Among the highlights of the 2017 Journeys lineup are seven new itineraries in Africa, including Wonders of Namibia.

Johannesburg - National Geographic Expeditions and G Adventures have unveiled 18 new itineraries for 2017 as part of the National Geographic Journeys with G Adventures lineup, including trips through the storied landscapes of Namibia, Japan and Canada.

The new itineraries take the total number of tours in the collection to 83.

Among the highlights of the 2017 Journeys lineup are seven new itineraries in Africa, including Wonders of Namibia, which features a lecture and guided game drive with the National Geographic-associated Cheetah Conservation Fund.

The new Iconic Japan trip has travellers making sushi with a local chef, watching an ancient martial arts performance, and learning Zen calligraphy.

For wildlife enthusiasts, the Canadian Polar Bear Experience provides a rare opportunity to see polar bears in their natural habitat, alongside an expert from Polar Bears International, an organisation that has collaborated with National Geographic.

Launched in January 2016, the Journeys collection offers hands-on exploration and meaningful interactions with people and places at an accessible price point.

“The success of this partnership in its first year has far surpassed our hopes, attracting thousands of new bookings, and rave post-trip reviews from our travellers. It shows us that travellers want experiences that enrich their minds, hearts and spirits.” says Jeff Russill, vice president of product, G Adventures.

With an emphasis on discovery, storytelling, local immersion and social good, all Journeys tours offer unforgettable experiences to travellers who appreciate having free time and flexibility, but value the structure and security that come with small group travel. Each trip is led by a knowledgeable local guide known as a Chief Experience Officer (CEO), and is filled with opportunities to connect with local cultures. Travellers also visit projects and initiatives associated with G Adventures or National Geographic that help improve local livelihoods and protect natural and cultural heritage.

“Over the past year, we've been thrilled to see how this new line of trips has resonated with all kinds of travellers, in particular younger travellers seeking an authentic way to connect with another part of the world,” says Lynn Cutter, executive vice president of National Geographic Travel.

The 18 new National Geographic Journeys with G Adventures trips for 2017 are now available for sale with departures beginning in April 2017. The new trips include:

* Wonders of Namibia (10 days priced from R37 207pp) - Visit the global field research and education facility at the Cheetah Conservation Fund, an organisation supported by National Geographic Big Cats Initiative. After a lecture by a researcher, go on a wildlife viewing drive to see cheetahs up close in their natural habitat. Set out on safari in Etosha National Park and then explore Mondesa Township with a resident guide, followed by dinner and local entertainment in a family home. Depart from and return to Windhoek.

* Iconic Japan (12 days, priced from R26 249pp) - Walk through Tokyo's famous Tsukiji Fish Market, the largest in the world, with local insiders who know its ins and outs. Take a sushi-making class with recognised masters, learning how to select, prepare and fillet ingredients. Visit a local temple to delve into the history and practice of Zen Buddhism in Japan and try out the art of Zen calligraphy. Then stop by a traditional dojo to gain an understanding of kembu, an ancient martial art form that honours samurai culture. Depart from Tokyo, finish in Kyoto.

* Polar Bear Experience (6 days, priced from R79 739pp) - Head out on a full-day excursion in search of polar bears, then attend a private cocktail reception with representatives from Polar Bears International, a conservation group dedicated to saving habitat for these iconic animals. Visit the Parks Canada Visitor Centre at the Heritage Railway Station for a lecture about the area, and explore the unmatched collection of Inuit art and artifacts at the Eskimo Museum. Hear from a Churchill resident about what life is like in this isolated northern Canadian town. Depart from and return to Winnipeg.

Adapted from a press release for IOL