Nyika is Malawi’s largest park, with an area of no less than 1250 sq miles (3200 sq km) extending across the great Nyika plateau, which is a granitic dome of rolling ‘whaleback’ hills cut by streams and interspersed with pockets of sheltered evergreen forest. Reaching altitudes of over 8000 ft (2500 m), its environment is like none other in the whole of Africa, with its stunningly beautiful scenery leaving most of its visitors lost for words. Often compared to wilderness areas found in Europe, Nyika has the added attractions of being inhabited by large numbers of African safari animals and, at times, sitting above the cloud.
The name, Nyika, means “where the water comes from” and it is, indeed, one of Malawi’s most important catchment areas. It is perhaps at its best in the rainy season when over 200 types of orchid are in flower, the richest concentration of orchids in south-central Africa. though the grasslands of Nyika are rich in wildflowers in other seasons.