With all the visual pollution that exists in urban cities, we humans tend to have a natural self-preservation technique that blocks most of it out. And that is why it is important to get back to nature – to rewire your senses, to bring them back to their most heightened state.
For a lot of city-dwelling folk, the thought of vast expanses of quiet, peaceful, pristine, open, undulating grasslands on one of the highest plateaus of Africa might seem… uninteresting. But let me tell you, when you drag your weary city body up here you will be amazed at the transformation you’ll experience. At 8,000 feet above sea level, you are breathing the most pure, magnificent, unpolluted air your lungs have ever experienced. When I arrived, I was exhausted, for a number of reasons, but mostly because of just running ahead of myself. I normally practice yoga every day, and now, here, I just wanted to meditate.
Now this might not be your ‘thing’ and that is perfect – because you have many choices. It is the small things of the Nyika Plateau that will captivate you. Just behind the lodge, in the man-made pine forest there are the most magnificent, minute orchids I have ever seen. They are Cynorkis kassmeriana and Cynorkis dysperis. The knowledgeable guides here are able to point these out to us and so, what seems to be a normal pine forest suddenly transforms into a floral wonderland with just a little insight and the help of the Chelinda guides.
And then, as you drive around this magical paradise, the wild flowers jump up out of the thick grasses – wild and wonderful. I could just imagine fairies dancing on the petals of each wild flower we encountered. But not only that, the proteas were a revelation! I only know proteas from the Cape in South Africa so it was to my absolute delight seeing the national flower of South Africa flourishing on the Nyika Plateau – really made me feel I was in a ‘home from home’. In total there are 220 orchid species and six protea species that can be found on the Nyika Plateau. Of course, their flowering period is most prolific from January to March which is the rainy season here. You need to be armed with your love of flowers, open spaces, magnificent views, green rolling hills and your galoshes and rain coat to appreciate the magnificence of these species in the natural grasslands of the Nyika Plateau.
And as the light, gentle mountain drizzle washes all your city worries away, you can also appreciate the birds. They are different from the species you will see in southern Africa. And right now, the migrants from southern Africa are busy making their way north so their stop-over is on the Nyika Plateau at this time as they feast on the juicy grasses and drink from the crystal flowing rivers before it is time to take off to on their safari north-bound. There are endemic species that only appear here on the Nyika Plateau – so if you have a bird list you need to visit here to collect another 10 species that are particular to this area. Bring your list, tick it off – you will have a unique collection!