Africa

Makoko: The Venice of Africa?

Updated 6:47 AM ET, Wed February 26, 2020
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A fisherman throws out his net on the lagoon's calm waters. Fisherman immigrating from Benin and Togo initially settled Makoko over a century ago. But as the population of Lagos exploded to its current size of at least 15 million, so too did the population of Makoko. Estimates are anywhere from 85,000 to 250,000 people live there. Errol Barnett/CNN
Nicknamed by some as the "Venice of Africa," the floating village of Makoko in Lagos, Nigeria, is inhabited by people who not only live on water, but also also depend on it for their livelihood. Errol Barnett/CNN
Although Makoko dates back to the 18th century, when it was established as a fishing village, the area is still considered an informal settlement with very limited government presence. AFP/Getty Images
Young men in Makoko are typically put to work building canoes, in business ventures supervised by elders. Here, one teen sits on a plank of timber as two others work to saw it into pieces. Errol Barnett/CNN
Just like any other bustling town, there's a rush hour in Makoko. Most children appear comfortable steering canoes as it is the only mode of transportation in an all-water community, but they must be careful. Errol Barnett/CNN
Through a wired screen sit convenience items in this Makoko-style corner store. Instant noodles, rice, canned goods, fruits and vegetables are all on sale in a structure that also houses a family. Errol Barnett/CNN
Women and children congregate under the Third Mainland Bridge, which connects Lagos Island with Nigeria's mainland. Many who live in Lagos and cross the bridge have never been to Makoko. Errol Barnett/CNN