Heading south from Ambalavao, you know you’ve left the highlands when a vast plain swallows the RN7. This mostly empty desert harbours one great national park, and a nearby sapphire boomtown. They make a perfect stop on the way to Tuléar.
National park Isalo
Isalo is like a museum dedicated to the art of the desert canyon. Canyons full of yellow savanah grass, bone-dry canyons, sculpted buttes, white-washed canyons, vertical rock walls, and the best of all, deep canyon floors with streams and lush vegetation, and natural pools for swimming. All of this changes with the light, culminating in extraordinary sunsets beneath a big sky. Take away the lemurs, the baobaps, and the Sakalava tombs, and you might be in the American southwest. There is an easy acces off the RN7, one of the reasons why it is Madagascar’s most visited park, next to the reasons of its beauty.