenya. We wish we had more time, so we could stay a bit longer in this unique and beautiful house.
We enjoyed the company of Alan Donovan, the owner, for a drink after dinner. He is a very interesting acquaintance.
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Date of stay: July 2014
4.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
4.0 of 5 bubblesService
Trip type: Traveled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
aleramundo asked a question Oct 2017
Rio de Janeiro, RJ1 contribution1 helpful vote
Is it necessary to book a tour or lunch? Do they offer lunch on weekdays as well?
Roxanne44444 asked a question Jan 2015
Warren, Maine4 contributions2 helpful votes
What food is served at Africa Heritage House?
Answer from glasslipper
Bend Oregon40 contributions63 helpful votes
We did not ask for a menu before arriving we just accepted that as guests in Alan's home we would enjoy the food and be surprised. Having said that, both meals we had were delicious with many options with fruits, vegetables, meat and dessert. I agree it is a MUST stop if you are going to be in Nairobi. The meal is really secondary to having the opportunity to hear about life in Africa from Alan. If you request special foods for your diet, I would remind him before arriving and confirm when you get there. Enjoy
Madalienne P wrote a tip Jan 2020
8 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"The house is located off the noisy streets, set back with a view overlooking Nairobi Game Park. The rooms are sumptuous. Take your pick."
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a1956r wrote a tip Jul 2015
Washington DC, District of Columbia1 contribution2 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"All the rooms are beautifully appointed and have fabulous views."
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rezand wrote a tip Nov 2014
Juba1 contribution2 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"One cannot go wrong with any of the rooms, they all are special. The ones upstairs have better views though."
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Paul D wrote a tip Nov 2014
Bucharest, Romania241 contributions16 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"every room is priceless"
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Organic Ice wrote a tip Sep 2014
Stresa, Italy232 contributions139 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"each room is unique and beautiful; personally, I prefer the large three bed room on the top floor"
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PRICE RANGE
$240 - $288 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
LOCATION
KenyaNairobi
NUMBER OF ROOMS
6
Prices are the average nightly price provided by our partners and may not include all taxes and fees. Taxes and fees that are shown are estimates only. Please see our partners for more details.
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AFRICAN HERITAGE HOUSE

Frequently Asked Questions about African Heritage House
Which popular attractions are close to African Heritage House?
Nearby attractions include Mayfair tours and safaris (4.7 miles), Gateway Mall (1.7 miles), and The Whiskey Library (1.4 miles).
What are some of the property amenities at African Heritage House?
Some of the more popular amenities offered include free breakfast, a pool, and an on-site restaurant.
What food & drink options are available at African Heritage House?
Guests can enjoy free breakfast, an on-site restaurant, and a lounge during their stay.
Is parking available at African Heritage House?
Yes, free parking is available to guests.
What are some restaurants close to African Heritage House?
Conveniently located restaurants include Paul Caffe, Java House Jomo Kenyatta Airport, and Aroma.
Are there opportunities to exercise at African Heritage House?
Yes, guests have access to a pool during their stay.
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