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Ganvie is located in Benin
Location in Benin
Coordinates: 6°28′N 2°25′E / 6.467°N 2.417°E / 6.467; 2.417
Country Benin
DepartmentAtlantique Department
Time zoneUTC+1 (WAT)

Ganvie is a lake village in Benin, Africa lying in Lake Nokoué, near Cotonou. With a population of around 20,000 people, it is probably the largest lake village in Africa and as such is very popular with tourists.

The village was created in the sixteenth or seventeenth centuries by the Tofinu people who took to the lake to avoid Fon warriors capturing slaves for sale to European traders. Making the shallow waters and islands of Lake Nokoue a haven, the Ganvie villager are often referred to as "water men."[1]

Originally based on farming, the village's main industries other than tourism are now fishing and fish farming.

World Heritage status[edit]

The village was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List on October 31, 1996 in the Cultural category.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Spedini, Gabriella; Fuciarelli, Maria; Rickards, Olaga (June 1980). "Blood polymorphism frequencies in the Tofinu, the "Water Men" of Southern Benin". Anthropologischer Anzeiger: 121.
  2. ^ Site Lacustre de Ganvié - UNESCO World Heritage Centre

Coordinates: 6°28′N 2°25′E / 6.467°N 2.417°E / 6.467; 2.417