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La Route du Sud , Madagascar
La Route du Sud
© Pawel Opaska / 123RF
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La Route du Sud Madagascar
Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Section editor

Discover La Route du Sud

The Southern Road leads from Tananarive to Tulear and vice versa. It is a lovely way to cross from the capital city to Tulear, passing through Ifaty (see the destination 'Ifaty').

From Tananarive, you will discover Ambatolamp, then Antsirabe, Fianarantsoa, Ambalavao, Ranohira and the Isalo massif, before arriving at Tulear.

The road is winding and quite hilly, while the landscape is filled with rice fields and is very green until the Isalo massif. Then, the Southern Road, also known as National 7, becomes flatter.

Along the road you will notice that the style of the houses changes, as they are built with different materials. It is possible to stop in the villages.

Try to remember to take pens and T-shirts, or even soap, shower gel, shampoo, and cakes with you... The villagers will be happy. Some may even ask you to take photos of them and send it to them afterwards. In Madagascar, especially along the Southern Road, people are still spared from the influx of tourism. They will smile and ask you to take a photo of them without expecting money in return. It'll make their day!

All along the Southern Road, you can discover the grandiose and authentic landscapes of the High Lands and admire the construction of the houses (with materials like earth, bamboo, etc.) and the countless rice fields. Located 105 miles from Antananarivo, Antsirabe has turned into a large city. Nicknamed the 'Madagascan Vichy', it is famous for its seven high-quality mineral springs and sparkling water, 'Visy Gasy', as well as its thermal baths, which are still in service but could do with a bit of a make-over. King Mohammed V himself used to stay at the famous Hotel des Thermes, a building with magnificent architecture. An interesting fact: there are nearly 8,000 rickshaws in Antsirabe that run back and forth across the town, which has the largest number of these 'vehicles' per inhabitant.

You can stop off at Ambatolamp, with its pine trees and meadows, situated 14 miles from Tananarive. Here you can see artisans working with cast iron. Ambatolamp is also a good starting point for hikes. The Isalo massif, in Ranohira, is a 'ruiniforme' (its angular shapes look like ruins) mountain range that constitutes the most original natural range in Madagascar. Wild, rugged and mysterious, it is protected by a National Park covering 247,000 acres which preserves the endemic flora and fauna of priceless touristic and scientific wealth. It promises beautiful walks. You will find lemur reserves along the whole length of the road.

La Route du Sud

La Route du Sud , Madagascar
La Route du Sud © Dennis Van De Water / 123RF
La Route du Sud , Madagascar
La Route du Sud © Pierre-Yves Babelon / 123RF
La Route du Sud , Madagascar
La Route du Sud © Pawel Opaska / 123RF
La Route du Sud , Madagascar
La Route du Sud © Joaquin Ãlvarez / 123RF
La Route du Sud , Madagascar
La Route du Sud © Dennis Van De Water / 123RF
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