Nyika National Park is the oldest and largest park in Malawi with no less than 3200km2. The National Park was Malawi’s first certified park, founded in 1965. The name, Nyika, means “where the water comes from” and it is, indeed, one of Malawi’s most important catchment areas. It boasts spectacular scenery with blankets of wildflowers and more than 200 species of orchid, while it has an incredible diversity of wildlife. The Nyika National Park is situated on a scenic 2000m plateau offering breathtaking views, like none other in the whole of Africa. The Plateau is on the UNESCO World Heritage tentative list for its cultural and natural beauty.
Nyika National Park is characterised by scenic mountain landscapes and endless grasslands. It is perhaps at its best in the rainy season when over 200 types of orchid are in flower, the richest concentration of orchids in south-central Africa. 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 bushbuck are regularly seen. The park has one of the highest densities of leopard 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 bush pigs.
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.
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 is another option. The staff are very friendly and helpful and they will make your stay very comfortable.
It would take you about 9 to 12 hours drive from Lilongwe to Chelinda and we would recommend splitting the journey into two with a night in Mzuzu. Mzuzu should take about 5.5 hours to get to Chelinda.
Yes, we agree the trip is long and in some places rough but trust me, when you arrive you completely forget it. IT IS ALL WORTH IT.
Chelinda Lodge is set against a pocket of hagenia woodland overlooking vast tracts of Nyika National Park’s rolling grasslands dotted with large herds of wildlife. Consisting of six double-storey log cabins, and one two roomed family unit . Each has a fireplace for the cold highland nights. The ground floor features an open-plan bedroom and lounge, en-suite bathroom and a veranda. A viewing area upstairs functions as additional living space – also ideal for children. The main building has a convivial dining area around a fireplace, and a lounge that opens onto a deck for sundowners.
Located high on the Nyika Plateau within Nyika National Park, Chelinda Camp overlooks a crystal-clear dam with panoramic views of rolling hills, isolated ridges and open high-altitude grasslands. Accommodation at Chelinda Camp consists of two options. There are four chalets which have two bedrooms, a bathroom, lounge, dining area with a fireplace and a small kitchen. There are also six en-suite rooms with twin beds, which share a dining, bar and lounge area complete with comfortable furnishings and an inviting fireplace for those cosy nights.
Courtesy of www.travelmalawiguide.com