We made our way North on a wonderfully scenic drive along the great Rift Valley Escarpament and eventually joined back up with the northen part of Lake Malawi.We were on our way to Livingstonia, a Christian mission founded in the late 1800's and set high on the escarpment overlooking the lake. The mission was named after Dr David Livingstone, the renowned explorer and active opponent of the African slave trade.It was a steep climb from lake level up the 20 hairpin bends to the top of the escarpment, and as we ascended the views became increasingly impressive. When we reached the top we headed along the dirt track to the well known lodge known as the "Mushroom Farm". We had met several travellers who had recommended a stop there and knowing little else about the place we expected to find, as the name would suggest, a mushroom farm. When we arrived there wasn't a mushroom in sight, but instead a rustic and highly interesting permaculture lodge with one giant drawcard - the amazing view. The lodge sits on the escarpment ledge and consists of a number of grass hut chalets nestled amongst the bush, but for us the most impressive part were the two small campsite pitches, literally perched on the cliffs edge and offering staggering views along the rest of the escarpment and of the lake and valley below. It truly was breathtaking and without a doubt the most amazing location we had ever camped.We sat admiring the view and as the evening closed in, the mist rising from the valley engulfing the void in front of us. We were at a considerable altitude and the cool night presented the perfect opportunity for us to light fire, and we ended the night roasting marshmallows by the coals.Perched on the edge, Karen and I woke to the awe inspring view of the valley, and for us it was the perfect start to the day. We enjoyed a massive breakfast cooked on the fire, and prepared ourselves for the walk to Livingstonia. It was an hour walk mainly up hill and taking the odd shortcut through the bush, and with the help of a few locals to steer us in the right direction we eventually made it to the plateau where the mission was located. The town was not what we expected, not because the first thing we came across was a makeshift butchery dishing out freshly slaughtered meat in a clearing beside the road, but because it didn't have the views and was mildly unimpressive. It was different to other towns in Malawi, that was for sure, it seemed a little more well-off, even more so than Likoma, and the houses were built of normal brick you would see back home. The majority of houses were still small and simple, but there were also a couple of older mansions and original mission buildings that were semi-interesting. The mission buildings had now been converted into a university and the main drawcard was the old stone house where the mission founder Dr Robert Laws had once lived and where now stands a museum. We were shown to the stone house by a friendly university dignitary, and wandered round the museum which was fairly unmemorable but for a few photos and some historical information about Dr Livingstone himself. We continued on to the mission church where the most notable feature was a stainglass window presumably depicting the missionaries first meeting the local tribespeople.Having seen everything there was to see in Livingstonia we began the walk back to the mushroom farm. We took a slight detour to catch a glimpse of the 125m Manchewe Falls, but even standing stomach tinglingly close to the edge of the falls, we could barely see a few metres as the cloud had nestled in the valley. We were almost home when we were caught in a deluge and although we had our rain jackets on the rest of our bodies were drenched through by the time we got back to camp.We lit a fire under the cover of the rondavel and watched as the trickling creek beside our tent became a raging torrent. We dried out beside the fire and that is where we stayed for the rest of the night before heading to bed.Morning came and we planned to get moving at a reasonable hour as we were headed for Tanzania and another unpredictable border crossing. We packed up our gear, admiring the view for the last time and began making our way back down the steep escarpment.As we gazed out at the lake on the slow journey down we could make out strange smoke cloud like wispy formations on the lake. Having read about them and seeing the phenomenon on Planet Earth, we knew immediately that they were in fact massive swarms of lake flies, congregating and mating after hatching out of the water on the lakes surface. We had encountered the minute lake flies on the Ilala, and though it was dark at the time it was obvious then that the sheer density of them was incredible. They provided a visual spectacular, a theatrical extravaganza and as we approached the lake the sheer size of the swarms became even more impressive. As we drove along the lake, the insects no bigger than a fruit fly, swarmed together creating tornado-like spirals tens of metres high and as we headed towards one of the swarms that had migrated to the shore, it was like driving towards a dust storm. Thankfully the swarm changed direction, and we avoided the sticky mess that could've been, although according to the locals, lake fly patty-cakes are apparently quite tasty.Now feeling quite peckish, we stopped at a small town shortly before the border to make a couple of phone calls and have lunch, but we were continually pestered by the school kids for some of our food, so our stay was short and sweet.We arrived at the border and it was time to leave Malawi. Again we had enjoyed our time in this wonderful country and would encourage people to come here and see it for themselves. Malawi is blessed with some magnificent scenery and its amazingly beautiful lake and fantastic sandy beaches are an aesthetic delight. Its people are also generally regarded as some of the friendliest in Africa, and they are hospitable no doubt, but for us the constant badgering and blatant demands for money and goods left us feeling like Malawi no was longer grateful of its charity, and for us it took a slight shine off this amazing country.Malawi is lucky in the sense it receives vast amounts of foreign aid and charity compared to other countries we have seen, and it has visibly made a difference, but it was apparent to us that all this aid was not now welcomed but expected. The children were also cute, like all those we had encountered previously, but here it did become irritating when every kid you passed demanded money or gifts. I would not want to discourage people from coming here, that is certainly not my aim, it is an amazingly wonderful place, but when you do come, be prepared - and bring a set of earplugs.