Mount Chameleon | Mount Tsaranoro

Andringitra Mountainous Chain | Viewed from the sacred forest

Morning walk | The Camp viewed from the other side of the river

Authentic Place | Welcome to the valley

Sunset in the Valley | Red colors



The old people from the Tsaranoro Valley villages believe that the name “Tsaranoro” has its origins dating around 1820. During the fights between Betsileo and Merina ethnic groups. Merina comes from the central region, the highlands, and wanted at this time to overthrow the neighboring kingdoms. King Sahanambo fled in the hills to escape from the Merina invaders. He found a cave, large enough to home him and his closest followers. To remain safe, he locks himself inside the cave blocking the entrance with stones. He let the cave closed for months until food supplies ran short.

To survive, there was no other choice than getting down to the valley to buy supplies. To not raise suspicion of the Merina people, the king decided to send his two sisters Ratsara and Ranoro, in the valley. The cave was exceptionally open to let them out and carefully closed after. The sisters walked down the valley and found the necessary supplies quickly.

Tsaranoro Valley
Thus, they went up a lot earlier than expected and found the cave closed. They shouted and knocked the stones but nobody opened. They had enough food to eat but nothing to drink. Therefore, they had to eat uncooked rice and became weaker from day to day until they finally died of thirst.
A few days later, when the king opened the cave, he found his two sisters dead. In honour of Ratsara and Ranoro, the king named the highest rock in the valley “Tsaranoro”. He named also the three rocks on the left “Vatovoarindrina”, which means “closed stone gates”.
Since then, it is still fady (taboo) to speak about the Merina people in the sacred forest, at the foot of Tsaranoro Mount.


Madagascar island is, geologically speaking, mainly made of crystalline foundations called the “mother rock” and dating from the Precambrian epoch (500 million years ago). The highlands in the center of the island are a complex mix of massive hills and valleys such as in Tsaranoro Valley. The landscape is sculpted by geological strengths and long time erosion of the mother rock.

These towering granite massive that are Tsaranoro mount and Andringitra national park are the only remaining blocks that resisted erosion. They are the two witnesses of a decay dating from the Pliocene epoch… 5 million years ago!

tsaranoro valley