lake nokoue

Ganvie - Benin

With a population of 20,000 people, Ganvie is a lake village located on the northern edge Lake Nokoue. Established in the 16th century by the Tofinu people, it is now the largest lake village in Africa. The village was strategically built on the lake to evade capture by rival Fon warriors, whose religion forbade them from advancing on people dwelling in waters. 

Traditionally, the main industry in the area is farming and fishing. In more recent years, the villages popularity has also seen a rise in tourism to the area. 

lake village of Ganvie, Benin

Lake Nokoué

The interesting thing about this village is that it is in the middle of a lake on stilts. Their markets are on boats all grouped together in the middle, and the children paddle to school. 

The village was established in the sixteenth or seventeenth centuries by the Tofinu people, established on the lake because the Dahomey’s religion forbade the Fon warriors from entering water, therefore the lagoon was a safe territory for other tribes.