Tracing the life of Scouting founder Robert Baden-Powell takes you not only to his birthplace in London but also to Kenya, where he spent the last few years of his life.
My recent trip to London and Gilwell Park, provenance of the Wood Badge training course, inspired Idaho Scouter Steve Jung to share photos and stories from a similar Scouting pilgrimage.
And I’m sure glad he shared.
The Jung family traveled to Kenya, the East African nation where B-P died on Jan. 8, 1941, at age 83. His grave is now a national monument.
Steve, along with his wife, Becky, and daughter, Anna, visited B-P’s final resting place, the cemetery museum and his home in Nyeri, Kenya.
“Our trip to Kenya was a most memorable one,” Steve says. “We did some backcountry hiking and a lot of touring. We went caving and places most public people don’t go or know about. Just a terrific trip.”
See Steve’s stories and photos after the jump.
A little background from Steve
As you know, Lord Robert Baden-Powell retired and moved in 1939 to a cottage he had commissioned in Nyeri, Kenya, near Mt. Kenya. He lived in a small one-room house he named Paxtu, which was located on the grounds of the Outspan Hotel. The Paxtu cottage was integrated into the Outspan Hotel buildings and serves as a small Scouting museum.
Baden-Powell is buried at St. Peter’s Cemetery in Nyeri. His gravestone bears a circle with a dot in the center “ʘ”, which is the trail sign for “Going Home,” or “I have gone home.” When his wife, Olave, died, her ashes were sent to Kenya and interred beside her husband.
Photos from Steve’s trip
Final thoughts from Steve
After visiting the Paxtu, be sure to visit and have dinner at the Outspan Hotel. Visitors worldwide are treated to an open-air dining atmosphere of native Kenyan foods. People from all nationalities and languages share a common bond there.
Kenya is a beautiful country open to tourism. The African safaris are amazing, the tea plantations, the hiking and backcountry hiking were most memorable.
We hiked Mount Longonot alongside a herd of giraffes. We visited the Masai people and had lunch of goat meat and cabbage in their home. We even went caving where baboons and bats dwell.
Kenya was a wonderful country to visit and gave us memories of a lifetime. No doubt, if you are a Scout or a Scouter, try to make Nyeri a place to visit.