Nyika is Malawi’s oldest and largest park with an area of 1250 square miles (3200 km2). Nyika means “where the water comes from” and it is, indeed, one of Malawi’s most important catchment areas. The beautiful park covers practically the whole of the Nyika Plateau in northern Malawi, and almost all of the park lies at over 2,000 metres (6,600 feet) above sea level, with a section extending into neighbouring Zambia. The rolling scenery is at its best in the rainy season when over 200 types of orchid are in flower. The grasslands of Nyika are rich in wildflowers in other seasons as well.
Nyika is wonderful for hiking and mountain biking, as well as more conventional 4×4 safari excursions. The higher elevations are open, undulating grasslands (the largest area of mountain grassland left on the continent) with incised valleys, creating panoramic views, slopes of wild flowers, rolling green hills, rocky outcrops, and small, tropical forests. The park is home to large numbers of antelope, from the diminutive Common Duiker to Common Eland and Roan Antelope and the Crawshay’s subspecies of Plains Zebra. The park also boasts one of the highest densities of Leopard in central Africa, although they are rarely seen. African Elephants usually keep to the lower ground on the northern edge of the park. Smaller mammals include Common Warthog, Bushpig, Slender Mongoose, small cats and even porcupine. It is super easy to spot mammals in Nyika due to the open nature of the plateau.
For the birdwatcher, the park has a lot to offer: over 400 species have been recorded! The rare Denham’s Bustard and the Wattled Crane are among those to be seen, as is the Hildebrandt’s Francolin, White-chested Alethe, African Hill Babbler, the isolata subspecies of Rufous-naped Lark, the taxonomically challenging winterbottomi subspecies of African Pipit (“Jackson’s Pipit”), Miombo Pied and Black-backed Barbet, Green-backed Honeyguide, Red-faced Crimsonwing, Sharpe’s Akalat, Olive-flanked Robin, Orange Ground Thrush, Bar-tailed Trogon, Montane Nightjar, Moustached Green Tinkerbird, Brown Parisoma and Black-lored Cisticola, among many others.
Other attractions inside the park include waterfalls, the most impressive being Chisanga Falls where the North Rukuru river falls off the plateau, neolithic rock shelters, trout pools and even a “magic lake”. Nyika is deeply loved by every single person that visits here, and there are clearly many reasons for this. Apart from the obvious beautiful landscape, Nyika offers something for every nature lover, from botanists to birders to general wildlife naturalists.
Join one of our Malawi Safaris and Tours to experience this wonderful safari destination with us.