Overview – Nyika NP

Ariadne van Zandbergen
Expert
By Ariadne van Zandbergen

Ariadne is a renowned Africa expert. She and her husband form a team who write and update many Bradt guides, including the guide to Malawi.

Ariadne is a renowned Africa expert. She and her husband form a team who write and update many Bradt guides, including the guide to Malawi.

Ariadne is a renowned Africa expert. She and her husband form a team who author the Bradt guide to Malawi.

Ariadne and her husband form a team who author the Bradt guide to Malawi.

This large national park is on a high-altitude plateau, making it very different from all other parks and reserves in the country. The mountain scenery is a big attraction of the park – walking and mountain biking are popular activities, in addition to game drives. Although this isn’t a Big Five destination, there is a good amount of wildlife on the plateau. Antelopes are well represented and sightings of roan, eland, reedbuck and bushbuck are almost guaranteed.

Best Time to Go Nov to May (More animals and pleasant temperatures)
High Season July to October (Never busy, but high season rates)
Size 3,134km² / 1,210mi²
Altitude 590-2,482m / 1,936-8,143ft

Pros & Cons

  • Beautiful mountain scenery
  • Well organized lodge
  • Camping is available
  • Activities include game drives, walks, mountain biking and fishing
  • Limited accommodation options in the park
  • Not many big safari animals
  • Very cold in winter

Nyika NP Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

Wildlife

Nyika is not a conventional wildlife destination. Lions are absent, but leopard is regularly seen both at night and during the day. Spotted hyena and other nocturnal creatures can sometimes be spotted on night drives. Elephant and buffalo are more common on the lower slopes in the park, which aren’t very accessible to tourists. Crawshay's zebra, eland, roan antelope, common duiker and warthog are all common on the plateau.

Scenery

Nyika Plateau is possibly the largest area of high montane (mountain) grassland left in Africa. The rolling grasslands with pockets of indigenous forest and large stands of exotic pine and eucalyptus plantations are often compared to a European landscape. Of note is the abundance of wildflowers, especially the roughly 200 orchid species which flower in January and February, of which 11 are endemic to Nyika.

Weather & Climate

Due to its high altitude, Nyika Plateau (the area of the park accessible to tourists) has a temperate climate. Temperatures are relatively uniform throughout the year, but there is a peak in October/November at the beginning of the Wet season. The yearly rainfall is almost entirely during the Wet season, from November to April. The Dry season (from May to October) is colder, and June to August can be bitterly cold at night.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Nyika Plateau is during the Wet season months from November to April. At this time, fair weather makes morning and afternoon drives more pleasant. This is different to other parks in the region because of the Nyika Plateau’s high altitude and cold temperatures. Some animals tend to move to lower slopes in the Dry season, from May to October.

Want to Visit Nyika NP?

Nyika NP Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
Most Helpful Expert Review
Like Scotland -with zebras!
3/5

The Nyika Plateau is the centrepiece of the park, with its rolling montane grasslands – looking like Scotland! The conifer plantations around the Chelinda area reinforce this impression. Visitors are pretty much guaranteed to see roan,...

Latest User Review
A Pleasant Park
3/5

This is a pretty park, but it's by no means one of the best in Africa. I did enjoy seeing the roan antelope, eland, zebra and bushbuck. The birding was good as well. I was lucky to see a serval. I feel that Bale Mountain National Park...