Chelinda Lodge in Malawi is situated against a backdrop of hagenia woodland and overlooks expansive tracts of Nyika National Park’s undulating grasslands, studded with big herds of wildlife. The lodge offers guests 8 double-storey log cabins, each containing an inviting fireplace for the colder evenings. The ground floor features an open plan bedroom and lounge, en-suite bathroom and a spacious deck. A viewing area upstairs acts as an extra living space, which is also suitable for children. The main building offers a convivial dining area around a crackling fireplace, as well as a lounge that leads out onto a veranda where sundowners can be enjoyed.
Nyika National Park, referred to as the African Alps, contains crucial populations of roan, eland, Crawshay’s zebra, southern reedbuck, bushbuck, warthog, spotted hyena and side-striped jackal. Elephant are sometimes sighted, with leopard often being spotted in the daytime due to the temperate climate of the region. Around 400 bird species exist in Nyika, with specials including the augur buzzard, blue swallow (seasonal) and Denham’s bustard. Nyika is a botanists’ paradise, with an abundance of wild alpine flowers that include eleven localised orchid species, exquisite dieramas, gladioli, protea and kniphofia.
Activities at Chelinda Lodge are focused on day and night nature drives through the surrounds, allowing guests to explore the rolling hills and patches of evergreen forest of the Nyika Plateau. Nature walks and mountain biking are also very popular here. Game viewing through the Nyika Grasslands is spectacular, with types and numbers of wildlife varying depending on the time of year. During your explorations through the area, you will be able to spot unusual species like Crayshaw’s zebra and roan. The drives are conducted in closed safari vehicles, and can be either half or full-day outings. Night drives are also taken in closed vehicles, and the darkness is an advantage to help spot nocturnally active animals such as hyena, hunting serval, leopard, and bird species such as the Rwenzori nightjar.
A nature walk around the camp and its surrounds, accompanied by an expert guide, is a fantastic way to spend time here. During this activity, you can take time out to truly appreciate the stunning grasses, flowers and animals – both common and rare! The good gravel road system in the park makes exploring nature by bike easy, whilst the undulating hills provide some spectacular vistas en route. With many highly restricted distributions, Chelinda Camp is a main birding destination in Africa. Diverse habitats, including forest patched, high-altitude grassland and broad-leaved miombo woodland are home to around 400 species.
The Nyiza-Vwaza Trust is an independent organisation that is involved in environmental and wildlife conservation in the Nyika region. Planted as an agricultural experiment in the 1960s, Chelinda Camp and Lodge are located on the edge of the Chelinda Pine Plantation, with trees acting as a windbreak, as well as a source of firewood and timber in this abundantly grassy environment. These non-indigenous trees are slowly being cut back, and the grasslands will eventually be rehabilitated. However, the pines are not invasive and in no way endanger the integrity of the ecosystem.
* Game drive
* Night drives
* Mountain Biking