Nyika is Malawi’s largest park with an area of no less than 1250 sq miles (3200 sq km). It extends across the great plateau which is essentially a granitic dome and its environment is like none other in the whole of Africa. The name, Nyika, means “where the water comes from” and it is, indeed, one of Malawi’s most important catchment areas. 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.
Nyika is wonderful for trekking and mountain biking and, as well as more conventional 4×4 excursions. The horse riding safaris that were once a highlight look set to return shortly (watch this space!) The montane vegetation attracts large numbers of antelope from the diminutive duiker to eland and roan. Zebra are also common. The park has one of the highest densities of leopard in Central Africa and there are a number of species of smaller mammals such as warthog and bushpig.
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 red-winged francolin – endemic to Nyika.