​Expert Reviews – Nyika NP

Sort By: Most helpful 1-3 of 3 Reviews
Ariadne van Zandbergen   –  
South Africa ZA
Visited: Multiple times

Ariadne is a renowned African wildlife photographer whose work is featured in many well-known guidebooks and magazines.

1 person found this review helpful.

Where the Leopard is King
Overall rating

Nyika is not a conventional game reserve: the scenery is more reminiscent of the English countryside than the African bush. Located on a high-altitude plateau, animals are easy to spot from a distance in the open grassland. You won’t easily see many flagship species, but a few years ago I was lucky to see elephants, which sometimes come up from the lower areas where they are more common. Night drives are highly recommended; we spotted a leopard on one of these extremely cold nights out. Nyika has the highest density of leopards in Malawi and lucky guests might see them during the day around the lodge warming up in the early-morning sun after a cold night on the prowl.

Harriet Nimmo   –  
South Africa ZA
Visited: July

Harriet is a zoologist with more than 20 years’ experience. She has the privilege of working with the world’s top wildlife photographers and photo-guides.

1 person found this review helpful.

Like Scotland - with Zebras!
Overall rating

The Nyika Plateau is the centrepiece of the park, with its rolling montane grasslands – looking like Scotland! The conifer plantations around Chelinda Lodge and Camp reinforce this impression.

Visitors are pretty much guaranteed to see roan antelope, zebra, eland, reedbuck and bushbuck. There is supposedly a high density of leopards but the closest we got was a steaming pile of scat! However, on a night drive we saw two servals, which are apparently quite commonly seen. We visited in winter when it was very chilly indeed. Far more sensible is to visit in summer, when the flowers are out. Nyika is a botanical treasure trove with more than 200 orchid species, 11 of which are endemic to Nyika. Summer is also the best time for birding – specialities include mountain marsh widow, Denham’s bustard and the beautiful metallic blue swallow. You are no longer allowed to walk freely in Nyika, so the network of footpaths radiating from Chelinda can only be explored in the company of a guide.

James Bainbridge   –  
United Kingdom UK
Visited: September

James is a travel writer and author of many Lonely Planet guides, including senior author of the guide to South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland.

Leopards and Rolling Grasslands
Overall rating

With its highlands scenery at 2000m-plus above sea level, the Nyika Plateau is a hit with landscape photographers and travellers who want to escape from the lakeside crowds – and are prepared to brave the corrugated road to the lodge, camp and campsite at Chelinda. Visiting this distinctive part of Malawi is all about enjoying sunsets in the simmering grasslands, but wildlife drives and guided walks are offered and, if you join a night drive, you may spot one of Nyika’s dense population of leopards. The big cats prey on the large herds of roan, eland and zebra scattered across the rolling hills, which you can view by mountain bike or on the three-day hike to the historic mission station at Livingstonia. With over 400 bird species, birding is excellent (especially in October and November), while fishers can catch rainbow trout in Chelinda’s three dams.

Average Expert Rating

  • 3.3/5
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star 0
  • 4 star 1
  • 3 star 3
  • 2 star 0
  • 1 star 0
Write a User Review