Nyika plateau safaris, tours and holidays Malawi

Home » African Safari Destinations » Malawi Safaris, Tours & Holidays » Nyika plateau safaris, tours and holidays Malawi

Nyika plateau safaris, tours and holidays Malawi

Nyika plateau safaris, tours and holidays Malawi

Nyika is Malawi’s largest park, with an area of no less than 1250 sq. miles (3200 sq. km) extending across the great Nyika plateau, which is a granitic dome of rolling ‘whaleback’ hills cut by streams and interspersed with pockets of sheltered evergreen forest. Reaching altitudes of over 8000 ft. (2500 m), its environment is like none other in the whole of Africa, with its stunningly beautiful scenery leaving most of its visitors lost for words. Often compared to wilderness areas found in Europe, Nyika has the added attractions of being inhabited by large numbers of African safari animals and, at times, sitting above the cloud. 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, though the grasslands of Nyika are rich with wildflowers in other seasons.

Wildlife of Nyika Plateau in Malawi

The montane vegetation is home to a diverse array of wildlife including large numbers of antelope, from the diminutive duiker to roan and eland, the largest in Africa. During the breeding season, both the roan and eland gather into herds as large as any seen across Africa. Zebra are common and bushbucks are regularly seen outside Chelinda Lodge. The park has one of the highest densities of leopards in Central Africa and there are good sightings, particularly in the forest behind Chelinda Lodge. Hyena and jackal are occasionally seen and there are a number of species of smaller mammals such as warthog and bushpig. Elephants and buffalo usually keep to the lower ground on the northern edge of the park but more elephants were brought into the park a couple of years ago and they do very occasionally make it up to the higher plateau.

Birds of Nyika plateau Malawi

For birdwatchers, the park has a lot to offer: over 400 species have been recorded. The rare Denham’s bustard and Wattled crane are among those to be seen, as is the red-winged francolin – endemic to Nyika.

Nyika is wonderful for trekking and mountain biking as well as more conventional 4×4 excursions and safaris. There is such a lot to see in the vast park: waterfalls, a Neolithic rock shelter, trout pools, and even a ‘magic lake’ are just some of the attractions beyond the breathtaking vistas and wildlife encounters.

Where to stay in Nyika plateau Malawi

Accommodation at Nyika has been run by Central African wilderness safaris since 2010. Chelinda Lodge offers stunning, upmarket log cabins and the nearby Chelinda camp has cheaper cottages and rooms please for more information contact Wilderness Explorers Africa.

How to Get to Nyika plateau national park Malawi

Nyika is one of Malawi’s top attractions and features many tour itineraries. Most people fly to Nyika, but it is possible to drive out there too.

Most international visitors arrive at Lilongwe International Airport (LLW), located about 26km/16mi from the capital, Lilongwe. Some international flights fly to Chileka International Airport (BLZ), 16km/10mi from Blantyre.

Nyika is located in northern Malawi, about 500km/310mi from Lilongwe and 750km/470mi from Blantyre. The drive from Lilongwe takes about seven hours and from Blantyre about 11 hours.

The road to Nyika is bumpy, quite bad at times, and usually requires a 4×4. Most people choose to fly to Nyika.

Best time to visit Nyika plateau national park

The wet summer months from November to May are the best months for wildlife viewing on the plateau as the weather is fair, and less cold for visitors. There tend to be more animals on the plateau at this time (some descend to lower altitudes as it gets colder).


Ground operations for
Exclusive journeys

Africa: +256706522669

Overseas: +61427412130

a travel agent is available 24hrs