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Water-logged Ankarafantsika National Park acts as the main reservoir for Madagascar's premier "rice bowl", the plain of Marovoay (literally "many crocodiles"). Ankarafantsika's plateaux are covered by dense deciduous dry forests and savannas. The plateaux are criss-crossed by swampy zones in shallow valleys. Several rivers have their springs in the park, and meander around small "islands" covered by raphia and pandanus. The lakes in Ankarafantsika are the last refuge of several endemic species of fish.

The area, and particularly Ampijoroa Forest Station (the only part of Ankarafantsika that is open to human visitors), is also famous for its Coquerel's sifakas, birds and geckoes, as well as the captive breeding programs for several endangered tortoise species: the Rere (Erymnochelys madagascariensis), the Angonoka (Geochelone yniphora) and the Kapidolo (Pyxis planicauda). The crocodiles of Ravelobe lake, which are best seen from July to December, are considered "ancestors" and venerated accordingly.

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