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MTN and Moov shopes, Ganvie, Lake Nokoué, Benin | by Ulrich Münstermann
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MTN and Moov shopes, Ganvie, Lake Nokoué, Benin

Ganvie is a lake village in Benin, 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."

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

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


Lake Nokoué is 20 km wide and 11 km long and covers an area of 4,900 ha. It is partly fed by the Ouémé River and the Sô River, both of which deposit sediments from throughout the region in the lake. The lake, in large part, is a lagoon.

Because of its diverse wildlife, the lake provides an important source of food and economic activity for these towns. Fishing is typically of 30 species of fish, with fish from the Cichlid, Clupeidae and Penaeidae families making 85% of the catch. Fishing is typically artisanal, with small crew dugout canoes catching small batches of fish. The estimated fish production of the lake is 2 tonnes per hectare per year.

The lake is also used for Acadja, a type of fish breeding facility.

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Taken on March 3, 2018