Heading north up the A2 towards Naro Moru from Kiganjo, you emerge from the folded landscape of Kikuyu cultivation onto a high, windswept plain. Here, you're crossing one of the great animal migration routes, severed by human population pressure. Until 1948, when the two mountain parks were created, every few years used to see the mass migration of elephants from one side to the other. When the parks were opened, it was decided to keep the elephants away from the crowded farmlands in between, so an eight-kilometre ditch was dug across their route.
The road climbs gently and steadily to nondescript NARO MORU, which stands on the watershed between the Tana and the Ewaso Nyiro river basins. Built around its now disused train station, Naro Moru is the most straightforward base for climbing Mount Kenya, or simply exploring the mountain forests lower down. The town has a post office but no banks, the nearest being in Nyeri or Nanyuki. There's not a lot in the food department either; the centre's offerings are strictly in the bread and milk, karanga na chapati, line. If you want to eat in style, head to the Naro Moru River Lodge, which does excellent buffets, or the Trout Tree Restaurant 9km north of town.