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Nyika National Park

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Roan Antelope in Nyika National ParkIn 1965 The Nyika National Park became the first certified Park in Malawi. It encompasses the majority of the Nyika Plateau area in the Northern Region. It is the largest (covering an area of over 3,000 sq. km) and highest ( heights averaging 1,800m) of Malawi's parks bordering Zambia on the western side.

The area is virtually uninhabited by man, with only a few settlements of Aphoka people. The Nyika is covered in moor-like, treeless grasslands, endless rolling hills, occasionally interrupted by pockets of evergreen forest in the ravines and valleys. There are numerous waterfalls on rivers flowing off the high plateau.

ZebraTrio in Nyika National Park, MalawiOwing to it's altitude, the Nyika offers a welcome break from the tropical heat of the lakeshore. Summer temperatures rarely exceed 21.5°C and in the winter months (June, July & August) an evening by the logfire provides a relaxing distraction. The area is passable most of the year round but is best visited in a 4x4 vehicle during the rainy season. November to May is the best time for game viewing, October to December for bird watching, whilst January and February are the best months to visit to experience the spectacular flowering of indigenous orchids.

Leopard in Nyika National ParkThe plateau is remote, wild and beautiful providing dramatic scenery and panoramic views, especially to the north. The Nyika National Park is home to large herds of zebra, eland, roan antelope, sable antelope, lichtenstein's hartebeest, kudu reedbuck, bushbuck, duiker, and warthog. It houses the largest concentration of leopard in the country. The nocturnal family of wild animals include hyena, jackal, civet cat, honey badger, porcupine and aardvark.

Due to the absence of lion in the park, it is possible to go on a foot safari of up to 5 days but you must be escorted by a game scout.

Malachite Sunbird in Nyika National Park, MalawiMore than 300 bird species have been recorded in the Nyika Plateau, including the Den Ham's bustard, the malachite sunbird and red winged francolin all found in the grassland area, whilst the cinnamon dove, bartailed trogon and starred robin are found high in the forest canopy, particularly the Chowo forest near the Zambian Resthouse. Four birds found on the Nyika plateau that have not been recorded anywhere else in Malawi, the yellow mountain warbler, churring cisticola, cracking cloud cisticola and mountain marsh widow. It also contains three butterfly species and one species each of chameleon, frog and toad which are found nowhere else.

The rivers and dams are stocked with rainbow trout, trout fishing being a very popular pastime here. Fishing permits must be arranged at head office at Chilinda and can be obtained all year round. for the Nyika Plateau area.

The gamepark entrance is situated 129km from Mzuzu and 68km from Rumphi. Drive west from Rumphi for approx. 60km and take a right turn towards the gate. There is a daily entrance fee payable at the gate.

Accommodation

Approximately 56km from the entrance gate is Chilinda Camp where there a high luxury Lodge and a cheaper Camp with self catering units and a camp site.
 

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Alexander Leonard


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