Nyika Plateau, Nyika Plateau and northern Malawi, Malawi
At a Glance
Explore on foot with you guide to find the huge herds of Roan Antholope and Eland which live on the Nyika Plateau
The orchids on the Nyika Plateau are breathtaking
Climb Fingera Rock for the ultimate view across the Plateau
Explore the vast Nyika Plateau - said to resemble the Lake District - and spot some of its resident wildlife
Wide open spaces and great hiking and biking
Enjoy the one-of-a-kind scent from the pine forests as it drifts down in the early evening, scenting the air
In the evenings curl up in front of a roaring log fire in Chelinda's stunning main lodge, before a delicious supper
Best time to Visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit
Malawi has a moderate to sub-tropical climate with three distinct seasons: from November to March is the rainy season, April to July is Malawi's winter, when the weather is cool and dry, and August to October is summer, when the weather is hot and dry. In terms of game-viewing, the dryer months, meaning a higher concentration of game at the permanent water sources, are a superb time to visit. Alternatively come for some superb bird-watching at the end of the rains.
Call us on to start planning your vacation to Chelinda Lodge or take a look at our itineraries to Nyika Plateau and northern Malawi
Situated on the high northern plateaus of Malawi, Chelinda Lodge is a luxurious escape, surrounded by rolling hills, lakes and streams, and with a good variety of wildlife to spot from your game drives and walks.
Malawi is dotted with rolling plateaus, the most famous and largest of which is the Nyika Plateau, found in the far north of Malawi. The Nyika National Park, at an altitude of around 2,500m, is a beautiful vista of rolling hills, dotted with over 250 species of orchid, many other wild flowers and punctuated with vast granite outcrops, small streams and waterfalls.
The plateau is also known for its pine plantations – vast swathes of bottle-green, towering trees, their rich scent drifting downwards in the early evening. The game here is easily visible – herds of zebra, eland, reedbuck and roan, with occasional (but becoming more frequent) sightings of leopard, spotted hyena and the elusive several. Last time we stayed we found a juvenile leopard hidden in a gully, surrounded by yellow flowers and clearly waiting for his mother to return from her hunting trip.
The birding is superb here as well with many owls making their home in the pine forests, and notable species such as the Bar-tailed Trogon, Malawi Batis, and the colorful (and noisy!) Schalow's Turaco.
Chelinda Lodge is situated in the lee of a large pine forest, with sweeping and, seemingly, never-ending views across the plateau. The lodge is beautifully constructed from stone and timber and the rooms and main area resemble Swedish log chalets. Each room has a large open plan living area and bedroom, with plenty of windows to enjoy the view. In the evenings, when the temperature drops, log fires are lit, scenting the rooms with pine.
Chelinda’s activities include game drives across the plateau – these can return to the lodge for lunch or take all day – walks, and fishing in the dam. The lodge also produces its own honey (utterly delicious!) and the food is excellent.
We suggest a stay of three nights here to really explore the area and take in some of the panoramic views.
Chelinda Lodge has eight pine log chalets spend along the end of a pine forest all with fabulous views. Each chalet has a fire place. There is a mezzanine viewing deck upstairs which can also be used for children. Two of the chalets interconnect to form a family unit.
Activities at Chelinda include nature drives to discover the wonders of the Nyika National Park, informative walks, birding, and mountain biking.
Louisa Verney (Staff)
The first time I visited Chelinda Lodge I fell in love with the Nyika Plateau so much I returned to spend my sabbatical here the following year!! The Nyika is best described as the Scottish highlands with better weather. Beautiful rolling hills dotted with zebra and roan antelope - walk for hours or explore by mountain bike. For birders the Nyika is the melting pot for the southern and east African bird species and has a lot of rare resident owls. Late one afternoon I was also lucky enough to spot an elusive male leopard strolling down one of the tracks which wound its way through the pine plantation.
Anna Devereux Baker (Staff)
I have visited Chelinda a few times, the first time in 2002, and most recently in October 2010. It's a very special place, and totally unexpected! A string of what look like log cabins, dominated by a swathe of pine trees, and always a warm and friendly welcome. The main lodge is beautiful, and centers round an enormous log fire, very welcome on cold Nyika nights.
The last time we stayed we were lucky enough to see a juvenile leopard, and stayed with him for a good long time as he crouched in a gully, watching us through a curtain of yellow flowers.
We also took a good bracing walk across the plateau, climbing some of the granite outcrops and basking in the views (and in the warm sunshine!). It's an amazing place and one I'd highly recommend to anyone wanting to see a totally different side to Malawi.
And do make sure you try the Chelinda honey - pine-scented and utterly delicious!
Location & directions
Nyika Plateau, Nyika Plateau and northern Malawi, Malawi
Chelinda Lodge is situated in the 2607m high Nyika Plateau in the Nyika National Park, a vast, untouched, beautiful wilderness area, home to eland, roan antelope zebra, reedbuck, bushbuck, klipspringer, duiker, warthog, bushpig and blue monkey.
How to get there
Chelinda Lodge can be reached by a ten hour international flight to Lilongwe Airport in Malawi, followed by a domestic flight and short road transfer.