Listen to the low roar of the watchful lioness as she guards her cubs; in the distance, elephants wheel and trumpet; crocodiles lie in the sun, near a river, a grim smile seemingly plastered on their long snouts; hippos wallow in pools of water while zebra graze far away. Big, beautiful and natural… that?s the Republic of Zimbabwe for you, said to be one of the most beautiful countries in southern Africa. Unspoilt and virtually uncharted, this landlocked country exudes a raw, primeval vibe when you travel beyond one of its most bewitching sights ? the Victoria Falls. Buzz over that vast curtain of water in a chopper; bungee jump or go on a boat cruise; or walk with the lions… Yes, there is a world beyond Vic Falls (undeniably the country?s most riveting sight) that beckons the explorer who wants to see the ?real Africa.? The vast 2,200 sq km of Mana Pools National Park is a wilderness that seems poised to swallow up intruders ? metaphorically, of course. This UNESCO World Heritage listed site bristles with wild life as does the Hwange National Park where elephant herds lope (30,000 at last count) and other animals too kick up dust in this utterly natural wilderness that is their home. The giant granite boulders, piled one on top of another as though in a fit of divine fury, in Matobo National Park are an almost eerie cameo of the wild. Compelling contrasts abound in this country where the ruins of a medieval city ? Great Zimbabwe ? evoke a highly evolved civilisation while the Movuradonha Mountains is a region of other-worldly dimensions where seemingly bottomless valleys are rimmed with sheer rock faces and verdant mountains. Zimbabwe has much more to offer. Round off your visit at Lake Kariba, a blue expanse of water that sheathes 5,000 sq km of land where you can stay in a houseboat, sip a beer as you watch a flaming sun set over a gorgeous country.