Geography of Vakinankaratra

Antsirabe and the Highlands of Madagascar

The Vakinankaratra Region is located on the Highlands of Madagascar.

Madagascar Location in Africa
Google Maps Location
It constitutes the southern part of the Imerina between the volcanic massif of Ankaratra and the Mania river at the boundary of the Betsileo country. It is mainly populated by the Merina ethnic group.

Located in the center of the island, it is bordered by:

  • to the East by the Alaotra-Mangoro and Atsinanana regions
  • to the West by the Menabe region
  • to the North by the Analamanga, Itasy, and Bongolava regions
  • and to the South by the Amoron'i Mania region

It is divided into six districts: Ambatolampy, Antanifotsy, Antsirabe I, Antsirabe II, Betafo, and Faratsiho


Population of Vakinankaratra

School in Madagascar
Primary School in Antsirabe
The population of the region was 1,668,124 inhabitants in 2004 for an area of 19,205 km², representing a density of 95 inhabitants/km².

The current estimated number of people per household is 5.26.
53.3% of boys aged 6 to 14 are enrolled in school compared to 51.33% of girls.
20.9% of household heads have never attended school.

In 2004, 20.1% of the population was urban compared to 79.9% rural.

In 2005, 84.9% of the population worked in agriculture, of which 80% in livestock, compared to 12.8% in the manufacturing sector and 1.84% in services.

Road and Railway Infrastructure

The central region of Madagascar has 333 kilometers of national roads, of which 259 are paved. Of the remaining network, 957 kilometers, only 12 kilometers are paved.

A railway line serves Vakinankaratra, including Behenjy, Ambatolampy, and Antsirabe, from Antananarivo.


Agriculture is dominated by subsistence farming: rice, cassava, maize, potatoes, carrots, and fruits; and industrial crops: barley and tobacco.

Cultivable area/Total area ratio: 20.4%
Cultivated area/Cultivable area ratio: 50.86%


Highlands of Madagascar
Landscape of Vakinankaratra
The region has two main types of forests:
  • mountainous sclerophyllous clearings: 2,224 ha
  • mid-altitude evergreen humid forests: 12,723 ha

The main rivers, streams, and lakes are:

  • Main rivers: Iandratsay, Manandona, Kitsamby, and Onive
  • Lakes > 20 ha: Andraikiba: 78 ha and Andranobe: 109 ha
  • Other smaller surface lakes: 9 lakes including Lake Tritriva

Its capital is Antsirabe

City Hall Antsirabe
City Hall of Antsirabe
It is located at an altitude of 1,500 m in a basin surrounded by volcanoes, 167 km south of the capital Antananarivo. It has the coolest climate in Madagascar.

Antsirabe is nicknamed the "Malagasy Vichy" because of the numerous thermal (hot) or mineral water springs still exploited today. The virtues of its waters, discovered by two Norwegian missionaries in the 19th century, attracted illustrious figures. Even the sovereigns came here to treat their rheumatism.

Antsirabe is also the capital of rickshaws. It has the highest number of rickshaws per capita of any city in the country.

Antsirabe has become the country's leading industrial center today (economy).

The city is connected to the capital Antananarivo by the national road 7 which continues to Tuléar and by the railway. Antsirabe also has an aerodrome (IATA code: ATJ), or FMME (ICAO).

Sources: ONE Communal Survey 2004
Prefecture Census VAKINANKARATRA 2002
Communal Census - ILO 2001
RPGH 1993
Ministry of Public Works