WHERE TO GO FOR THE BEST BIG FIVE SAFARIS IN AFRICA
A Big Five safari means the opportunity to see five of the continent's most majestic and iconic animals in the wild.
Boasting a myriad of scenery with brachystegia woodlands, mature mountain forest patches, crystal clear streams and endless rolling ‘whaleback’ hills, Nyika is one of the most beautiful regions in Malawi.
It's Malawi’s oldest reserve, spanning for 3,200 square kilometres and towering over 2,000 metres above sea level. To avoid the long, bumpy 4x4 ride into Nyika, a charter plane will provide a quick scenic flight straight into the park where you can disembark and jump into your private 4x4 on safari.
Often compared to wilderness areas found in Europe, Nyika is home to a diverse array of wildlife including leopard, hyena, jackal, elephants, zebra, buffalo and large numbers of antelope.
There are over 200 species of orchid bloom in the rainy season, making up the richest concentration in south-central Africa, while the grasslands are bursting with wildflowers in other seasons. Nyika is also a haven for birders, with over 400 species recorded including the Denham’s bustard and the endemic red-winged francolin.
Put your walking shoes on or grab your bike and head out on a walking or bicycle safari to see Nyika’s wildlife up close. This also gives you the opportunity to learn about animal tracking and behaviour with a local guide who knows the mountains like the back of their hand.
It’s not just animals and plants to spot. The region is also known for its incredible geological features including a Neolithic rock shelter, Chisanga waterfall, trout pools where you can fish on a catch-and-release basis, and even a ‘magic’ lake to explore.
After an unforgettable day of adventure, return to your lodge to find a crackling fire and warm drinks. Enjoy a traditional home-cooked meal as you watch the amber sunset and the rise of sparkling stars.
For a true wilderness experience, Nyika boasts the spectacular Livingstonia or Sangwala trails where you can embark on a multi-day hiking excursion. You’ll trek through rolling mountains before setting up camp in the bush under the stars.
Nyika National Park doesn’t conform to the weather patterns of other parks in the region. The wet summer months from November to May are optimum for wildlife viewing on the plateau as the weather is fair with comfortable temperatures.
There also tend to be more animals on the plateau during this time, as some migrate to lower altitudes in colder months. For the botanists, Nyika is best in the rainy season when over 200 types of orchid are in flower, however you’ll find the other seasons are also filled with blooming wildflowers.