Located about ten kilometers north of Cotonou, Ganvié is a lakeside city in Benin located on Lake Nokoué.

The village was founded in the 18th century by the “water men” or Toffinous, originally from Togo (the Adjakedos) and Tado, in the south of Benin, who came to take refuge from the slave raids in the swamps surrounding the lake.

Legend has it that King Agbogdobé transformed himself into a hawk to fly over the lagoon and spot the island of Ganvié. He then turned into a crocodile and his people, who had no boat, climbed on his back to cross the lake to this refuge.

Today, the 75,000 inhabitants of Ganvié live in wooden houses on stilts. The pirogue remains the only means of transportation and it is not possible to reach the city otherwise.

Fishing remains the main activity of the region and it is not uncommon to see a fisherman throwing his nets at the corner of a street. Dugouts loaded with goods come to the floating market. The inhabitants sell all kinds of products and food there.




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