The Shire is the largest river and most important river in Malawi and it has been known as the Shiré or Chire River. It is the main outlet of Lake Malawi and flows into the river of Zambezi in Mozambique. It has length of 402 Km (250 mi). The upper Shire River flows from Lake Malawi and runs approximately 12 miles before it enters shallow Lake Malombe. Then it drains Lake Malombe and flows south through Liwonde Park where large numbers of hippopotamus are common along its shores. Between the towns of Matope and Chikwawa, the center river falls to approximately 1,300 feet through a series of falls and gorges, including Kapachira Falls. Two hydroelectric dams are built along the Shire northwest of Blantyre.
Beyond Chikwawa, the lower river turns in southeast direction and enters to the low-lying Mozambique plain. It is the largest and one in all its few perennial tributaries and the Ruo River which links with the Shire near the Malawian town of Chiromo. The muddy waters pass through a large stagnant area known as  Elephant Marsh before reaching the confluence with the Zambezi River south of the town of Sena, Mozambique.

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