Livingstonia (Feb 6th - 8th by Susan)The next morning we were on our way to Livingstonia.As we drove along we passed through some amazing countryside, as we approached the lake the roads started to wind and climb sharply.It would have been an amazing view of the lake but as luck had it the mist and clouds were rolling in.Then it was more winding roads as we twisted and turned through sub tropical forests on our way down to the lake shore.Finally we reached the turn off to Livingstonia, I was a little bit apprehensive, this was to be a single track dirt road that had 21 hair pin bends on the way to the top - after heavy rains it is impassable!Off we went, not too far up we had to stop for a break. Paul hadn't really been able to get out of second gear so Kal was heating up a bit.There were some amazing views up towards the plateau but I still couldn't work out how a road was going to get us up there and there was no sign of a track in the forests above.As we moved up and up and up the road go narrower and the corners got tighter, on a couple of the hair pins Paul had to make almost 3 point turns to get round (Kal's turning circle is HUGE!).It was an amazing journey, thankfully we didn't meet anyone on the tight bends coming the other way and before we knew it we were at the turn off to Mushroom Farm we were going to stay over 1,000 metres up!!The Mushroom Farm wasn't quite what we were expecting but amazing never the less.As we drove Kal down a dirt track through the forest we came to an old landy on blocks and a small clearing with a welcome sign.I guess this was as far as Kal could take us.We all got out and followed the welcome sign down further along a small path to a wooden bar where we were welcomed by some of the staff.We asked about camping and were shown around; they had a couple of camp spots right on the edge of the most amazing cliffs which looked down onto the valley floor and the lake below.Paul and I decided to be lazy and use the roof tent back up where we'd left Kal (wasn't sooo lazy after all as we trudged up and down the hill all evening to get various things from the car).Dave and Kaz got an amazing location for there tent though - I told Paul if we had pitched our tent the door would have to have been pointing inwards or I'd be over the cliff in the night!!The place was very quite, the owner away back to his home country for the quiet season this meant there weren't the adrenalin activities that we'd read about but it meant we had a lot of room to make ourselves at home.The weather wasn't fantastic and there was always the threat of rain so we took over one of the small boma's just above where Dave and Kaz had pitched their tent, it had a fire grate and seating around it so we were able to have our first camp fire for quite some time and had an amazing view as we cooked up.The next day after a bit of a fry up for breakfast we decided to hike into Livingstonia to see the location that the Scottish missionaries had finally decided was safe enough from Malaria to set up a permanent mission (I think this was their fourth location, others on the lake shore had quickly lost there appeal as many missionaries succumbed to malaria). The walk was quite enjoyable, though I'm sure if Paul was writing this he'd mention that at some points I wasn't the happiest of campers - it was pretty humid so any sort of hill resulted in rather a lot of sweating!!It was nice to be out of the car and able to walk through some of the local villages, I think we provided quite a lot of entertainment for some, the funny 'mzungu's' with there very white skin and big hiking boots.On the way up we passed a sign for a waterfall about 100m off the road we were on so decided to check it out.Wandering along the small dirt path we wondered whether we were going in the right direction as there seemed to be quite a few paths and after the initial sign from the road there had been no more.It wasn't long though before we could hear the roar of the waterfalls and then through the thick bush we spotted our first glimpse.They were rather amazing and sadly our pictures don't really do them justice. There were two and we were able to get right next to the top of the first one.Paul scared the sh*t out of me on the way down as he slipped near the top!!There was a small section of fall about 3-4m of a drop that we were able to get right next too before the water fell off the side of the plateau and plummeted into the forest below - amazing!!We could see the abseiling hooks at the top and the sight of the falls made we quite thankful that the owner of the Mushroom farm was away, I don't think any amount of encouragement would have helped me over that edge!!On we trudged through very cultivated land, I started to wish we'd brought more water loosing faith that there would be any sort of civilization at the top of the mountains.To my relief there was and before we checked out any history or the sights it was time for a seat and a cold coke - mmm, mmm, mmm it's amazing how good a cold drink taste's after a long sweaty walk!!To my relief it was a short flat walk to the Stone House, a museum about the life of Livingstone and the challenges the later missionaries faced in finding a suitable location for their mission.As we walked along we heard shouts, 'Mzungu, stop mzungu', we didn't stop immediately assuming that they wanted something but eventually I stopped and I'm glad I did.It was a group of teenage girls who attended the local high school.They were very impressed that I was from Scotland and that I'd gone to university to study engineering.Their school was twinned with a school in Kinross in Scotland that they kept in touch with, two of their school were going to get to travel to Scotland with four teachers in June/July they were all very excited about the trip even though they probably wouldn't get to go.It was great chatting to them, they found Paul very funny with his big beard and had a giggle at the fact that we weren't married asking if we were 'lovers'!!They were quite inspiring one of the girls wanted to be a lawyer and I hope she gets that chance, my only regret was not taking a picture with them all.They lead us to the museum and we left them outside as we went in.The museum was pretty small but quite interesting, the caretaker wanted to shake my hand after finding out I was from Scotland.I guess Livingstone had done amazing things in terms of opening up Africa and stopping the slave trade so I was quite proud.Livingstone never actually set foot in Livingstonia he died long before it was established.The story of the missionaries were very moving too, many young Scottish missionaries lost there lives in the search for a suitable location as malaria claimed their lives in the first couple of locations.Thankfully Livingstonia at over 1500m and up on a plateau high above lake Malawi is free of malaria and over a hundred years on the village with it's schools, hospitals and a university.After the museum we went to look for the church and had a quick look inside before making our way back to town and then back down to the Mushroom farm.As we left town I was playing with some local kids showing them their pictures and letting them take pictures of each other - I was very glad as I got up Paul asked if I'd seen what had went past, the answer was no!A man had been dragging the skin of a freshly slaughtered cow, Kaz and Dave had witnessed more of the 'butchers' as when they were passing through town they were in the process of carving up the animal in a field - delightful!!As we walked home the inevitable happened, the heavens opened and I mean opened.We were only about 20mins from home but too far to make a run for it.We got out our rain jackets but it didn't make too much difference, our shorts and legs got soaked as the dirt road we were walking along turned into a river, gravel and chunks of mud were moving past us as the water swept them down the slopes.I jumped at one point as a huge thunder clap erupted right on top of us, after the mist and clouds started to clear a bit and we walked the rest of the way home in amazement at how much water was now running everywhere creating mini waterfalls in a lot of places.Back at camp Dave had already started to revive the camp fire, we'd have to use it to dry everything out.This seemed like a good idea but the smoky stink on all of our clothes the following day wasn't quite as appealing!!Dried out the next day we said goodbye to the Mushroom Farm and Livingstonia and set out towards our next country Tanzania!!