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The Nyika Plateau lies in northern Malawi, with a small portion in north eastern Zambia. Most of it lies at elevations of 2100 to 2200 m, the highest point being 2605m at Nganda Peak. It is roughly a diamond in shape, with a long north-south axis of about 90 km, and an east-west axis of about 50 km. It towers above Lake Malawi (elevation 475 m), and the towns of Livingstonia and Chilumba. Its well-defined north-west escarpment rises about 700 m above the north-eastern extremity of the Luangwa Valley, and its similarly prominent south-east escarpment rises about 1000 m above the South Rukuru River valley.
Wildlife and human settlement
It is known for its wildlife, including Burchell's Zebra, many birds and endemic butterflies, chameleons, frogs and toads (e.g., Nyika dwarf toad), and also for its orchids. All of the plateau is protected, by Malawi's large Nyika National Park and the much smaller Nyika National Park, Zambia. The only settlement on the plateau is Chelinda, the headquarters and accommodation site for the Malawian park.
A large area of the Nyika Plateau, around 3,000 km2., makes up the Nyika National Park. Owing to its protected status, endemic flora continue to flourish in this part of the plateau. The flora of the plateau include gladioli, delphiniums, lobelia, and 'red hot pokers'. The plateau is also home to around 200 species of orchids. Groves of montane forests also dot the plateau.
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