Where to stay
There's currently only one viable place to stay in the area – Chilinda Camp
. This overlooks a beautiful small dam, and is encircled by extensive pine plantations. Its bar is open to all and will serve anyone staying around Chilinda, which means that it's normally very quiet indeed. The camp is very good and run by a first-class team from the Nyika Safari Company. Contact them via PO Box 1006, Mzuzu, Malawi; tel: +265 1 330180; email: firstname.lastname@example.org. A stable of about 26 horses is kept here, with both short and long rides available.
In the main camp are six double rooms
, each having an en-suite bathroom with toilet and bath. These are simple and solid, with a huge fireplace in the bedroom that really comes into its own in the winter – roaring log fires are exactly what you need. The baths are large and old, and the hot-water system good. These cost about US$220/340 single/double, including full board and all activities.
Alongside the rooms are four private chalets
, each of which costs US$120 for up to four people. These have a large lounge, a bathroom with toilet and bath, two bedrooms, and a fully equipped kitchen. There's a resident chef who will prepare your food for you if you wish, but you must bring it all with you. Realistically, this is only an option if you are driving up here. Although there is a shop here, it's not at all reliable and its range of goods is exceedingly limited.
About 2km from the main Chilinda Camp is a campsite
, where you can pitch your own tent. It's in a lovely spot in the forest and has a large, clean ablutions block that should soon have hot water. If you wish to eat in the main camp then you can, provided that you book in advance – US$10 for breakfast or lunch, and US$15 for dinner. Note that there are now no permanent tents here; you must bring your own.
On the Zambian side of the plateau there is a resthouse
, which used to be run by Robin Pope Safaris from the Luangwa. It was situated near some extensive patches of indigenous forest, making it very popular with birdwatchers. It had four double bedrooms, hot showers and an equipped kitchen with resident cook... but has sadly been shut down and fallen into disuse – so forget staying there.
Thanks to a large grant of aid money, there's a 16-bed upmarket lodge near Chilinda. It's now finished and is the place to stay in the area – large and luxurious log cabins, on the edge of the forest and overlooking the expanses of the plateau. Contact the Nyika Safari Company for more details of this, as they will be running it.