The highlands of central Madagascar – often called the Hauts Plateaux, although they are mostly anything but flat – stretch from north of Antananarivo far towards the south of the island. The region, which ranges in altitude from 800m to more than 2000m above sea level, includes dramatic granite mountain ranges, lava ridges and outcrops. While there’s very little indigenous natural forest left, the human landscape is captivatingly beautiful, with deep valleys filled for hundreds of years by terraced rice fields and characteristic rows of traditionally built houses, and the interest never wanes as you travel through the region.

Covered in this section are the most compelling parts of the island’s centre: the busy provincial agricultural town of Antsirabe; the historical city of Fianarantsoa; the rainforest gem of the Parc National de Ranomafana; and the ring-tailed lemur reserve at Anja near Ambalavao – all of which can easily be reached along the RN7.

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Madagascar features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

8 reasons why Madagascar should be on your radar

8 reasons why Madagascar should be on your radar

Madagascar, the world's fourth largest island, is a giant wonderland of natural sights and experiences. It's a place of diverse landscapes, climates and tribal …

20 Mar 2018 • Kirsten Henton insert_drive_file Article
Passport to write: the runners-up!

Passport to write: the runners-up!

After weeks of deliberation, we're thrilled to announce the results of the Rough Guides and Journeys are made @gapyear.com writing competition. The winning p…

03 Jul 2015 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
Incredible forests of the world

Incredible forests of the world

Spiny Forest, Madagascar On an island filled with weird and wonderful living things, the spiny forest has to be Madagascar's most unusual ecosystem. Endemic…

03 Oct 2014 • Alison Roberts camera_alt Gallery
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