Our Founder

Ewart Scott Grogan (1874–1967) was a British explorer, politician, and entrepreneur. He was the first person to walk the length of Africa, following a path from Cape Town to Cairo.

He fell in love with Gertrude Watt, the sister of a Cambridge classmate, but her stepfather disapproved of the match; while Grogan came from a respectable family, his own life had little to recommend it. He proposed becoming the first man to make the Cape-to-Cairo journey; the stepfather agreed that this would be a suitable test of his character and seriousness.

Men in the world do the strangest things to win the women they love.

But when a love-smitten Ewart Grogan, then aged only 24, declared he would trek from Cape Town to Cairo to show he was worthy of the daughter of wealthy British merchant James Watt, they thought he was joking. But Grogan decided that it was the lovely Gertrude Watt or nothing — and if the trek through some of the world’s most intimidating terrain would prove him to be worthy of her love, then so be it.

The castle governor spurned Grogan Castle, on the crest of a hill in Jipe, is arguably one of the most enduring legacies of colonial settler Ewart Grogan. Its lofty perch ensures it is visible for miles from the vast Taveta plains. But perhaps it is the building’s unique design, with a good dose of Grogan’s own idiosyncratic architectural taste, that makes it stand out.