Included in the Global 200 Ecoregions, Nyika National Park comprises the most outstanding and representative habitats for biodiversity on the planet. Its high-lying areas are often shrouded in mist, giving them a unique appeal unlike the traditional big five destinations in other African conservation areas.
The park is burgeoning with rare and exotic flora, some of which is found nowhere else in the world. As well as abundant alpine flowers, exquisite bell-shaped dieramas, gladioli, protea and kniphofia, there are also rare, endemic orchid species, many only found only on the Nyika Plateau. The biodiversity on Nyika’s high-altitude moist grasslands, as well as the natural beauty of its wide-open spaces is awe-inspiring. During the ‘green season’ when rainfall is at its highest, the plateau transforms from golden grasslands into a botanist’s delight, with hundreds of different species of wildflowers in full bloom.
One of the threatened habitats in Nyika is its evergreen forest, an endangered ecosystem continually threatened by loggers. Home to many exotics and rare species of trees, the three levels of plant growth – upper story, middle story and understory – create a dense forest teeming with biodiversity.
Today, on Johalize’s last day in Nyika, she is treated to a walk about with student xx, xx to get a glimpse into the incredible biodiversity sustained by the forest environment.
These bountiful areas offer a feast of homes and food for the many species that inhabit Nyika National Park. At times, the Nyika skies are filled with the greatest blue swallow breeding population in the world: just one of the sights that attracts birdwatchers from all over the world.
Although strikingly beautiful, undoubtedly the most challenging aspect of sustainable tourism development in Nyika National Park is accessing the terrain. Johalize is at the beginning of a long journey that will see Nyika’s bounty protected and preserved, yet provide awe, beauty and experience to visitors in the future as well as sustain communities within the landscape.