Thika has always been a darling to European settlers since in their passage to either Mt Kenya or the Aberdares, they would always pass through the then rugged town of Thika. That explains the emergence of the Blue Post Hotel along the Thika-Nyeri Highway which was the ideal place for the travelers to rest as they watched the cascading waters of the Thika and Chania Rivers falls.
Of all the white settlers that ever graced Thika none is more famous than one Elspeth Joscelin Huxley. Elspeth was a British woman whose family settled in Thika around 1912 with an aim of delving into large scale coffee farming.
At that time, Elspeth was 5 years old. The family, together with some other few settler families established farms in Thika while at the same time trying to adapt to the life in the wilderness with constant attacks from lions and elephants. Well,the story goes on and on until when the World War broke and the lovely status quo of safari adventure and romance was broken. Huxley went to Britain for studies and later came back to Africa to be employed by the Kenyan colonial government. Later in life, she became a celebrated writer,administrator,journalist,,environmentalist and farmer.You may be wondering where am heading with such a tale, but later in Life, Elspeth Huxley would share her experiences about Thika with the rest of the world through her best selling novel: The Flame Trees of Thika. The book would later become serialized into a television series. The Flame Trees of Thika was her most famous book of the more than 30 pieces that she penned.
Twenty years after, we have the Thika Flame Tree apartments along Garissa Road. The gated community which is 5 min drive from Thika Town consists of 3 bedroom affordable units.
This makes me wonder, does every story about Thika end with real estate development.
In brief,that is the story behind the famous Flame Trees of Thika....the novel,writer,series..and the apartments.
Images courtesy of Google