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Meaningful travel gets an adventurous new twist

Anne Majumdar

Delivering hands-on exploration and “meaningful” encounters is the aim of National Geographic Journeys and G Adventures as they unveiled the first 70 trips under their new partnership.

The new tie-up was launched just over two months ago to coincide with G Adventures 25th anniversary. The new journeys seek to fuse Nat Geo’s long-standing credentials in the areas of exploration and science with G Adventure’s expertise in the adventure travel space.

“We are so excited to be able to offer these great adventures to Australian and New Zealand travellers in 2016,” G Adventures managing director Australia and New Zealand Belinda Ward said.

“We know that the new journeys will be a big hit with agents and travellers will be blown away by the countless special experiences they will encounter on the trips – whether they are a seasoned traveller or not.”

Each National Geographic Journey tour will be led by a local guide from G Adventures, with groups to be limited to 16 guests or fewer.

Connecting with local people and learning about their culture will be a priority, as will the discovery of places where National Geographic’s own explorers and “storytellers” have had important adventures of their own.

National Geographic Travel executive vice president Lynn Cutter said the itineraries featured in the new program stand out within the industry.

“They are different from anything else that is currently being offered: a combination of compelling itineraries, free time and options, and incredible value—along with the security and expertise of travelling with National Geographic,” she said.

Check out these five sample tours for an idea of what the partnership is all about:

•             Explore Costa Rica – Travellers will get special access to the Monteverde Institute, a research centre supported by National Geographic, and have a chance to participate in the centre’s reforestation efforts. Get to know the idyllic community of San Miguel de Sarapiquí on a tour of Mi Cafecito, a G Adventures-supported coffee co-op that has helped bring economic benefits to this region through tourism. Meet with researchers on a visit to the Sea Turtle Conservancy, co-founded by National Geographic grantee Archie Carr, to learn about the four species of sea turtles found in Tortuguero and the threats they face. 14 Days; priced from AUD$2,249*.

•             Explore Kruger National Park – On this trip into South Africa’s iconic national park, travelers will go on a game drive with a researcher from the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Carnivore Conservation Program, who will share insights into the behaviour of cheetahs and other carnivores and the effort to protect them. This project, led by National Geographic grantee Kelly Marnewick, is part of the Society’s Big Cats Initiative. 7 days; priced from AUD $2,099*.

•             Brazil Journey – On a journey that combines architecture and gastronomy with natural wonders, travellers will encounter the thunder of Iguaçu Falls and observe wildlife alongside a local biologist; discover the diverse flavours of São Paulo; and get to know the UNESCO World Heritage site of Paraty. Next year is an especially exciting time to visit Brazil, and it is poised to host the 2016 Summer Olympics. 9 Days; priced from AUD $2799*.

•             Botswana Safari Experience – One of National Geographic Traveller magazine’s 20 must-see places to visit in 2016, Botswana is blessed with natural wealth—and a commitment to preserve it. On this journey, travellers will hear indigenous storytellers spin folk tales by an evening fire, drift through the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Okavango Delta in a houseboat, and see the many elephants of Chobe National Park. 10 Days; priced from AUD $5,499*.

•             Discover Sri Lanka – Travellers will delve into the ancient empires of Sri Lanka, as well as its wilderness and its modern-day culture. Explore the history of ayurvedic healing with a local practitioner who will show which herbs and spices help cure common ailments. Visit the CIC Seed Farm, which works with more than 20,000 farmers in Sri Lanka to improve crop quality, and see the fortress that once guarded the ancient city of Sigiriya. Ride along with a forest ranger by jeep in Wilpattu National Park to look for leopards and learn about conservation efforts. 12 Days; priced from AUD $2,399*.

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