Ganvie is a village of roughly 30,000 people that stands on stilts in the middle of Lake Nokoue. The founders of the village fled there to avoid Fon warriors, and in the roughly 500 years that have passed since, Ganvie has developed an intricate and prosperous culture within the constraints of life on the lake.

A school is the only one of Ganvie’s 3,000 buildings that exists on land, although a cemetery mound is currently under construction. The villagers of Ganvie travel almost exclusively by boat, and the few domesticated land-animals they maintain live on plots of grass that spring up from the water.

Without a good supply of domesticated animals, Ganvie relies on a complicated network of underwater fencing to corral and farm various fish populations.


The village sits several miles from the nearest shoreline and is about a 4 hour journey from the capital. Ganvie in Africa’s the largest lake village in the world. 

According to atlasobscura