Nyika National Park
Time is of the essence if you want to experience to the full the wildness and beauty of the Nyika National Park. The approach road to the Park is in itself unforgettable, climbing the escarpment to the 2 OOOm high plateau, and affording panoramic views across the northern stretch of Lake Malawi on the way.
Four major rivers have their source high on this plateau, and descending the rugged escarpment, tumble down its spectacular waterfalls. The rolling hills of the plateau area are clothed in waving grassland, criss-crossed by small streams, and dotted with copses of rain forest growing in the folds of the hills. Beyond the high plateau is a broken landscape of inaccessible rugged escarpment, steep-sided valleys and isolated massifs. Remote, wild and beautiful, this Park is the home of large herds of roan antelope, eland and reedbuck. During the rainy months, from November to May, they call be found grazing on the open grasslands of the high plateau, unconcerned and undisturbed. Later in the year they descend to the woodlands for protection from the cold.
Zebra can be seen in vast numbers, alert and ever curious of visitors. Their crazy stripes are eminently visible against the lush green backdrop of the hills. Duiker, bushbuck and the comic warthog are regularly seen, and the less common red forest duiker can, with luck, be spotted in the forest patches. As night falls over the plateau, keep a watchful eye open for the twitch of an ear, a swift movement in the bush. It could be a hyaena slinking past, a civet or a jackal after prey, a honey badger or a porcupine. Leopards, skilled at camouflage, will only be spotted by an alert eye.
Liwonde National Park
Liwonde is a land of flood plain grasslands, reed swamps and floating meadows, the great Shire River carving a swathe along it’s western boundary.
Palm trees, sausage trees and massive baobabs grow in the better-drained areas, which then give way to Mopane woodland. This varied habitat provides something of interest for all lovers of wildlife, and is within easy reach of the southern Lake resorts and less than an hour’s drive from Zomba in the south, lying on the route of most visitors.
Vwaza Marsh Game Reserve
Vwaza Marsh Game Reserve sees very few visitors , despite its easy access, inexpensive accommodation and rich diversity of animals and birds. It lies southwest of the Nyika Plateau, to the north of the floodplains of South Rukuru River and covers an area of 1,000 km². Road conditions are poor particularly in the raining season when a 4×4 vehicle is essential. The terrain is generally flat and the dominant vegetation type is mixed brachystegia and mopane woodland.
The populations of large animals vary from season to season as they cross the border from and to Zambia’s Luangwa Game reserve. The reserve houses large herds of buffalo, elephants, and a great variety of antelope are present, including roan, greater kudu, Liechtenstein’s hartebeest, eland and impala.
The birdlife include Goliath Herons, Openbill Storks, many birds of prey and the rare White-winged Starling. Lake Kazuni supports a good population of hippo and elephants can often be seen around the lake. Walking is permitted in this area (accompanied by a game scout).