Betsileo & Bara


The cosy town of Ambalavao is located between the central high plateau and the savannas of the south-west. It is close to the spectacular Andringitra massif and the gateway to the south. To the north there are hills with vineyards and beautiful valleys full of rice paddies while the south offers savannas as far as the eye can reach. Majestic granite rock formations sheltering large troops of the endemic ring-tailed lemurs arise on their horizon.


On this natural border between mountains and lowlands, and between cattle-breeding and rice cultivation, two Malagasy ethnic groups meet: the Betsileo and the Bara. The typical building style of the Betsileo (wooden balconies with vibrant colours) contributes highly to Ambalavao’s fairy tale charm. The semi-nomadic Bara drive their herds of zebu over the vast southwestern savannas. Once a week they gather in Ambalavao for the country ‘s largest zebu market, bringing a sense of adventure and the freedom of the outdoors to town.


Adventure and rewarding outdoor experiences are two excellent reasons to visit this region. Nearby, Andringitra National Park is a paradise for those who enjoy overnight hiking trips.

Tsaranoro Valley offers a wide range of stunning trails, from easy, to challenging trails.                     

Located amongst granite rock formations, the ecotourism project Parc d’Anja is just south of town and well worth a visit. Troops of ring-tailed lemurs, perhaps Madagascar ‘s best known lemurs, can be seen only a short walk away.

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