Three hours west of Nairobi, this ramshackle provincial town – the capital of the Mara region – serves as the gateway to the Masai Mara and is the last proper centre before the vast savannahs begin. It’s a friendly and surprisingly hassle-free place, but few travellers have reason to stop. Most people roll on in, browse the curio shops while their driver refuels, then roll on out again.
If you stay long enough, however, Narok is worth a few hours of sitting and talking to locals – it's a predominantly Maasai town with an increasingly high number of settlers from elsewhere in the country. The result is a fascinating cultural mix and a good place to take the pulse of the region.