Very close to the Ocean , the largest and most beautiful African stilt village.
We will cross the Lake Nokwe with a motorized boat to reach Ganvie, the largest and most beautiful African stilt village. The approximately 25,000 inhabitants, of the Tofinou ethnic group, build their huts on teak stilts and cover the roofs with a thick layer of leaves. Fishing is their main activity. The village has been able to preserve its particular customs and environment as despite the long-lasting human presence in a closed environment, the lake is not over fished.
Life unfolds each day within the canoes that men, women and children lead with ease using brightly colored poles. It is with these canoes that men fish, women deliver goods to the market and children go to school and play.
We start our visit in the sacred forest where people believe that the founder of the town, King Kpasse, turned himself into a tree, which is standing in the middle of the site. The forest is the places for rites and sacrifice in honor of Voodoo and for protection of the town
Then we move to the Portuguese Fort (Fortaleza Sao Joao Batista), built in 1721, and now a museum on:
â€¢ the history of Ouidah and Dahomey Kingdom,
â€¢ slave trade,
â€¢ influence of slaves on Brazilian culture
â€¢ and the influence of former slaves who came back to Ouidah and Guinea Gulf.
Afterwards, we finish our tour of the city by following the Way of Non-Return (â€œslave routeâ€) to the beach where the slaves embarked. We stop on the beach to see the touching memorial which has been set up in 1992.
- MusÃ©e Ethnographique de Porto Novo, an interesting museum that takes an intensive look into the past of Porto Novoâ€™s kings. Displaying a good selection of fetishes, old Yoruba king masks, costumes, and some musical instruments.
- Palais Royal du Roi Toffa. This former residence of King Toffa is now officially called Musee HonmÃ©. This well maintained, rather simple, palace is a nice look into how African royalty really lived. 1883 was the year King Toffa signed the treaty with French, agreeing to hand over land. The kingdom of Porto Novo was one of the longest lasting in Africa, lasting up until 1976.
- MusÃ©e da Silva. Celebrating Afro-Brazilian influence on the city, this fairly new museum offers a lot of variety. The museum grounds consist of a traditional house, a small library, an open-air cinema showing French films, and a hotel.
- The unique and perhaps most colourful building in West Africa is the 19th century Brazilian style church now converted into a mosque. A must-see.
(*) All prices are approximations due to currency fluctuations.