It's also impossible to escape the poverty. On numerous occasions, we pass tiny metallic shacks, which have been daubed with the phrase 'demolish order'. Needless to say, they are all inhabited. "The poverty is worse now than it was ten years ago," says Kiiru. "There's no middle-class so there's no social ladder for people to climb. Young families today have very little hope." Little wonder that so many turn to poaching.

But for all the deprivation, there's also a buzz about the place that's rarely portrayed in the Eastern media. Kiiru agrees: "although we appreciate their work, charities such as Live Aid portray Africans as sad and helpless. We're really a happy people--we don't have much but we share what we have."

It's dark by the time we arrive at the outskirts of Nairobi and we're delayed by yet another accident. Peeking out through the dust, it's possible to make out tiny wooden shops that service a community of truckers. The mood feels threatening - Kenya's capital boasts an explosive mix of rich and poor and all must tread carefully. It's a relief to reach the sanctuary of our hotel.

We're up early next to complete our journey to Mount Kenya. The landscape north of Nairobi is dominated by pineapple fields and the poverty is less acute here than south of the border. Although Kenya has suffered its fare share of corruption, it has not had to endure the Socialism that blighted Tanzania's economy for a generation. But the driving is just as bad and we witness another fatality involving a cyclist.

The lush vegetation on Mount Kenya could almost be Alpine. For this part of the journey, we've been joined by two members of the Youth for Conservation (YFC) charity and Susie Weeks, a white Kenyan who works for the Mount Kenya Trust. Weeks shows us a macabre treasure chest of snares found on the mountain. Some are horrific in their barbarity.

"Wild game is poached and then sold as beef in the local butchers," she explains. "It's a big operation but the people who actually do the poaching tend to be the poorest of the poor. The middle-men make the money."

We take to a rock-strewn path and point the Land Rover up the mountain to meet up with two paramilitary members of the Kenya Wildlife Service. We are to join them on poaching patrol and both men are armed and licensed to kill. Scrambling through dense woods with two paramilitaries who speak no English is an unnerving experience. And it isn't long before they find what they're looking for.

Lying across our path is a crude piece of wire, bent into the shape of a lasso. It's incredibly basic and horribly indiscriminate. We're told that just a few weeks ago, the rangers found an elephant that had lost its trunk in a snare. Unable to eat, the animal had to be shot.

We stumble on further, only to discover the remnants of a poached Buffalo. It's stinking, rotting head has been dumped on the forest floor beside a camp fire. "The poachers probably stopped to eat here before carrying off their prey," says Peter Muigai of the YFC. The sheer effort required to lug a buffalo out of the forest surely offers some indication of their desperation.

Having camped at 8,000 ft among the baboons, we point the Defender back in the direction of Nairobi and our flight home. The last few days have provided a fascinating insight into a world alien to our own. Africa has obvious problems, of which the poaching is both an effect and a cause, but it also has a vibrancy and a rich culture that's often overlooked.

And it's no surprise that after a thousand adventurous miles, I've also developed an affection for the Defender. It may be crude and uncomfortable, but it still possesses a sense of integrity that none of the more modern range can match. If would be a shame if in its pursuit of a chi-chi image, Land Rover turned its back on the true spirit of adventure.

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