Mountain paradise in Nyika Plateau Malawi

Nyika Plateau National Park

Visiting the Nyika Plateau is an unforgettable experience where you can revel in one of Malawi’s most important water catchment areas and a veritable mountain paradise. Nyika aptly means “where the water comes from” and from here, the water flows down into Lake Malawi, cascading over many waterfalls on the eastern edge of the mountains. 

Nyika is Malawi’s largest and most spectacular park, stretching a vast 3200 square km across a huge granite dome of what are known as whaleback hills divided by natural streams hiding indigenous forests. Voyage2Africa promises visitors to Malawi exquisite accommodations and comprehensive safari information about Nyika and its environment here.

Some visitors have compared this breathtaking nature reserve to mountain kingdoms in Europe and its tallest peaks reach up to 2500 m high at Nganda Peak. Explore these forests and rivers for wild African animals, birds and other fascinating creatures and plants. A small section of the Nyika Plateau lies in northeastern Zambia in the Luangwa Valley and above the South Rukuru Valley and is a haven of indigenous trees, pines and grasslands. 

Conservation and Ecosystems

Nyika is one of the famous Trans-Frontier Conservation Areas between Malawi and Zambia, some 500km from Lilongwe. This breathtaking conservation plateau region comprises diverse ecosystems of lush, undulating montane grassland, miombo woodland and savannah, interspersed with endemic herbs and heathers.

The park is a unique biodiversity hotspot where the gorgeous landscape offers astonishing scenery and a dramatic climate. It also protects some endemic rare and endangered species while cultural value is part of its heritage. Lake Kaulime served as a spiritual sanctuary – it’s believed that the sanctuary concealed a serpent and a human-like being through which people communicated with God. There is also Fingira Care in the lake where stone artefacts and shells are found. In addition, there is an area, 16km from Chelinda, where iron smelting was done. How amazing!

Absorb the terrific scenery, reminiscent of the Scottish Highlands. The rainy season sees the landscape transformed into an explosion of colour as over 200 orchid species blossom! Explore the park’s numerous waterfalls, Neolithic rock shelter, trout pools and even a ‘magic lake’.

Did you know?

The name, Nyika, means “where the water comes from” and it is, indeed, one of Malawi’s most important catchment areas.  It is perhaps at its best in the rainy season when over 200 types of orchids are in flower, the richest concentration of orchids in south-central Africa.

Highlights

  • Stunning open, undulating grasslands with carved valleys, gorgeous views, plenty of wildflowers, rolling green hills, rocky outcrops, and small, tropical forests high on the warm plateau.
  • Come from November to March after the rains to view amazing hues in the rolling brown hills turning green and carpets of flowers budding and blooming. Migrant birds arrive in their hundreds.
  • Night drives reveal honey badgers, bushpigs, servals, civets, genets and bushbabies along with the nightjars after the many insects.
  • Take a short hike down to the Chisanga to see a good rush of water falling in all seasons of the year.

Wildlife Wonders on The Nyika Plateau

Discover the Plateau landscape teeming with wildlife – rare Crawshay’s zebra, bushbuck, reedbuck, roan antelope and elephants. Spot eland, warthogs, klipspringer, jackals, duikers, hyenas and serval. You simply have to see a leopard as the park boasts the highest concentrations of these elusive cats in central Africa, especially in the forests behind Chelinda Lodge. Most elephants and buffalo can be seen grazing in the lower ground on the northern edge of the park but some make it up to the higher plateau.

All of the plateau is protected, by Malawi’s large Nyika National Park, making up about 3000 square km of this region, and the much smaller Nyika National Park, Zambia. The only settlement on the plateau is Chelinda, the headquarters and accommodation site for the Malawian park. Beautiful endemic flora flourishes in this part of the plateau, also home to about 200 species of orchids and lush groves of montane forests.  

Smaller Creatures and Birds

Endemic chameleons, frogs and toads, several unique local birds, and a variety of butterflies attract enthusiasts from afar. If you are a birdwatcher, revel in sightings of some 400 bird species. Imagine seeing the rare, wattled crane, Cinnamon dove, Starred Robin, moustached Green-tinker birds and Red-winged francolin on Nyika Plateau? 

The Nyika Plateau offers some of the best trekking and mountain biking in Malawi. Or go for fantastic game drives and horseback safaris in the glorious open landscapes where wildlife viewing is particularly good all year round. 

Family Holidays to the Nyika Plateau

Take your family on a challenging hike in the Nyika Plateau to explore all these natural wonders. Allow them to run free and learn more about the fabulous biodiversity in Malawi’s mountain and safari regions. A few days in the Nyika Plateau region are refreshing, educational and active too – quite a thrill for families and friends who want to be out in a lush, open and flowery landscape with rivers and lush forests too. It’s a photographer’s dream world and endemic plants so worth learning about. 

We show you top-of-the-range safari lodges, cabins in nature and bush camps in this region where children will feel in awe and want to explore. Try an organised tour with a guide when you book a Voyage2Africa package to make life easier and we will ensure you see the plateau while enjoying the scenery and many activities along the way.

The Best Of The Best Safaris to the Nyika Plateau

Plan a Malawi tour and safari with Voyage2Africa, the African travel experts, and enjoy signature experiences to premier wildlife destinations south of the equator. We bring you thrilling adventures in the infinite spaces of the Nyika Plateau and the national park too. Choose a rustic bush camp or a luxury safari lodge with comfy amenities and get ready to explore more of Malawi soon. We offer you some of the best accommodation and special packages in the Nyika Plateau Region to expand your holiday in true African style. 

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