The two Central African Wilderness Safaris lodges offer activities from fishing to night drives, with excellent guides and equipment. Some activities are offered free to lodge guests; campers can pay to join. The lodges do not accept day visitors.
Thanks to Central African Wilderness Safaris' top guides, your chances of seeing animals on a morning wildlife drive (US$35 per person) or walk (US$20 per person) are extremely high. The brazen zebra are seemingly content to pose for photos.
The most exciting wildlife drives, however, are by night. The guides have a decent success rate (about 40%) for scoping out leopards in the woods near the camps or out in the grasslands. The current population of around 100 is one of the region's densest. Imagine nursing a Carlsberg Green as you take in the panorama of stars above the open-top LandCruiser, watching pieces of the nocturnal jigsaw slot together – the back end of one of the park's 100-plus elephants here, the chatter of a hyena there, an eagle owl executing a kill – unforgettable!
Other possible sightings include bushbucks, reedbucks, roan antelopes, elands, warthogs, klipspringers, jackals and duikers, while twitchers should note that more than 400 species of bird have been recorded – including such rarities as the wattled crane and the moustached green tinkerbird. And after the wet season the landscape bursts into life in a blaze of wildflowers. Around 200 species of orchid alone grow on the plateau.
Wildlife viewing is good year round, although in July and August the cold weather means the animals move off the plateau to lower areas. Birdwatching is particularly good between October and April, when migratory birds are on the move.
Nyika’s network of good gravel roads is ideal for scenic mountain biking. You can base yourself at Chelinda and go for day rides (bike per half-/full day US$20/40) in various directions. A four-hour guided ride costs $45 per bike.
Although you can’t enter the park on foot, hiking is allowed once you’ve checked into the Chelinda accommodations – but only with a guide, thanks to the leopard and elephant populations.
Routes to viewpoints on the western and northern escarpments are especially popular and Central African Wilderness Safaris can provide you with the obligatory guides and porters for a number of memorable hikes. It can organise the three-day trek to Livingstonia, or you can arrange it at the other end through the Mushroom Farm.