Meet the Queen of Isalo

These two naturally sculpted rocks eroded by time attract the attention of any traveller taking the road to the south of Madagascar. A true national heritage, its photo is affixed to the Central Bank's 1000 Ariary banknotes.
 
This natural sculpture is easy to spot. It stands majestically on the edge of the RN7, as if to watch over it. The Bara, peoples of the plateaus of southern Madagascar, saw the profile of a crowned queen and then named her "Queen of Isalo". The statue is so majestic that tourists take the time to stop and admire this wonder of nature. And of course to photograph it.
 
Isalo is a sandstone massif of 81540 ha and an altitude between 820m and 1304 m. It extends from Sakaraha to Majunga and outcrops in the part of Ranohira where the famous Isalo National Park is located. This chain is a formation of continental sandstone dating from the Jurassic period. Due to erosion from wind and rain, this massif is naturally be sculpted to reveal shapes such as the boot, the window and the Queen of Isalo.
 
The Queen of Isalo is outside Isalo National Park, she is located 12km south of Ranohira. Very often, travellers immortalise their passage in this place by taking pictures. However, the ascent on this statue, symbol of the region and the Great Island, causes an alteration and degradation of this heritage. The Isalo Ihorombe Regional Tourist Office and its staff are stepping up their efforts to preserve this heritage. This year, they decided to plant aloe vera to act as a hedge around the statue and to clean up graffiti.
 
This article was featured in Prime Magazine December 2019

Useful Information

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When to go

You can reach Toliara from Fort-Dauphin, Antananarivo or Saint-Denis (Reunion Island) by a flight on Air Madagascar/ Tsaradia then continue by car. The statue of her majesty is located 12km before reaching Ranohira. Or take the road that leads to Toliara (RN7). After 15 hours of travel, you will arrive at your destination.

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How to get there

This part of the Ihorombe region inherits the dry tropical climate of its neighbouring region, the south-west. You can venture all year round to enjoy the beauty of the queen.

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Where to stay

Book at the Jardin du Roy, Isalo Ranch, Relais de la Reine, Toiles de l’Isalo, or the Isalo Rock Lodge .

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Where to eat

The restaurant Le zébu grillé is highly recommended in the area. Liberta offers Italian dishes and is located a few kilometres from Isalo National Park. You can also eat in the restaurant of your hotel.

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What to see

This jewel of nature is located facing the southern peak of the park and is separated a few kilometres from the window of the Isalo, another natural sculpture. Take the opportunity to visit the park and museum and discover the beautiful city of Ranohira. You can also plan hikes and mountain bike rides.

Prime Magazine Madagascar 2018 | All Rights Reserved