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Exploring the Shire River

If you have always dreamt of exploring that one unique natural wonder while on safari in Africa then it is a high time you achieved your dream. Malawi never runs out of natural wonders and for those of you who wish to explore something different from the usual African wildlife the Shire River is that one remarkable place you need to pay a visit while on your safari in Malawi.

This amazing water body is Malawi’s largest river and it was popularly called the Shire River. This river features as the only outlet of Lake Malawi and flows into River Zambezi in Mozambique. It extends for about 402 kilometers and its upper area stretches for about 19 kilometers prior entering Lake Malombe.

The river drains Lake Malombe and flows south via Liwonde National Park where huge confinement of hippos are found especially on its shore area. In between Matope and Chikwawa towns it drops about 1300 feet via several waterfalls and gorges.

Within this river, there are 2 (two) hydroelectric dams that have been set up on the shire river northwest of Blantyre and they serve as a major source of power in Malawi. Out of Chikwawa, the lower river turns southeast and enters the low lying Mozambique plain.

This river features Ruo River which is also one of a few perennial tributaries and connects to the Shire River around Chiromo town. Its muddy waters flow via a huge stagnant area popular as the Elephant marsh prior coming into a confluence with River Zambezi south of Sena town and historically, David Livingstone is said to have paid a visit to this river around 1859. Interestingly, its valley forms part of the mighty East African rift system.

However, this river is currently facing challenges especially with siltation a fact that there is intense deforestation taking place in Malawi. Due to this, the river has been enlarged and decreased in its flow. The knock on impact of this threatens the livelihoods of local residents who depend on this water-body. While fishing is one of the major activities in Malawi, most of the fish species that live based on specific conditions to breed and hide, get affected due to siltation and they either die or relocate to other areas with favorable conditions for them to live.