So the Centaur, Minotaur, Pegasus, Dragon and loads of other creatures are known to every one of us due to their use in popular fiction and they have become a part of our culture.
But we’re Africans right? The Dragon is typically European, the Pegasus, Centaur and Minotaur are originally Greek which still makes them European. The Namahage and Nue are Asian in origin; the Americans have the Sasquatch (LOL!) so where does that leave Africa?
Do we have any mythological creatures at all?
Of course we do! And they’re as terrifying or cuddly as their foreign counterparts. Here’s a list of the top ten African mythological creatures.
This is a mythological creature from Southern Africa which is a cross between a snake and an Elephant.
He was supposed to just be a snake but it seemed one of the gods didn’t get the memo and he was born an Elephant and Snake. The monster grew too powerful so the gods set to right their wrongs and divide it into the classes it belonged anyway; Snake and Elephant.
But one of the monsters escaped this fate and went on to produce even more of the creatures.
Fun fact, the monster was featured on the cartoon, The Secret Saturdays.
9) NINKI NANKA
This creature is said to originate from Gambia and is a Dragon with Dinosaur like features. It is said to reside in the rivers of the Gambia and legend has it that it can be a whopping 15 meters long! That’s about 50ft.
That’s a lot of feet. The most popular description of the creature indicates it has the body of a Crocodile, the neck of a Giraffe and the head of a Horse. It is also said to have three horns, one on either side and a boss horn at the top of its head.
No one knows for sure, but you can be rest assured that the Ninki Nanka is terrifying, even though the name is pretty awesome.
This creature is said to be from South Africa and is described as an eel-like water creature.
From American Monsters
“The Inkanyamba are said to be a population of large, migratory, carnivorous eels, which are allegedly indigenous to southern Africa. The most renowned representative of this extremely rare species is said to dwell in the deep pools beneath South Africa’s legendary Howick Falls (known to the Zulu as “kwaNogqaza” or “The Tall One”.
In some images it is depicted as having a horse or Zebra’s head, like this one:
The creatures are also believed to have a severe impact on the weather and as recently as 1998, the Inkanyamba were blamed by natives for some nasty storms that had swept the area.
Well, if the picture doesn’t terrify you, then you’re a better man than me.
This is probably the closest Africa has to a vampire.
They are said to be found in Western Africa and are humanoid in shape and appearance.
It has Iron fangs with which it drains its victims. It dwells in the forest and is believed to only attack when its territory is attacked. It hangs from trees upside down just like a bat…or Batman.
So when next you decide to go on a little adventure into the forest, think twice because the Asanbosam is unlikely to be deterred by bug spray and it’s unknown if after being bitten, people become Edward Cullen. I wouldn’t want to take the risk.
Oh and it has a sister creature called the Sasabonsam…with wings.
The Impundulu from South Africa is the original thunder bird. The name Impundulu literally means Lightning bird.
It is said to be the size of a human…let that sink in…just imagine Big bird from Sesame street with lightening powers and a lack of empathy.
And it gets worse. The lightening bird also has the power to shapeshift and can then suck on the blood of victims.
It is also said to be the familiar of witches, you wonder why they can’t just have cute little creatures or snarky talkatives like Hedwig…or Iago.
Oh but the eggs of the Impundulu has medicinal powers, so…you know…totally go hunt one.
5) MOKELE MBEMBE
The Mokele Mbembe is….well, it’s a dinosaur or at least it looks a hell of a lot like one.
Its name means “one who stops the flow of rivers” and it’s huge, like VERY HUGE.
There have been expeditions launched just to search for this creature and there have been a bunch of alleged sightings.
It has a Loch Ness monster vibe to it but it’s unknown if it’ll like to be called ‘Bessie’ or ‘Mbessi’ or ‘Messi’?
That was a horrible joke, let’s move on to the next one.
Finally a hot entry!
They are fairies that originate from Senegal and are just as small as you’d imagine them– like Tinkerbell.
Legend has it that they live on Goree Island, just off the coast of the capital, Dakar. As mentioned before, they are small and have silver hair (just imagine the girl in the image above has silver hair) and they are not house-elves (Take that Harry Potter Wikia!).
They partake in weird feasts on large tables, served by partially invisible servants whose feet and hands are the only parts visible.
Yumboes eat corn and fish which they are said to steal and are basically harmless and have even been said to invite human guests to their feasts.
Some call them the ‘Bakhna Rakhna’ (good people).
The Popobawa is a truly terrifying creature. Said to originate from Tanzania, the creature appears as a normal human being by day and by night he becomes – no, not a superhero—a one-eyed, winged bat-like creature/demon.
What’s more terrifying is that the Popobawa is a pervert and legend has it that it sodomizes its victims (both men and women) and is pretty nasty if the victim doesn’t believe in him.
Its name in Swahili mean ‘Bat wing’ which should never be misconstrued as ‘Night wing’ as that could cause a bit of a problem especially if you maybe say it to the monster.
This is one of the only cute and cuddly creatures you’d find on here. The Abada is said to originate from Congo mythology.
It is quite similar to the Unicorn as they are incredibly rare and shy and their horns have magical properties.
The similarities end there though as the Abada is more like a gazelle in appearance and it has two horns instead of one which are not straight at all.
Legend also has it that it has a boar’s tail.
So all in all a pretty cute creature, good luck finding one
1) EGYPTIAN SPHINX
This is probably the OG of African mythological creatures. While typically associated with the Greeks, the Egyptians have their own Sphinx and legend has it that while it has strengths comparable to the Greek Sphinx, it is way nicer.
Also while the Greek Sphinx is typically seen as female, the Egyptian Sphinx is said to be male and is typically a guardian of temples.
The Sphinx that stands in Egypt at the moment was said to have been built in 2500BC…yes that long and it still stands—Amazing!
Well that’s it, 10 creatures you might never have known existed, feel free to Oooh and Ahhh In the comments section. If you have more, feel free to mention them too. I will also gladly receive praise and admiration. So, go ahead!
Till next time.