‘Heaven on earth’ at Nyika National Park in Malawi

It’s not just about game viewing at Nyika National Park but every tourist gets to savour an extra bonus from the breathtaking scenery that is probably the last place standing whose natural sorroundings is unspoilt from human vandalism in form of wanton deforestation and game poaching.

Nestled in the highlands of Nyika National Park, Chelinda Lodge is an exclusive 16-bedded classic camp

Other places of tourist attraction, which were earmarked for their natiral conservation, have suffered plenty vandalism and to game poaching but because of its remote location and not easily accessible up the Nyika Plateau, this national park has been labelled by many as the “amazingly the most beautiful place in Malawi and probably in Africa.”

“The first phrase that comes to mind when you think of Nyika National Park is that of ‘heaven on earth’,” comments local tourist Chimwemwe Nyirenda, marketing manager for MultiChoice Malawi. “Some people have gone further to say that if some people still have doubts about God’s creativity then this is the place to take them to appreciate his hand-work.

“Nyika National Park description can also be figuratively found in the Bible according to Genesis 1 vs 12 ‘And God said, Let the earth (Nyika ) bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so’. One would be forgiven to conclude that when God said these words, He was looking at Nyika National Park,” Nyirenda said.

He was reacting this way after he made his third tour of Nyika National Park over the festive season with three other friends on a private adventure and he was still overawed by its beauty and this time around what amazed him most is the unspoilt landscape.

“When we arrived at Chelinda Camp we immediately went for game drive and when the tourist guide asked us what we really wanted to see, we obviously said ‘game’. [But] as soon as we started our adventure our priorities changed after just a few metres. We were mesmerised by the natural dams, streams, rivers, the landscape, very short glass and the view from far it was like someone had done some landscaping on it manually. I realised it was God’s creation’s handwork.

“That’s when it dawned on us that this is quite different to the other parks and game reserves we’ve been to. This place has been well preserved despite that it is the oldest national park in the country having been declared so in 1965.”

He observed that other parks and game reserves have their own unique outlook but what spoils other spots is the rate at which they are being vandalised through deforestation and game poaching but at Nyika everything is serene.

From the beginning the name Nyika has been used to mean many things. Some say ‘Nyika’ means ‘where the water comes from’, this is in reference to the plateau’s elevation, making it wetter than surrounding areas. Nyika is also a Swahili word meaning “bush” or “hinterland”). Nyika also is the name of the special butterfly Axiocerses Nyika only found in Malawi on the Nyika Plateau.

“One interesting observation is that people from the northern part of Malawi fondly refer to the Northern region as ‘Nyika Republic’. The name simply represents Northern Region in the most special way. It is estimated the 30% of water in Lake Malawi comes from the Nyika Plateau rivers which overflow into the lake.

The London weather

“The last time I visited Nyika was in September 2017 and it’s always like first time because of its magical experience. I would strongly recommend the best time to visit the park it’s during summer. Nyika Plateau has naturally cold weather by Malawian standards which is referred to as ‘London weather’. During summer, you experience the cool breeze but in cold season, it can be extremely cold coupled with dense fogs called Chiperone.

“Perhaps, it’s the extreme cold weather and its location that helps it escape vandalism because you need to be a little bit brave to visit Nyika. It requires a lot of patience since it is a long drive from Mzuzu City and requires a very good 4×4 vehice. From Rumphi Boma it is only about 120 kilometers but it can take over four hours just to arrive at the Thazima, which is main entrance to the park and another 60 kilometers from entrance to Chelinda and speed is strictly limited to 40 kms per hour. The road is rough which hinders a lot people even to dream of going there.”

He urges Malawians to frequently visit Nyika National Park and give it more credence.

“We need to be the first in showing the world that Malawi is an international tourist destination and we have to support those who are preserving our natural conservation areas such as Nyika to deter wanton deforestation poaching.

“Sunset at Nyika are special moments as the sun retires slowly in the twilight. The highland grass flickers with the stripes of zebras and is punctuated by glittering boulders that look like set dressing from a Star Trek movie.”

Game viewing

Nyika has naturally short vegetation which makes it easier to view the game, although the park is famously known for its large number of Zebras, Antelopes and the highest masses of leopards probably in Central Africa. It has also a number of species of smaller mammals such as warthog and bush pig. Africa’s big five is also there; Elephants and buffalo usually keep to the lower ground on the northern edge of the park .

”We also noticed that they have introduced more elephants recently which were in special made wire fences. Undulating scenery is at its best in the rainy season when over 200 types of orchid flowers are in bloom. The grasslands of Nyika are rich in wildflowers in other seasons. It is estimated that over 400 species of birds have been recorded in the park. The rare Denham’s bustard and the wattled crane are among those to be seen, as is the red-winged francolin – endemic to Nyika.

“Other attractions include waterfalls, the most impressive being Chisanga Falls where the North Rukuru river falls off the plateau to Thalire, neolithic rock shelter, trout pools and even a ‘magic lake’. My third experience at Nyika led me to one conclusion that God is the best art director. The grass, the river, the plateau is the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen in country.

Accommodation

Chelinda Camp is located high on the Nyika Plateau within the park. It overlooks a crystal-clear dam with panoramic views of rolling hills, isolated ridges and open high-altitude grasslands. The 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.

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Chakwera\'s Party Divided Let\'s Support Chilima
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Chakwera\'s Party Divided Let\'s Support Chilima

But if you let DPP in the current form continue to rule Malawi they will send their big vandal Mulli to spoil that place. The only way to safeguard that place is to elect Chilima as president. I have warned you. Northerners dismiss my warning at your own perile.

They will cut down all those trees before drilling oil in it.

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