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Photograph courtesy of Kumuka Worldwide
Madagascar
Sail the Indian Ocean

Known for its 70-plus species of lemurs, Madagascar has the market cornered in trips focused on exotic leaping animals. But few travelers are aware of the country’s marine life. Enter Kumuka Worldwide, whose first-of-its-kind sailing trip plunges into the coral-filled Indian Ocean while hitting a cluster of little-visited islets just off the main island. Starting on Nosy Be, the largest of Madagascar’s outer islands, you’ll travel by dhow—the traditional sailboat used by African and Arabian traders for millennia—from one deserted beach to the next, camping on white sand by night, and kayaking, snorkeling, and fishing by day. The first port of call is Ambavatoby Bay, where your chances of seeing a whale shark (massive, spotted, and up to 60 feet long) are unusually high. Nosy Iranja is up next, a hawksbill turtle breeding reserve prime for sea kayaking. Then it’s on to Nosy Tanihely, whose soft corals, lobsters, and eels make for prize snorkeling sights. Of course, you wouldn’t want to leave without at least glimpsing a lemur; Nosy Komba, or Lemur Island, is one of the last stops. In the wake of the political unrest here last spring, animal poaching—specifically lemur poaching—has become a growing problem. But Kumuka is keeping close tabs on security (at press time, the U.S. State Department had lifted its travel warning) and knows tourism is one of the best ways to help protect wildlife. “By seeing lemurs, clients learn firsthand that they’re a more valuable commodity alive than dead,” says Kumuka’s Steve Murphy.

Outfitter: Kumuka Worldwide; kumuka.com
Price: $805 ($)
Length: 8 days
Departs: April–December

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