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African Cryptids: 9 Mysterious Monsters of Africa

I'm a softie when it comes to animals, crazy about baseball (especially the Cardinals) and a news junkie. I'm also a fan of cryptozoology.

Learn about nine legendary creatures in Africa, from the lion-like Marozi to the Mamlambo river monster.

Learn about nine legendary creatures in Africa, from the lion-like Marozi to the Mamlambo river monster.

Just about everyone has heard of the Loch Ness Monster in Scotland and Bigfoot in North America. There is much debate on whether these creatures are real or just stories. Surprisingly, there are dozens of these creatures found all over the world.

These beings are called cryptids and are studied by cryptozoologists. Cryptids are organisms whose very existence has yet to be proved or disproved. Many are just made-up stories, but some are real animals that have been thought extinct but are actually existing in areas with a low human population.

The Cryptids of Africa

Here are nine of these creatures thought to live in Africa:

  • Adjule
  • Dingonek
  • J'ba FoFi
  • Marozi
  • Agogwe
  • Inkanyamba
  • Mamlambo
  • Trunko
  • Nandi Bear
An artist's depiction of the Adjule or Bush Dog

An artist's depiction of the Adjule or Bush Dog

9. Adjule

The Adjule is also called a Bush Dog. Males are called Kelb-el-khela, and females are called Tarhsît. It is a canine creature supposedly living close to the Sahara Desert in North Africa. The first sighting was reported in 1928 by Théodore Monod. He was an explorer and naturalist from France. It is possibly an undiscovered variety of African wild dog. Hunters in a village in Western Mauritania last sighted the animal in 1992.

It is described as being about two and a half feet tall. It has webbed feet and thick, rough skin that is crimson in color with a bluish tint to it. They normally hunt in packs ranging from three to thirteen members. The Adjule are not known to attack humans.

An illustration of a Dingonek

An illustration of a Dingonek

8. Dingonek

The first reported sighting of a Dingonek was by explorer John Alfred Jordan in 1907 in the River Maggori in Kenya. Jordan described it as fourteen feet long with a head marked and shaped like a leopard but as big as a lioness. The creature had two long tusks coming down from its upper jaw like a walrus and had scales like an armadillo. The Dingonek was said to be as broad as a hippopotamus and have claws like a giant lizard. It is considered to be semi-aquatic and lives in and near creeks, lakes, and rivers.

Big game hunter Edgar Beecher Bronson also saw the creature and described it almost exactly the same as Jordan did. He called it the “jungle walrus.”

They are said to be extremely territorial and will kill hippos, crocodiles, and fishermen that get too close.

A representation of J'ba FoFi, the Congolese giant spider

A representation of J'ba FoFi, the Congolese giant spider

7. J'ba FoFi

The J’ba FoFi is also known as the Congolese Giant Spider. It is possible that this cryptid is a new species of Arachnid. The J’ba FoFi sets traps for its prey much the same way as a trap-door spider.

The eggs of the creature are a pale yellow or white and peanut shaped. Hatchlings are a bright yellow with a purple stomach. As they get older, they become dark brown. The spider is so frightening because of its size. It has a leg span of nearly five feet and preys on birds and other small game. It is thought to be highly venomous.

The sightings of this cryptid are becoming rarer and rarer.

An artist's depiction of the Marozi

An artist's depiction of the Marozi

6. Marozi

The Marozi has the body of a lion, but it has the spots of a leopard. The animal lives in the mountainous areas of eastern Africa. They supposedly lived in great numbers in the Aberdare Mountains thirty years ago but have slowly been killed off.

There are different theories as to exactly what the creature is. One is that it is just a regular lion that for some reason did not lose the spots it had as a cub. Another is that it is a lion/hyena hybrid, but this is highly unlikely since the two species are mortal enemies. It could be a genetic mutation, but this is extremely rare in the wild. Lastly, it could be an entirely new species or subspecies of one of the big cats.

A sculpture of an Agogwe

A sculpture of an Agogwe

5. Agogwe

The Agogwe is also known as the Kakundakari or Kilomba. It is a human-like creature spotted in the jungles and forests of Congo, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, and Zambia. The first sighting was in 1900 by British Captain William Hichens, but it wasn’t actually reported until the December issue of Discovery magazine in 1937. British Officer Cuthbert Burgoyne stated he saw a similar creature in 1927. The last sighting was in the late 1950s.

It is usually described as being anywhere from two to five feet all. It has disproportionately long arms and rust-colored hair all over its body. The skin underneath has an orange or coppery hue. The Agogwe’s feet are only about five inches long. The animal is quite similar to a modern chimpanzee, but it has a more rounded forehead, sharper and smaller teeth, and different hair and skin color.

Cryptozoologists hypothesize that the Agogwe is a species of australopithecine, which was a very early form of humans living 2.5 million years ago.

Cryptids of Northern Africa

An illustration of an Inkanyamba

An illustration of an Inkanyamba

4. Inkanyamba

The Inkanyamba looks like a snake but with a horse’s head. The majority of sightings are seen at Howick Falls on the Umgeni River in South Africa. Some zoologists suspect it is a type of eel rather than a snake because it lives in waterfalls and lakes. Sightings of this animal go all the way back to cave paintings that have been found on walls of caves inhabited by aboriginals in the KwaZuluNatal area.

Investigators believe the Inkanyamba to be a species of freshwater eel like the anguilla marmorata which grows up to six feet in length. The natives of the region insist the Inkanyamba is over twenty feet long. The creature is rarely seen in the summertime so it is thought to be migratory. They have been seen in the Mkomazi River, at the midmar Dam, and the Dargle area of the Midlands.

Pairs of Inkanyamba have been seen in what looks like fighting but may, in reality, be a mating ritual.

A drawing of the Mamlambo, a brain-sucking river creature

A drawing of the Mamlambo, a brain-sucking river creature

3. Mamlambo

Local natives call the Mamlambo the “Brain Sucker.” This so-called monster has terrorized inhabitants along the Mzintlava River in Lesotho and South Africa. It is notorious for dragging its victims into the river. Supposedly it only eats the head and brains.

Witnesses have described it as being six to seven feet in length with short legs and a long tail. The torso looks like a crocodile and the head has horse-like features. There have been suggestions that it is bioluminescent, meaning it emits light like some jellyfish. Some witnesses have reported that it has shining green eyes.

The most recent reported sighting was in April of 1997 near the village of Lubaleko on the Mzintlava River in South Africa.

A photo of the supposed Trunko

A photo of the supposed Trunko

2. Trunko

The Trunko was first reported in an article in London’s Daily Mail on December 24, 1924. It was seen off the coast fighting with two killer whales. The battle lasted for three hours, and the Trunko finally succumbed to the two whales.

The creature is described as having snow-white fur, an elephant-like trunk, and a lobster-like tail. After it was killed by the killer whales, its body washed up on shore. It measured 47 feet long, ten feet wide, and five feet high. The trunk was five feet long with a diameter of 14 inches. The tail was ten feet long, and the fur was eight inches long. It appeared there was no head, and the trunk was attached to the torso.

Cryptids of Southern Africa

A drawing of a Nandi Bear, which is possibly a misidentified hyena

A drawing of a Nandi Bear, which is possibly a misidentified hyena

1. Nandi Bear

Nandi Bears have been seen all over the continent of Africa and are called different names depending on their location. Some of its names are Chimisit, Duba, Kerit, and Ngoloko. There are no known members of the bear family living in Africa now. There was a species called the Atlas Bear, but it went extinct in the late 1700s.

The Nandi Bear is described as looking like a cross between a bear and a hyena. It is about four to six feet tall. The coat ranges in color from a reddish brown to a dark, almost black, brown. It leaves behind tracks that are almost nine inches long with five toes and look distinctly canine.

The creature is nocturnal and has been known to kill humans on moonless nights. Natives have burned down their own homes after trapping one inside. Westerners have also shot at it with no success.

There is speculation that the Nandi Bear is simply a hyena that has been misidentified. Another theory is that it is a surviving chalicotheres, which was similar to the early horse but went extinct 781,000 years ago.