Fianarantsoa, about 175 mi/280 km south of Antananarivo, is not particularly a tourist destination in itself, but it is where most of Madagascar's wines are produced. It merits a two-night visit to see the spectacular Ranomafana National Park, as well as the towns of Ambalavao (where a unique paper used for lamp shades is made), Mananjary (beaches) and Ambositra (the starting point for visits to Zafimaniry villages, whose residents produce excellent wood carvings). Other area villages are essentially untouched by tourism.

About 60 mi/100 km south of Fianarantsoa is Andringitra National Park, which offers hiking trails, striking scenery and an introduction to the Bara and Betsileo people, the two main tribes in the area.

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