Egerton Castle

Southern Rift Valley

If you want to muse on lost love and where it goes, visit Egerton Castle on the outskirts of Njoro. A replica of Tatton Hall in England, the castle was constructed between 1938 and 1954 by Lord Maurice Egerton – who also set up the agricultural training college that would later become Egerton University. With cared-for gardens and a small petting zoo that includes llamas and tortoises, it makes a pleasant afternoon picnic spot.

After falling for a wealthy woman in England, Egerton set about persuading her to come and live with him in Kenya. She refused, stating that only a castle would be fit for her needs. And so Egerton constructed one, taking his time over a period of 16 years (well, there was a war going on) and importing everything from statement bath taps to a self-playing organ for the grand ballroom. But alas, as Egerton soon found out, timing is everything: by the time the castle was complete, Egerton's love had fallen for another. Broken and bitter, he lived out his days on the 32 acre estate until he died in 1958, threatening any woman who came close with gunfire.

Although much of the furniture was looted after Egerton's death, the castle has been lovingly restored – in keeping with local taste – by a group of university students and is now the closest thing to a British National Trust property in Kenya's Rift Valley. If you're not put off by Egerton's sorry tale, you can, ironically, get married here.

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