User Reviews – Nyika NP

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Nyika Plateau - the Scottish Highlands of Africa
Overall rating
5/5

Nyika Plateau is 3200sqkm in size and the biggest national park in Malawi and the third smallest in Zambia (only 80sqkm are on the Zambian side). It's more than 2000m above sea levelwith Nganda Peak the highest point at 2606m. It's alpine grasslands and motane evergreen forests. Common Eland, Southern Reedbuck, Roan antelopes, Crawshay's Zebra are very common sights. About 430 bird species are recorded. Denham's Bustard and the near endemic Red-winged Francolin are often seen. This magnificent highlands is not along any major tourist route. In short it is a hidden gem! From Mzuzu to Chelinda is only 180km but it can take you the whole day. The road from Rumphi up to the national park can be challenging especially after rains. As soon as you reach the park gate the track becomes much better because it is regularly maintained and no heavy traffic is passing through. The Peace Park Foundation is re-introducing Elephants in Nyika Plateau and you will pass the big enclosure on the Eastern side of the track where they are still kept to get used to the new habitat. The plateau looks like "whale backs" and one can get a very nice view from Chozi Peak. Guided and self-drive game drives are possible, mountain biking and hiking is offered too. Due to the high altitude it can get cold and windy up here. Chelinda is the only place to stay in the national park at the moment. The colonial resthouse on the Zambian side is still under renovation. Chelinda has a campsite, cottages and a lodge. Self-catering (chef provided) is an
option. Chelinda is operated by Central African Wilderness Safaris (CAWS) and managed by Johan and Laura with a very helpful and knowledgable crew supporting them.

A Pleasant Park
Overall rating
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 offers something similar, but more unique. I was able to see species of wildlife such as the Ethiopian wolf and Mountain Nyala which are truly unique.

This stunning park is the definition of unique
Overall rating
5/5

I have visited and worked in many parks around southern Africa and Nyika will always hold the top position for me. I had been given an idea of what to expect but could never have been prepared for the drive into the park. While it's difficult to drive to, it is worth every bump and ditch along the way. I have never seen such stunning scenery. The green (after the rains) hills roll on forever and the patches of montane forest are a world of their own. Some areas will inevitably remind you of Scotland (pine forests are remnants of early park managers trying to get into forestry) until a roan or zebra rushes past and brings you back to Africa. A trip to Fingira Rock and the Juniper Forest are must-dos. The rock is climbable and gives stunning 360 degree views of the park (on a clear day you can supposedly see to Lake Malawi).

The elephants are elusive but their signs are everywhere. To see Nyika elephants is very special indeed. Some claim that Nyika is home to the highest density of leopards in central Africa and my experience there would not dispute this. I had the most amazing leopard sighting of my life there - a mother leopard caught a bushbuck and brought it back to her ~7-month-old cub to practice hunting on. Spotted hyaenas are relatively common and you will often hear them calling at night. It is a great place to bird with many endemics to be found throughout the small habitat patches.

Chelinda Lodge is a fantastic place to stay in the park with amazing and helpful managers. The offered activities include drives, rental of a mountain bike to explore, several day-long hiking trips, and fishing. To wake up in a log cabin while the mist comes through the pines surrounding you is rather surreal in this setting. I cannot more highly recommend Nyika.

Average User Rating

  • 4.3/5
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

Rating Breakdown

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  • 4 star 0
  • 3 star 1
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