I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills.
In the 1920's Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen) ran a coffee plantation at the foot of the Ngong Hills in Kenya. Published in 1937, Out of Africa documents Blixen's love affair with the people and landscape of Africa. Poetic descriptions of the rain falling on the young coffee plants, the 'blue vigour' of the African sky, the zebra and foal at the waterhole and successfully getting an English white peony to bloom on the African soil combine with action and adventure. Blixen goes on safari, resolves tribal disputes and enjoys exhilarating flights with Denys Finch-Hatton in his biplane.
Blixon was very much aware that the Africa she knew and loved was changing. The days of the great white hunters like Berkely Cole were coming to an end and when the coffee plantation failed she returned to her native Denmark. At times her generalisations about 'the natives' seem patronising and she takes rather too much pleasure in shooting lions, but in her dealings with the Masai Mara and Kukuyu she is unfailingly generous and kind. Her writing is literary and beautiful.
Along with Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible, Out of Africa is one of my favourite books about the experiences of western women in Africa.