Friday 19 August 2011

Stilt Village of Ganvié, Benin

This village on stilts should be noted as an official World Heritage site! Just outside the capital city of Contonou, Ganvié is home to about 30,000 Tofinu. The entire village’s buildings sit on 2 meter high stilts above the water.

Back in the 17th century, the Tofinu fled to Ganvie to escape slavery by the Dahomey. Their attempted captors, who were afraid of water and disallowed to enter it due to religious reasons, thus left the residents alone.

And what do the residents live off of? Fish of course!

*Tip: Take public transport or a private person’s canoe if you can sneak it! The Ministry of Tourism will charge you 25x what locals pay (and they are a government agency).


  1. What happens if it floods and the water level gets too high?

  2. Truth! Flooding is one of the two main environmental hazards of the village - the other is pollution. Benin is prone to flooding, but for obvious reasons (i.e. stilts), the village is in a bit better situation that the rest of the country.