The vast Nyika Plateau in the north of Malawi soars above the Great Rift Valley. Its breathtaking 360 degree views of distant mountains, high-altitude grasslands, forests and endless rolling hills stretch in every direction. This wild and remote upland area is the only big game Afro-montane area in southern Africa. So Nyika National Park was set up to preserve this unique landscape. It is an area quite unlike any other in Malawi – or frankly the whole of Southern Africa. It is more reminiscent of Scotland than the bushveld!
However this contrast with the Lake far below, and the diversity of its game and birdlife, is very much part of its charm. The beautiful rolling grassland and wooded valleys are home to large herds of eland, Crawshay’s zebra, roan, southern reedbuck, bushbuck, warthog. You may encounter spotted hyena, side-striped jackal. Interestingly it is also the best place in Malawi to see leopard. As these beautiful elusive predators are often spotted on night drives. Sometimes even during the day given its temperate climate. Even elephant sometimes pass through from the lake valley eastwards into Zambia. The numbers of game in the Nyika Plateau vary by season with many species heading to lower altitudes during the cold winter months of June to August.
However with the absence of dangerous predators, this is a wilderness reserve that can be enjoyed under your own steam. Nyika is great for active people. It’s a stunning area for walking safaris and guided mountain bike trails.
There are two multi-day mobile camping hikes on the Nyika Plateau: the 3 day Livingstonia Hike (40km) or the 3 day Sangwala Trek (43km). Contact us for a quote.
When & How to visit the Nyika Plateau?
This high altitude area is always cool at night and can get very cold during the winter months of June to August. However it comes into its own in springtime and summer with warmer temperatures, greater wildlife numbers and many flowering species at their best, especially orchids.
You can arrange for a private charter flight. (This is ideal if you are a party of at least 4 as otherwise it’s expensive. But probably the easiest way is to take a set guided tour such as Landscapes of Malawi or the Northern Bush & Beach tour.