Location: Nyika Plateau Zambia

General Information

Quarter degree square: 1033D1

Country: Zambia

Habitat: a few rocky outcrops on the plateau, but mostly gently undulating grassland and scattered patches of montane forest.

Altitude range: 1300-2225 m

Annual rainfall: 951-1050 mm

Location (short): This relatively small park lies along the Malawi border in the far north-east of the country.

Location (detailed): National Park No. 12: Situated in Chama district. This relatively small park lies along the Malawi border in the far north-east of the country. The site lies adjacent to the much larger Malawian national park of the same name (IBA MW002, Dowsett- Lemaire et al. 2001). Nyika is one of only three truly montane areas in Zambia; the Mafinga Mountains (lBA 39) lie about 80km to the north and the Makutu Mountains are half way between the two. Together they constitute Zambia's eastern highlands.


There are a few rocky outcrops on the plateau, but most of Nyika's terrain is gently undulating and dominated by Loudetia-Andropogon grassland, often with pockets of Protea and Erica. There are scattered patches of montane forest, often in depressions or along streams. The largest of these are Chowo (90ha) and Manyanjere (75ha) which have a tall, closed canopy 25-30m high, with emergents reaching 35-40 m. The floristic composition of the forests has been studied in detail (Dowsett- Lemaire 1985). Afrocrania (Cornus) volkensii, Croton macrostachyus, Podocarpus latifolius and Polyscias fulva are important fruit trees. Typical emergents include Aningeria adolfi-friedericii, Entandrophragma excelsum and Olea capensis. Most forests and some streams are bordered by dense bracken-briar, a transitional vegetation type typical of areas where forest has been burnt. Along the western side of the park runs a precipitous escarpment which, in places, supports miombo. At higher levels, this woodland becomes somewhat stunted. In general, the flora contains many species of limited distribution elsewhere in Zambia and the area is particularly rich in orchids (La Croix et al. 1991). The eastern highlands are generally cool and wet and they are an important catchment area within which several large rivers rise.

Useful links

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Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2014-24

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2024). Flora of Malawi: Location details: Nyika Plateau Zambia .
https://www.malawiflora.com/speciesdata/location-display.php?location_id=101, retrieved 14 July 2024

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