Formely Andringitra used to serve as a refuge for the Betsileo populations of the plain during raids conducted by the Sakalava or the Merina. Henri Perrier of La Bâthie, who explored this massif in 1925, obtained from the administration to make of the central zone of the massif a natural reserve on about 31 200 hectares in 1927.
Located in the southern part of the island between Fianarantsoa and Ambalavao, 75 mi north of the Tropic of Capricorn, and 62 mi from the Indian Ocean, this massif has a general north / south orientation. With a length of 39 mi and an average width of 2 mi (6 mi in the center of the massif), its altitude varies from 0,3 to 1,65 mi. Formed in Precambrian, this massif consists essentially of granite, syenite to pyroxene or syenitic granite. Most of the faults that fracture the massif are longitudinal, or star-shaped. The hard crystalline rock has been heavily eroded by runoff, which has dug metric-sized furrows.
Three main ethnic groups live on the outskirts of the massif: The Bara Haronga live in the rainforest to the east of the massif. They grow rice, coffee, sugar cane and fruit trees. They also practice cattle breeding. The Betsileo live on the northern foothills of Andringitra. They built sophisticated rice fields on the slopes of the mountain and organized an irrigation network for the cultivation of rice. The Bara live to the west and south of the massif. They use the natural resources of the clear savanna.