Chelinda Lodge is set against a pocket of hagenia woodland and overlooking vast tracts of Nyika National Park's rolling grasslands dotted with large herd of roan, eland and zebra. This forest backdrop to Chelinda Lodge provides perfect shelter for an idyllic escape in the highland wilderness of Malawi.
All the cabins are connected by wooden walkways which are beautifully landscaped on the hillside around Chelinda Lodge. The main building has a convivial dining area around the fireplace, a quiet lounge which opens onto an outside deck for sundowners.
Activities at Chelinda Lodge revolve around day and night nature drives which explore the rolling hills and patches of evergreen forest of the Nyika Plateau. Nature walks and mountain biking are also very popular. For the enthusiast, there is also the option of fly-fishing for trout in the network of lakes close to the lodge.
Accommodation at Chelinda Lodge consists of eight log cabins, each with fireplace for those icy highland nights. Chelinda Lodge Cabins are double storey. The ground floor features an open plan bedroom and lounge, with en-suite bathroom, queen-sized beds, wing-back chairs and a veranda. Upstairs there is a viewing area which functions as additional living space and is ideal for children. One of the log cabins is slightly larger, offering ideal accommodation to families.
Chelinda Lodge is located within the 3 134kmē Nyika National Park, today Malawi's largest park. It is a wild, untouched and remote upland area, boastingthe distinction as being the only big game Afro-montane area in south central Africa. The vistas in Nyika National Park are as immense as they are incredible - with high-altitude grassland the most obvious feature of the Nyika Plateau. Isolated hills and ridges, evergreen forest pockets bursting with endemism add further character to the rolling hills. Extensive patches of broad-leafed miombo woodland dominate in the lower altitudes. In summer, Nyika is a botanists' delight with masses of wild alpine flowers: including 11 localised orchid species, exquisite dieramas, gladioli, protea and kniphofia.
From a game viewing perspective, a variety of animals can be seen around Chelinda Lodge - particularly in the famous Nyika Grasslands. Numbers and species vary depending on the time of year. Nyika National Park harbours important populations of roan, eland, Crawshay's zebra, southern reedbuck, bushbuck, warthog, spotted hyaena and side-striped jackal. Elephant can be seen at times and leopard can be seen in the daytime owing to the temperate climate.
Birders visiting Chelinda Lodge will gain access to the approximately 400 bird species which occur in the Nyika National Park. With many highly restricted distributions, Chelinda Lodge remains a key birding destination in Africa. Easily seen specials include Red-winged Francolin, Pallid Harrier, Augur Buzzard, Mountain Cisticola, Mountain Marsh Whydah, Blue Swallow (seasonal: August to April) and Denham's Bustard.
The Chelinda Pine Plantation
Planted as an agricultural experiment in the 1960s, the Chelinda Pine Plantation is located in the centre of the Nyika Plateau. Both Chelinda Lodge and Chelinda Camp are situated on the edge of this forest, with the trees serving as both a windbreak and source of firewood and timber in this grass-dominated environment. These non-indigenous trees are slowly being cut back under a government-orchestrated project and the grasslands will ultimately be rehabilitated. Plans are to keep a core forest remaining around the Nyika National Park headquarters as the pines are not invasive and do not threaten the integrity of the ecosystem. In some way they will continue to add to the overall ambience and experience of the high plateau at Chelinda Lodge.
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