Tourism: Discovering Ganvie, an African village set on a lake


A lot of things in this world are strange, strange in their own inexplicable way! Something of the sort you’ll get to notice in Africa too. There’s a lovely village here in Benin called Ganvie, also known as the ‘Venice of Africa’.

So what’s special about this village? Well, it is no ordinary village but this one floats on water and has several colourful houses built on water. The life of people here on boats is absolutely extraordinary! Let’s explore the city more closely.

Where is Ganvie?
Ganvie is a village set on Lake Nokoué, near Cotonou, in the African country called Benin (a French-speaking nation where vodun (or “voodoo”) religion was born). Abomey, Benin’s capital, features two royal palaces where one can see a throne mounted on human skulls! Yes, you read that correct, talk about weird places to visit in the world! The lake town now has more than 30,000 villagers who live in huts made of bamboo.

About the lake village
Getting back to Ganvie, all the huts and houses and the hotels in the village are constructed on wooden stilts above water level. The village is also has a floating market and all the handmade stuff is put on display. In addition, the township also features one complete patch of land, where a school is built for the village kids. There is also a bank, one post office, a medical facility along with a church, and a mosque. In order to create a cemetery, the villagers had to import a huge amount of soil was on their boats.

People of the village mostly do fishing and earn from tourism for their livelihood. The fisherman in the region use various techniques to catch and breed fish using bamboo and nets. A few villagers have also managed to domesticate land-animals by providing green grass. In the region, there are also a few restaurants serving authentic African and local delicacies which includes fresh fish and rice.

How to reach Ganvie?
Reaching Ganvie is not a difficult task given the lake village thrives on tourism. It takes around 4 hours of boat rides to reach here from the capital city Cotonou.

By Priya Srivastava

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