Zimbabwe boasts some amazing natural sites. The Victoria Falls are without a doubt one of the world's grandest natural spectacles and every viewpoint reveals something new. Running from northeast to southwest down the centre of the country, and connecting its two largest cities, is the Highveld, a chain of low mountains and Zimbabwe's most populous area.
Zimbabwe also offers some of the best wildlife parks in southern Africa. From the forested mountains of the Eastern highlands to the sun-washed grasslands of Hwange National Park, from the hot Mopani Forest to the shores of Lake Kariba, more than 11% of Zimbabwe's land - 44,688 sq km (17,254 sq miles) - has been set aside as parks and wildlife estates. There are also several botanical gardens, sanctuaries and more than a dozen national safari areas for hunting (an activity that helps to finance the conservation programme and is strictly controlled).
Modern Zimbabwe is not in a good state. In spite of the economy slowly improving, there is still widespread famine and the government lacks the resources to deal with the ravages of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, which affects an estimated one quarter of the population. However, a historic power-sharing deal signed in 2008 between President Mugabe and the opposition party leader Morgan Tsvangirai has pledged to improve the lives of Zimbabweans.