After the horrendous drive the day before the team decided to have a rest today and explore the local area and especially the Ganvie lake village which is in close vicinity to Cotonou.

This village is often referred to as the Venice of Africa and is occupied by about 25000 people who live in stilted houses in a salt water lake.

Wikipedia describes this village as follows:

The village was established in the sixteenth or seventeenth centuries by the Tofinu people, established on the lake because the slave trading tribe of the Dahomey had a religious ban on their warriors entering water, making the islands in the lagoon a safe territory for other tribes.

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

Wikipedia unquote…

A taxi took Andre and Willy to the lake from where they went on board of a wooden boat inclusive of outboard motor together a guide and the boat owner.

It is hard to believe but this city on water has every ingredient of other Africa can towns such as schools,hospitals, private hospitals and churches of all denominations. There are shops, hotels and restaurants the mayor has is municipal office and there is a market place but everything on stilts with water underneath.

Rather than describing here are some pictures to understand the scene…

Fish farms replace vegetable gardens…

Fish farms replace vegetable gardens

Fish farms replace vegetable gardens

 

And all houses are on stilts with visitors needing a boat to have a neighbourly chat…

 

And all houses are on stilts with visitors needing a boat to have a neighbourly chat

And all houses are on stilts with visitors needing a boat to have a neighbourly chat

 

A restaurant and adjacent art gallery was chosen to quench some thirst…

 

A restaurant and adjacent art gallery was chosen to quench some thirst

A restaurant and adjacent art gallery was chosen to quench some thirst

 

…Helloo from Ganvie (Venice of Africa) – Willy’s T shirt reads:

I’m in shape! Round is a Shape……

 

Helloo from Ganvie (Venice of Africa) – Willy’s T shirt reads

Helloo from Ganvie (Venice of Africa) – Willy’s T shirt reads

 

Moving from A to B cannot be done without a boat…

 

Moving from A to B cannot be done without a boat

Moving from A to B cannot be done without a boat

 

..And the trading on the market place is also from boat to boat…

 

And the trading on the market place is also from boat to boat

And the trading on the market place is also from boat to boat

 

The tour guide working out his next move in the new game he has learned to love and did not want to give up playing

 

The tour guide working out his next move in the new game he has learned to love and did not want to give up playing

The tour guide working out his next move in the new game he has learned to love and did not want to give up playing

 

But after his next move he admitted that Germans are not only great soccer players.

 

But after his next move he admitted that Germans are not only great soccer players

But after his next move he admitted that Germans are not only great soccer players

 

Ganvie is indeed a great place to visit and team Lipstick can recommend this to anyone coming here for a long weekend or so….

Back to Cotonou by taxi and the afternoon was spend by cleaning Lipstick and deciding on the best route to enter Nigeria the next morning with various options open – but being warned that the border post close to Lagos has won all Oscars in the category “Most chaotic border crossing of the Universe”

It looks like team Lipstick will attempt to enter Nigeria a bit further up the border with Benin – more to follow but keep in mind that Internet connections are not easy to get hold of in this part of the world – so it may take a while….

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