Flora and fauna
Nyika is notable for its wonderful montane scenery, and as being an ideal hiking destination. The lower slopes harbour miombo woodland, which is replaced by more open grassland at the higher altitudes.
Of particular interest to botanists are the roughly 200 orchid species recorded in the park, of which 11 species are endemic to Nyika.
Nyika protects a rich diversity of mammals – almost 100 species have been recorded – including an endemic race of Burchell's zebra, Equus burchelli crawshaii, and a very high density of leopard.
Game viewing is good all year round, and the open nature of the plateau ensures excellent visibility. In the area around Chilinda, the main camp, visitors are practically guaranteed to see roan antelope, scrub hare, zebra, reedbuck, bushbuck and eland. Your chances of seeing leopard around Chilinda are good.
The lower slopes of miombo woodland support good populations of buffalo and elephant, though these animals only rarely move up to the grassland of the plateau. Lion and cheetah are also infrequent visitors to the plateau.
With well over 400 species recorded, Nyika supports a great diversity of birdlife. However, this figure is rather deceptive as many of the species included on the checklist are found only in the inaccessible miombo woodland of the lower slopes, and are thus unlikely to be seen by visitors who stick to the plateau.
The grassland around Chilinda Camp is inhabited by several tantalising birds. Foremost are the wattled crane, Denham's bustard and the exquisite scarlet-tufted malachite sunbird (distinguished from the commoner malachite sunbird by its much longer tail). More rewarding than the grassland for general birding are the forests, particularly the large Chowo forest near the Zambian Resthouse, where localised species such as Sharpe's akalat, bar-tailed trogon, olive-flanked robin, white-breasted alethe and a variety of other robins and bulbuls may be seen.
Four birds found at Nyika (yellow mountain warbler, churring cisticola, crackling cloud cisticola and mountain marsh widow) have been recorded nowhere else in Malawi, while the Nyika races of red-winged francolin, rufous-naped lark, greater double-collared sunbird and Baglafecht weaver are all endemic to the plateau. There are also three butterfly species endemic to the plateau, and one species each of chameleon, frog and toad which are found nowhere else.
The rivers and dams on the Nyika Plateau are stocked with rainbow trout, and are thus popular with anglers.
An entrance fee of US$5 per person per day is charged for visiting the Malawian side of Nyika.