Lying in middle of Lake Nokoué, near Cotonou, Benin is Ganvie – the largest floating city in Africa.
Over 20,000 people call Ganvie home and its unique setting and stunning scenery that surround it makes the lake very popular with tourists.
Sometimes called the Venice of Africa, Ganvie’s floating city was established in the sixteenth or seventeenth century by the Tofinu people, and legend has it that the religion of the Dahomeys (a slave trading tribe that domainated the region during the time) forbade the resident Fon warriors (who believed in reincarnation) from entering water, therefore the lagoon was a safe territory for them and other tribes.
Ganvie’s people busy themselves with fishing and fish farming. I’m especially jazzed to see that the women here in total control including ‘driving’ themselves around! Nice!
Know Before You Go
The easiest way to get to Ganvie is to take a boat from the Hotel du Lac in Cotonou. It makes the trip in about 50′, what would allow one to full make a visit in about 1/2 day.