This seems odd at first, but I think I get where National Geographic is coming from.
For decades National Geographic has been delivering fantastic photography (and more recently, TV footage) that has moved people to jump on planes and travel to the farthest corners of the globe where our cell phones promptly refuse to cooperate. Now it seems like they're trying to make up for that.
The educational and scientific society announced Wednesday that it is partnering with Cellular Abroad to make the National Geographic Talk Abroad Travel Phone, a bar-style GSM phone that operates in more than 100 countries. The actual hardware isn't the cool part--it's the plan, or lack thereof, that's the best feature.
There's no contract to sign and minutes can be added whenever you want. Incoming calls in most countries are totally free, but expect to pay 90 cents per outgoing minute. The phone can be purchased for $199 or rented for $49 a week. It comes pre-loaded with 30 minutes of free talk time. Alternatively, a SIM card is available for $79 (the card also comes with 30 minutes free).
So, if you can stand to wait a few extra weeks before jetting off on that Malawian safari, you can bring this phone with you. It's available starting in March.