"GANVIE, The Venice of Africa" Ganvie by janiebaxter
Ganvie Travel Guide: 15 reviews and 47 photos
Ganvie a is must-see on a visit to Benin. 25,000 people live permanently on Lake Nakoue in houses built on stilts.
The town was established here during the early 1700’s when the Kings of Dahomey were raiding many villages and capturing the people to sell as slaves. The local King of the Toffa people, Abodohoue, took advantage of a religious rule that states the Kings of Dahomey could not pursue their enemies over water as the Juju (magic) would work against them, and also the lake was out of range of their guns. So the King took his people to safety and the town has stood on the Lake ever since.
The whole life of the town is lived on and in the water and the town is set out with a main street, a market place – floating of course, and side streets, churches, graveyards, mosques and a school. There is even a Lovers Lane. Most houses do not have electricity so people use kerosene or solar power or cook on a fire.
Most people make a living from fishing on Lake Nakoue. There are many fish farms along the journey to Ganvie and many people coming and going from Ganvie to Abomey-Calavi to sell fish or to buy goods sold at the lakeside or in the market.
See my main Benin pages for more general information on Benin.
- Pros:Great for photos, very interesting and unique
- Cons:Not everybody is happy to be photographed
- In a nutshell:A real must-see
We didn't stay here but we had a very nice lunch with excellent food and service and we looked at the rooms. It is a... more travel advice
Ganvie gets quite a few tourists now, and some of the people who live there are fed up with being photographed every... more travel advice
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