The Dyer Family
Will & Elizabeth
William Powys came to ranch in what was then British East Africa in 1913. This was the time of the real pioneers. Motor vehicles were few and from the time that Will Powys got off the train that had taken him on the three day journey from the Mombasa to Nairobi and then Naivasha he would have been completely dependent on horses and buggies and his own strong legs.
This was no hardship for him because the farm he had left in Somerset in England was deep in the country side and horses and human legs took people for goodly distances. What he would not have been prepared for would have been the dryness and dust and thorns and the glaring brightness of the day light. His first sighting of vast herds of wild animals and then the hugeness of the Great Rift Valley would have delighted him for he had the eyes of an artist and the soul of a romantic.
He was soon living the lonely and remote life as a manager of the Cole family's great flocks of sheep grazing, over wide expanses of dry plains country. He would have immediately had to face the never ending and endlessly varying challenges of lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, jackals and even humans who had a keen taste for mutton.
All too soon there came the call to arms to fight the war in German East Africa. Will joined the East African Mounted Rifles. He was soon drafted away to work for the most challenging job of procuring cattle for the rations of beef for the troops. This entailed herding cattle on foot all the way from the Belgian Congo around the southern end of Lake Victoria to feed the hungry troops hundreds of miles through hostile country all the way.
In the years following the war, Will developed the lovely farm called Kisima. He married Elisabeth Douglas/nee Cross who was the most perfect partner for a pioneering rancher. She had won the Military Medal for her distinguished service as a VAD in France. She came to Kenya in 1920 to develop her "Soldier Settler Farm". But she was soon lured away by the attraction of hunting and then moved in to the hard business of ox wagon transport. Will met Elisabeth under the most romantic circumstances when he was fortunately able to give her a pistol that had fallen from her pack when she was riding the high trail over the Aberdare range of mountains.
Will Powys' daughter, Rose would in due course meet and marry Jack Dyer's son, Tony.
Jack & Lulu
Jack Dyer was wounded during fighting in France in Wolrd War I. In order to escape from the awfulness of trench warfare he volunteered to join the Nigerian Troops fighting in German East Africa. By 1915 he was questioning the wisdom of that move as he had to march on starvation rations over the length of the country that was to become Tanganyika and later Tanzania. He was wounded for the second time and was also suffering from malaria and was sent to Nairobi to recover. There were over 100,000 casualties to our side, mainly from malaria, in this campaign.
Jack married Lulu, the daughter of a Swedish doctor who was born in London, who came out to Limuru in 1919. She was a renowned artist, and very musical, and had a small dairy heard, and kept a beautiful garden, most of her time was spent looking after her 4 sons (one of whom was Tony).During the recession, she made furniture from old fuel boxes (fuel would come in 4 gallon sealed debies in a wooden box).
Jack developed his farm called Kagia. Tony was born, the third of four sons, at Kagia in 1926 and after service in the Royal Navy joined the safari firm of Ker and Downey in 1948.
Tony & Rose
Rose was born at Kisima in 1934 where she was brought up into a life of horses and ranch livestock. She married Tony in 1958 and they had four sons: Michael, Francis (Fuzz), Martin and Charles.
Michael has developed Borana Lodge and Fuzz and Andy Roberts (who came to Kenya in 1956), have developed Manda Bay. Martin and Charlie continue to run the Home Farm Kisima, which is under continual development. More information on the About Us page can be found about Fuzz and Michael.