About Ganvie Benin Republic
Ganvie is a village in Benin Republic, it lies in Lake Nokoué, near Cotonou. This village has a population of over 20,000 inhabitants and with its size, it’s probably the largest lake village in Africa! How would you feel if you were to be in Benin Republic visiting the largest lake in Africa with interesting history? Excited I’m sure!
Ganvie village was created in the sixteenth century by the “Tofinu people” who took refuge at the lake when the powerful West African Fon tribe was hunting and selling other native tribesmen as slaves to the Portuguese. While there were few physical impediments protecting the ancestors of today’s Ganvie village from outside attack, Fon religious practice forbade their raiders from advancing on any of the people dwelling on the water, thereby laying the ground work for the Ganvie Lake village. They made the shallow waters and islands of Lake Nokoue a place of refuge.
The Ganvie villagers are often referred to as the “Water men” they were originally based on farming, but now, the village’s main industries other than tourism is fish-farming. In over 500 years that have passed since, Ganvie has developed an intricate and prosperous culture within the constraints of life on the lake.
A school is the only one of Ganvie’s 3,000 buildings that exists on land, although a cemetery mound is currently under construction. The villagers of Ganvie travel almost exclusively by boat, and the few domesticated land-animals they maintain live on plots of grass that spring up from the water. Without a good supply of domesticated animals, Ganvie relies on a complicated network of underwater fencing to corral and farm various fish populations.
The village sits several miles from the nearest shoreline and is about a 4 hour journey from the capital. Ganvie is Africa’s largest lake village.
Be sure to visit Ganvie on your next visit to Benin Republic and I assure you, it will be an unforgettable experience. In a positive way of course.
Check Out the Video and see the still waters and people actually do business, go to market etc.. The video has more to say.
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