Antananarivo: The Central Region of Madagascar, also known as the Central Highlands, Hauts Plateaux
With their old massifs featuring vigorous reliefs, their bowls and broad plains, it's no wonder that the Malagasy Highlands have reminded travellers of the French Massif Central.
But the scarcity of forests, the immensity of the steppe savannas and the terraced rice fields reflecting the Asian ancestry make the Central region unique. The folds and faults of the crystalline primary basement, its generally granitic bars, ridges, perched synclines and inselbergs (islets of hard rocks), intense volcanism and severe erosion have given this region its phenominal characteristics.
There are also the other 'hills', the 12 Sacred Hills of Imerina of historical significance to the Merina people of Madagascar. Located throughout Imerina, the central area of the highlands of Madagascar, the sites mark ancient capitals, the birthplaces of key public figures and the tomb sites of esteemed political or spiritual leaders.
The main city is Antananarivo (Tana), the capital of Madagascar at 1,275m overlooked by the Rova of Antananarivo palace complex, the centre of the Merina kingdom from the 17th century.
Going East is Parc National de Ranomafana, a vast area of rain forest, the home of many lemur species including the Golden Bamboo and Broad-Nosed gentle lemurs.
Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, about 15km north from Andasibe, is also a protected rainforest area in Central Madagascar. The park includes the Analamazaotra Reserve, home to the largest lemur, the Indri, which is known for its distinctive loud call. The Park is the habitat of many native species including the big Parson's chameleon, plus rare orchids and ferns. Trail circuits weave through dense forest, past lakes and the stunning Sacred Waterfall.
Antsirabe, 170km to the south of Tana is a spa town, the name meaning 'place of much salt' and hence its relaxing theraputic baths. Equally relaxing, perhaps, is the produce of The Star Brewery in Antsirabe, the popular THB (Three Horses Beer).
MAJOR CITIES/TOWNS: Antananarivo, Moramanga, Andasibe, Antsirabe, Ambatolampy, Ambositra
NATIONAL PARKS AND RESERVES:
Analamazaotra Reserve, Mantadia-Andasibe National Park, Ranomafana National Park.
Prime Magazine Featured destinations in the Central region
Midway between Antananarivo, the City of the Thousands, and Antsirabe, the City of Water, Ambatolampy is a must-see on the RN7. Meaning "at the foot of the Rocks", it owes its name to the surrounding mountain range. This is considered a strategic point, in the time of the Malagasy Royalty and during French colonization.....Read more
The National Park of Isalo is appreciated for its ruin-shaped relief displaying a variety of landscapes with close appearance to a shredded stone castle. The magnificent show in front of your eyes is the combined work of wind, rain and erosion on the rocks of the Isalo massif, appeared 200 million years ago during the Jurassic era.....Read more
Considered a discipline reserved for a privileged public in Madagascar, riding is a natural desire that manifests itself from a young age before developing into a passion. We will refute this idea of restriction and show that riding is above all a sports activity with multiple health benefits regardless of its quality of hobby.....Read more
Looking for exceptional adventures? The Mitongoa caves located 15 km from Fianarantsoa promise this. Come and visit and live an exciting and unforgettable experience. Head for Fianarantsoa, the capital of Betsileo. This city was erected by Queen Ranavalona 1st in 1830 in order to build an intermediate city between the capital and the south of Madagascar.....Read more
The main asset of the bike is that it solicits the muscles of the body: abdominals, pecs, arms, glutes, back and especially legs. The activity improves circulation through the flexion-extension movement and thus acts on the deep muscles. The power of the muscles of the lower limbs is thus developed, as well as balance and skill.....Read more
Ranohira is a rural municipality of more than 6000 inhabitants. It is located in the Ihorombe region, 700 kilometres from the capital by taking the National Highway 7 (RN7) towards Fianarantsoa. It is a surprising commune, quiet in appearance but one of the richest of Madagascar.....Read more
Soarano station was built in 1908 with the ideas of French architect Fouchard. His ambition was to build a station in the same configuration as the stations of France in the nineteenth century. The gamble was successful since the beautiful station with colonial architecture remains one of the most visited buildings of the Big Island.....Read more
If Madagascar is known for its wines, there is another drink that makes it proud, it is tea and in particular, Sahambavy tea. Sahambavy tea, (literally "women's fields"), is a creamy tea of a very pronounced ochre colour. It is a tea not intended to be mixed with other tea leaves, but which can easily be drunk as it is.....Read more
Practiced over a distance of 700 to 1500 metres in general, karting, a motor sport discipline, has always had its followers around the world. For several years, karting has become popular in the Big Island. If you like driving fast and thrills do not scare you, head for the track.....Read more
The village of Ampangalantsary is located at the national road N° 2 between Antananarivo and Toamasina. It is a traditional Madagascan village (Fokontany) and part of the rural municipality of Andasibe, in the district of Moramanga, in the southeastern part of the Alaotra-Mangoro region.....Read more
Nature lovers and adventurous spirit, your next destination will be Ambatosoratra! Located 350 km from Antananarivo, Ambatosoratra is a small rural district of approximately 200 inhabitants, in the region Alaotra Mangoro. The fertility of the soil favors agriculture, which is the main activity of the villagers.....Read more
Ambohimalaza is a rural community 15 km east of the Madagascan capital Antananarivo. The town has nearly 12 000 inhabitants for a total area of 33 km². Located at 1,349 meters above sea level, this is a historic site where King Andriantompokoindrindra, son of Ralambo, ruled, whose youngest brother was Andrianjaka. High place of sacrifice, the hill is among the twelve heritage of the history of Imerina, ethnic center. The descendants of the King sacrificed zebus, a custom still in existence today.....Read more
The historic site of Alasora is one of the twelve sacred hills of the ancient Merina Kingdom. Located in the southeastern part of the capital, just half an hour away from the city centre, the rural municipality of Alasora was founded more than five centuries ago, seat of the kingdom of Queen Rangita and Rafohy.....Read more
Ambalavao town located on the RN7, 56 kilometers south of Fianarantsoa forms the border between the Highlands and the South. This city of about 30 000 inhabitants nestle in the heart of the granite mountains with the sweet name of "the woman lying", " three sisters ", of " Rock of Infandana " And also the massive " Andringitra ".....Read more
As a site unknown to locals, leave alone international tourists, Andriamamovoka has everything to please lovers of plain nature. There is a village, located less than two hours from Antananarivo, in the former province of Toamasina, Alaotra-Mangoro region, Moramanga district, Sabotsy Anjiro community......Read more
Vatosola, (pronounced "vatousoula"), literally "bald mountain", is one of the famous sites of Fianarantsoa. At the foot of this mountain is a village with traditional Betsileo houses, named after the tribe inhabiting this part of the island. The city of Fianarantsoa, capital of the Haute Matsiatra region, constitutes an essential stop on the "southern route".....Read more
Formerly called Ampamelankeloka or "place of forgiveness", the village of Ambatondradama is located 2 km north of Ambohimanga Palace. It was named after a spring that served as a natural bath for the Kings Radama and Andrianampoinimerina. Because of its water purity it became a sacred place, visited by many people who also leave offerings.....Read more
Fianarantsoa, the capital of the Haute Matsiatra region, is not only famous for its old houses as if frozen in the past, but also for its craftsmen. The village of Ambatomainty, renowned for the dexterity and talent of its craftsmen, is one of the city's key sites. For just one day, come and immerse yourself into the life of a potter. Ambatomainty is a two hour walk away from Fianarantsoa.....Read more
The history of the rural community Ampahimanga began in the era of Malagasy royalty. Etymologically, the name of this village results from the composition of the two words "Ampahitra" for stable and "Ombimanga" which means "oxen in a blue dress", or literally translated Ampahimanga as "stable for oxen dressed in blue".Read more
Kelilalina which means "a small lake not deep enough", is a habitat for migratory birds located in the Ranomafana reserve in this southeastern part of Madagascar. Kelilalina, a tropical region, contains rare animal species including a bird commonly called "Toulou".....Read more
Ampasamanantongotra ("the tomb with feet"), got its name due to the fact that it is an extraordinary tomb on seven feet. Built before 1850, as the use of cut stones became widespread in Madagascar, this mysterious tomb draws the attention of those who take the National Road No.1 to the west of the capital.....Read more
With its powerful cry, the Indri Indri, a flagship species of the Andasibe Mantadia National Park, is classified as "the largest lemur in the world". With its length that can reach 70 cm, a silky black and white coat and the appearance of a teddy bear without tail, it is locally named "babakoto" (Koto's ancestor).....Read more
Ambohitrombihavana, a small hill of 56 hectares where Andriamboninolona, a pretender to the throne, resided and was buried, was built during the royal period. A peaceful place, somewhat isolated from the city, it tells the story of a prince with a big heart.....Read more
Rubies, sapphires, emeralds, garnets … the list is long. Madagascar is often associated with lemurs or stunning sandy beaches, but actually, in its craters, the island hides thousands of precious stones: the dream of jewellers from all over the world. Of a distance of 170km from the capital is the spa town of Antsirabe, a name which means ‘the place where there is a lot of salt and relaxing thermal baths’. In the town, you can buy cut stones, uncut stones and ornamental stones. The most popular market is that of Cercle Mess, a stone’s throw away from the spa hotel of les Thermes, a must for tourists visiting Antsirabe who are interested in precious or ornamental stones.....Read more