Nyika National Park covers an area of around 3000 sq.kms, and covers most of the Nyika massif.
It is composed of steep and rugged hills and escarpments covered by Brachystegia woodland up to the plateau at around 2000m. The plateau itself is primarily open montane grassland, with patches of evergreen forest (some exotic, such as that around Chelinda which was planted by Sir Lawrence van der Post in an experiment during the 1950’s).
The grasslands offer superb walking conditions and easy game viewing, particularly for eland, roan antelope, zebra, reedbuck, duiker, and occasionally elephant and buffalo. Leopard are also seen, and amongst the dense vegetation, bushbuck, red-forest and blue duiker, and bushpig. For botanists, endemic terrestrial and epiphytic orchids are found, particularly in the late Spring and early summer. Bird enthusiasts should look out on the grasslands for Denham’s bustard, wattled crane, dusky turtle dove, black-lored and churring cisticola and Montagu’s harrier. Red-winged francolin, Baglefecht weavers, Greater Double-collared sunbird, Red-tufted Malachite sunbird and Mountain marsh widows improve the rarities list. The evergreen forests are home to notable ‘ticks’ including White-chested Alethe, Olive-flanked robin, Bar-tailed trogon and Sharpe’s Akalat.