Abomey-Calavi is the departure point for Ganvie and is the main town of the area. It has the largest university in Benin with 28000 students. The university was built here because there was not enough land in Cotonou. There is small hotel by the jetty where you can get a room or a drink. We didn’t try it as we were staying in Cotonou which is...more
As you pass through the main “street” of Ganvie, you will pass the floating market right in the centre of town. Most of the sellers are women who sit in their small canoes surrounded by their goods which can be anything from fruit and vegetables, meat, fish, wood for cooking and fabrics to hardware and pottery. Many of the women wear very wide...more
There are many fish farms on Lake Nakoue and you will pass them on the way to Ganvie. They are owned by the local people. At one time the government tried to say that because the farms are on water and not land that they are the property of the government. However the local people won the argument saying they are the property of the ancestors. The...more
This statue was built by the UN in 1998 to commemorate the festival of lake villages, which was held in Ganvie. It shows 2 men on the back of a bird. It is built high enough so it doesn't get wet when the water level in Lake Nakoue is higher.You can get a good view of it from the hotel Germain, which is on the far side of town opposite the school.more
Lake Nakoue is 52sq km and is next to the sea. The water is salty 9 months of the year and fresh the other 3 months. Water Hyacinths grow naturally when the water is fresh, and they clean the water of impurities. They actually like dirty, polluted water, the dirtier the better. When the water is salty the salt kills the water hyacinths and they...more
We stopped at the Hotel Germain for lunch after our boat tour of Ganvie. The restuarant is spacious, not crowded and quite cool and airy. The beer and the mineral water were served quickly and were cool enough and the food was really lovely.
Favorite Dish: We had a buffet with a really nice variety of food, a mixture of European and local food. A nice fresh saled with french bread, freshly caught lake fish, a spicy beef stew, a vegatable dish of onions with tomatoes. Everybody's favourite, though, was the fried plantain which was delicious.
Transport to and around Ganvie is of course only by boat. The boats depart from the Lakeside village of Abomey-Calavi which is a short drive from Cotonou. You can purchase tickets at the office there.My trip was pre-booked and our motor boat was covered to protect us from the sun. We also had a local guide who explained the fish farms we passed and...more
The only way to get to Ganvie is ofcourse by the sea. There are motorised boats and pirogues across the lagune from Abomey-Calavi, a 25 minutes ride by car from Cotonou. Getting from Abomey-Calavi and out to Ganvie takes about 1 1/2 hour to 2 1/2 hours depending on what type of boat you take.more
Ganvie gets quite a few tourists now, and some of the people who live there are fed up with being photographed every time a tourist boat comes past. In the main streets, which are quite wide, you are not so close to the houses. But in some of the narrower streets you are quite close.
It is mostly the women who object, probably because they are the most photographed as they wear very colourful clothes. Some of them cover themselves up while others wave their hand at you to tell you not to photograph them. The children don't seem to mind and will smile and wave sometimes.
One of the smaller lake villages near Ganvie is So-Tchonhoue, which is closer to the shore than Ganvie is, and not as big or as pretty. We visited because we were on the German ambassador's boat and we went to look at a bridge the Germans have helped to build here between 2 small islands, which helps the villagers transport their goods across. It...more
There are other lake villages on Lake Nakoue besides Ganvie, but they are not as big and some are not as pretty. This one was called So-Zouko and was about 20 minutes by motor boat from Ganvie. As we arrived the water taxi had arrived from Abomey-Calavi and it was full of people and their shopping.more
Favorite thing: A favourite thing is ofcourse to go around looking at the daily life of the people. If you like taking pictures then Ganvie is a good place. But... dont go up in the local peoples faces and take pictures. They are a bit sensitive about this. If you wanna take pictures of people, ask them first if it is OK. Taking pictures of the town itself as well as peoples from a distance should be no problem at all.