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Malawi / Zambia TFCA

Major Features

Cultural Importance

© 2009 Koos van der Lende
© 2009 Koos van der Lende
Important cultural heritage resources and artefacts are found on the Nyika Plateau and in Kasungu National Park. These include ancient dwelling sites with rock paintings, such as at Fingira Rock and Wan'gombe Rume. There are also various iron-ore mines, iron-smelting kilns and remnants of complex traditional iron-working practices.

Geographic Description

© 2009 Koos van der Lende
© 2009 Koos van der Lende
The Nyika Plateau consists of a high, undulating plateau at about 1,800 m in elevation, and associated hills and escarpments. The highest point on the Nyika is Nganda Hill (2,607 m) in Malawi. The climate is much colder than the surrounding region with cold, wet, misty conditions. The Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve lies to the south of the Nyika Plateau and consists of low hills and pediments to the east, with a large region of alluvium and wetland to the west. The reserve is generally flat, lying at an altitude of about 1,125 m.
The western part of Lukusuzi extends into the foothills that form the eastern escarpment of the Luangwa Valley. The rest of it is fairly flat country, like Kasungu, where the only topographic relief consists of isolated granite outcrops and small inselbergs.

Vegetation

The vegetation above 1 800 m is predominantly montane grassland, interspersed with evergreen forest. These high-lying areas are often shrouded in mist, giving them a unique appeal. In summer a multitude of wild flowers and orchids burst forth on the highlands, making it a sight unlike any seen in most other game parks.
The foothills, on the other hand, are covered in miombo woodland of various kinds, while the western and eastern higher-lying areas of Musalangu are characterised by miombo woodland and wooded grassland. The Luangwa Valley has extensive areas of mopane woodland. The Kasungu/Lukusuzi component is an area of importance for biodiversity conservation in the Miombo Ecoregion.
© 2009 Koos van der Lende
© 2009 Koos van der Lende

Wildlife

© 2009 Michael Viljoen
© 2009 Michael Viljoen
Nyika boasts exceptional and internationally important biodiversity. In the highlands alone there are about 102 mammals as well as 3 000 plant, 462 bird, 47 reptile, 34 amphibian, 31 fish, and an unknown number of invertebrate species, including 287 species of butterflies. The Vwaza Marsh and Musalangu Game Management Area are a haven for game and birdlife.
Kasungu/Lukusuzi has a noteworthy diversity of mammals, plants and birds - about 112 mammal species of which seven which are near endemic to the miombo woodland zone, as well as 2 000 plant, 370 bird, 47 reptile, 34 amphibian, 31 fish, and an unknown number of invertebrate species.