Matador co-founder Ross Borden gets way off the trail in this African island nation. See what he finds.

I went to this corner of the world stoked to see the animals, landscapes, and sunsets I’d read about in the travel lit, but of course it was the beauty of the people and their way of life that really blew me away.

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Life in Western Madagascar

A woman carries a load of fish from the edge of the sand bar to town where she'll sell them at the market.

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Life in Western Madagascar

A group of kids shows me that life isn't so bad in a remote coastal fishing village about 80km south of Morondava.

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Life in Western Madagascar

The long but spectacular walk home down from the main road to Morondava via the Avenue du Baobab.

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Life in Western Madagascar

Fishermen and their wives divvy up the day's catch at the tip of the sand bar in Morondava.

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Life in Western Madagascar

Women in Western and Northern Madagascar often wear a daily "mask" called "Masonjoany." This paste is made from a plant by the same name and is worn to protect the skin from the hot sun and keep it smooth and clear. It's applied first thing in the morning and removed at night.

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Life in Western Madagascar

A "pirogue" (Malagasy for outrigger canoe) captain leans against a wall at the mouth of a cave in Le parc national Tsingy. The park is famous for the spectacular formations of limestone which have been eroded by thousands of years of heavy rain.

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Life in Western Madagascar

A group of young girls in Belo Sur Mer perform a rendition of a Malagasy pop song for my camera.

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Life in Western Madagascar

A woman prepares the fish her three young boys caught in the Manambolo River earlier that morning.

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Life in Western Madagascar

Six men haul the sails of a massive boat heading from the sleepy beaches of Belo Sur Mer south to Toliara.

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Life in Western Madagascar

A fisherman on a remote, unnamed island 65km off the coast of Belo Sur Mer applies a black tar used to seal a crack in the hull of a pirogue that struck reef on a fishing expedition.

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Life in Western Madagascar

Three sisters wait for their brother to pick them up in a cattle-drawn cart on the way back to their village, somewhere east of Morondava.

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Life in Western Madagascar

A woman from a Vezo village getting ready to feed her children dinner as the sun sinks low in the sky and temps drop on an island 60km off Madagascar's west coast.

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Life in Western Madagascar

A heavy (and stinky) load. A fisherman takes a full basket of the day's catch 2km through the hot sand and into town, where he'll sell it at the market.

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Life in Western Madagascar

A boat builder chopping wood for repairs on his ship at low tide in Belo Sur Mer.

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Life in Western Madagascar

A girl selling fruit on a remote road about 60km east of Morondava. The large, round fuzzy ones are fruits from the famous baobab tree. You crack them open like a coconut and eat these strange, fuzzy little seeds inside. I tried them but was not a fan. An acquired taste...

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Life in Western Madagascar

An octopus racked out to dry in the sun and relentless wind on an unmapped island 65km off the coast of Belo Sur Mer.

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Life in Western Madagascar

A boy just before sunrise, starting out a long day of shepherding his herd of "zebo" (cattle) through the massive groves of baobabs east of Morondava.

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Life in Western Madagascar

A fisherman of the Vezo tribe takes shelter behind a wall of dead coral on a remote island 75km south of Morondava.

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Life in Western Madagascar

Women sort out the fishing nets of their husband's boats while another boat comes in to land just before low tide.

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Life in Western Madagascar

A vendor selling dried fish in the main market in Morondava.

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Life in Western Madagascar

Three brothers showing me "where the wild things are" on a backstreet of a village near Belo Sur Mer.

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Life in Western Madagascar

Just after sunrise on an island off the coast of Belo Sur Mer, a man sorts out the fishing line while his wife comes to collect the night's catch. These guys let me go out with them to fish for 6 hours in the middle of the night, 80km off the coast, in the middle of the Mozambique Channel.

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