The geographical position, and the height of the land combined to create a landscape that had not its like in all the world. There was no fat on it and no luxuriance anywhere; it was Africa distilled up through six thousand  feet, like the strong and refined essence of a continent. The colours were dry and burnt, like the colours in pottery. The trees had a light delicate foliage, the structure of which was different from that of the trees in
Europe; it did not grow in bows or cupolas, but in horizontal layers, and the formation gave to the tall solitary trees a likeness to the palms, or a heroic and romantic air like fullrigged ships with their sails clewed up, and to the edge of a wood a strange appearance as if the whole wood were faintly vibrating. Upon the grass of the great  plains the crooked bare old thorn trees were scattered, and the grass was spiced like thyme and bog myrtle; in
some places the scent was so strong, that it smarted in the nostrils. All the flowers that you found on the plains,  or upon the creepers and liana in the native forest, were diminutive like flowers of the downs,–only just in the  beginning of the long rains a number of big, massive heavy scented lilies sprang out on the plains.

The views  were immensely wide. 

 Everything that you saw made for

greatness and freedom, and unequalled

 nobility.

The chief feature of the landscape, and of your life in it, was the air. Looking back on a sojourn in the African highlands, you are struck by your feeling of having lived for a time up in the air. The sky was rarely more than pale blue or violet, with a profusion of mighty, weightless, ever changing clouds towering up and sailing on it, but it has a blue vigour in it, and at a short distance it painted the ranges of hills and the woods a fresh deep blue.

In the middle of the day the air was alive over the land, like a flame burning; it scintillated, waved and shone like running water, mirrored and doubled all objects, and created great Fata Morgana.    Up in this high air you breathed easily, drawing in a vital assurance and lightness of heart. In the highlands you woke up in the morning and thought: Here I am, where I ought to be.

The wind in the highlands blows steadily from the North North East. It is the same wind that, down at the coasts  of Africa and Arabia, they name the Monsoon, the East Wind, which was King Solomon’s favourite horse. Up  here it is felt as just the resistance of the air, as the Earth throws herself forward into space. The wind runs  straight against the Ngong Hills, and the slopes of the hills would be the ideal place for setting up a glider, that
would be lifted upwards by the currents, over the mountain top. The clouds, which were travelling with the wind, struck the side of the hill and hung round it, or were caught on the summit and broke into rain. But those that took a higher course and sailed clear of the reef, dissolved to the West of it, over the burning desert of the Rift Valley. Many times I have from my house followed these mighty processions advancing, and have wondered to see their proud floating masses, as soon as they had got over the hills, vanish in the blue air and be gone.

We grew coffee on my farm. The land was in itself a little too high for coffee, and it was hard work to keep it  going; we were never rich on the farm. But a coffee plantation is a thing that gets hold of you and does not let you go, and there is always something to do on it: you are generally just a little behind with your work.In the wildness and irregularity of the country, a piece of land laid out and planted according to rule, looked very
well. Later on, when I flew in Africa, and became familiar with the appearance of my farm from the air, I was filled with admiration for my coffee plantation, that lay quite bright green in the grey green land, and I realized how keenly the human mind yearns for geometrical figures. All the country round Nairobi, particularly to the North of the town, is laid out in a similar way, and here lives a people, who are constantly thinking and talking of planting, pruning or picking coffee, and who lie at night and meditate upon improvements to their coffee factories.

Coffee growing is a long job. It does not all come out as you imagine, when, yourself young and hopeful, in the streaming rain, you carry the boxes of your shining young coffee plants from the nurseries, and, with the whole number of farm hands in the field, watch the plants set in the regular rows of holes in the wet ground where they are to grow, and then have them thickly shaded against the sun, with branches broken from the bush, since obscurity is the privilege of young things. It is four or five years till the trees come into bearing, and in the meantime you will get drought on the land, or diseases, and the bold native weeds will grow up thick in the fields,–the black jack, which has long scabrous seed vessels that hang on to your clothes and stockings. Some of the trees have been badly planted with their tap roots bent; they will die just as they begin to flower. You plant a little over six hundred trees to the acre, and I had six hundred acres of land with coffee; my oxen dragged the cultivators up and down the fields, between the rows of trees, many thousand miles, patiently, awaiting coming bounties.

There are times of great beauty on a coffee farm. When the plantation flowered in the beginning of the rains, it was a radiant sight, like a cloud of chalk, in the mist and the drizzling rain, over six hundred acres of land. The  coffee blossom has a delicate slightly bitter scent, like the blackthorn blossom. When the field reddened with the  ripe berries, all the women and the children, whom they call the Totos, were called out to pick the coffee off the trees,together with the men; then the waggons and carts brought it down to the factory near the river.

It is impossible that a town will not play a part in your life, it does not even make much difference whether you have more good or bad things to say of it, it draws your mind to it, by a mental law of gravitation. The luminous haze on the sky above the town at night, which I could see from some places on my farm, set my thoughts going,  and recalled the big cities of Europe.

And it was a live place, in movement like running water, and in growth like a young thing, it changed from year to year, and while you were away on a shooting Safari. The new Government House was built, a stately cool house with a fine ball room and a pretty garden, big hotels grew up, great impressive agricultural shows and fine flower shows were held, our Quasi Smart Set of the Colony from time to time enlivened the town with rows of quick melodrama. Nairobi said to you: “Make the most of me and of time. Wir kommen nie weider so jung–so undisciplined and rapacious–zusammen.” Generally I and Nairobi were in very good understanding,and at one time I drove through the town and thought: There is no world without Nairobi’s streets.