Ghana has a floating village and it's amazing. The village, called Nzulezo, is built over Lake Tandane with stilt structures over water and houses built from branches of raffia palm. The name Nzulenzo itself comes from a local language, Nzema, meaning "surface of the water."
Nzulenzo is found in Jomora District of Western Ghana, 300 kilometres from Accra, Ghana's capital. For many centuries, this village has coexisted with nature and, like many African cultures, is a perfect symbiosis of people and Earth. The first inhabitants of the village are said to have migrated from Mali in the 15th century after a war with the Mande people over land and gold. The legend goes that they were led by their god - who appeared in the form of a snail - to Lake Tandane where they settled and, following the directions of the snail-god, built the village on the water for safety and security. The wooden structures still exist to this day and residents still live in them.
Tourism in Nzulenzo started around 20 years ago. Visitations are only allowed once a week. Every family currently in Nzulezo has its own street, and every street is named after the head of that family. Every family also has its own canoe, and canoes are the only means of transport in Nzulenzo. This brings comparison to places like Venice.
Aside from going to see the floating village, tourists also go to see the rare turtle species, monkeys and crocodiles that Nzulenzo is known for, as well as its famous local gin known as Akpeteshi. The tourists come from within and without Ghana. Revenue from tourism, as well as charitable donations, help support the village. Aside from relying on tourism, the residents mainly practice agriculture and fishing. On Thursday, however, it is forbidden to work as Thursday is a sacred day to the lake.
Although Nzulenzo maintains its traditional way of living, it has also introduced modern things such as electricity. Because of its location on a body of water, Nzulenzo has a malaria problem. The residents of Nzulenzo hope to soon build a round-the-clock healthcare facility.
Nzulenzo was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List on January 17, 2000, in the Cultural category.
Header Image Credit: Chris Travel Blog