Ulendo Airlink operates charter flights to Chelinda from Lilongwe (adult/child US$495/329) and Likoma Island (US$365/260). Alternatively, check the 'bid to fly' section of Ulendo Airlink's website for discounted seats on upcoming flights.
Car, Bicycle & Bus
The main Thazima Gate (pronounced and sometimes spelled Tazima) is 55km northwest of Rumphi – about two hours' drive. Once inside the park, it’s another 60km, two-hour drive to Chelinda. Especially from Rumphi to Thazima Gate, the corrugated road is appallingly bumpy; do call to check on its condition in the wet season. Petrol is available at Chelinda but in limited supply, so fill up before you enter the park.
It’s possible to bring a mountain bike into Nyika; if you pick up a ride from Rumphi to Thazima, you can cycle the last 60km to Chelinda. An early start is recommended due to the distance.
Unfortunately, getting to Chelinda by public transport is tricky. From Rumphi, a truck or matola (pickup; MK3000) heading north to Chitipa could drop you at the turnoff to Chelinda, 16km west of the lodges and campground near the Zambian border. However, that will leave you somewhat stranded, and, when you make it to Chelinda, you will then have the return journey to tackle. On the bright side, taxi services in Mzuzu and Rumphi offer transfers; the main drawback, if the driver is hanging around and taking you back to Rumphi, is that you will have to pay for his or her accommodation.
If you are prepared to wait around, it may be possible to make an ad-hoc arrangement for staff from Chelinda to pick you up when they go shopping in Rumphi or Mzuzu.