These cultural tour takes you on the Ethiopia’s Historic Route.The Simien Mountains present the most dramatic mountain scenery in Africa: Great volcanic plugs, formed some 40 million years a go and eroded over the aeons into fantastic crags, pinnacles and flat topped mountains. On this tour you will visit four UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.

Axum was the seat of an empire which extended across the Red Sea to Arabia, traded with India and China, had its own alphabet and notational system, constructed great engineering works and dams. It was reckoned in the 4th century to be one of the four great powers of the ancient world. Today the visitor can see stelae (the largest single pieces of stone erected anywhere), the tombs and castles of Kings, Axum Museum and Mariamtsion Church, built on the site of Ethiopia’s first church. A chapel within the church compound is believed by Ethiopian Orthodox Christians to house the Ark of the Covenant (see Graham Hancock’s The Sign and the Seal). A visit to Axum can be extended to take in the 500 BC pre-Axumite temple of Yeha.

King Lalibela is credited with the foundation of the 11 rock-hewn churches in the 12th Century. One of the world's most incredible man-made creations, they are a lasting monument to man's faith in God. These remarkable edifices were carved out of solid rock, in a region where the rugged landscape still protects the churches from mass tourism. The 11 man made churches are found in and around the town of Lalibela. Other churches are reached by a 45-minute drive by 4x4 vehicle, or a three hour mule ride.The venue for some of the most famous church festivals in Ethiopia, a visit during the great celebrations of Timket (Epiphany) and Gena (Ethiopian Christmas) is particularly rewarding.

Gonder was the 17th Century capital of Ethiopia and is notable for its medieval castles and churches. The City's unique imperial compound contains a number of castles built between 1632 and 1855 by the various emperors who reigned during this period. These dramatic castles, unlike others in Africa, display richness in architecture that reveals the Axumite traditions as well as the influence of Arabia.

Bahar Dar is set on the south-eastern shore of Lake Tana, where local fishermen still use papyrus boats. It is just 30 km from the spectacular Tisisat Falls. Here the Blue Nile creates "Smoking Water" an awe-inspiring sight as it plunges into the gorge below. From Bahar Dar you can explore some of the ancient monasteries that have been built around Lake Tana, or on its many Islands. These include Dek Stephanos with its priceless collections of icons, the remains of several medieval emperors, Kebran Gabriel and Ura Kidane Mehret with its famous frescoes. The colourful local market at Bahar Dar is renowned for its weavers and wood workers.