Ninki Nanka: Dragon-Like Monster | Facts, Sightings & Myths

West African folklore has inspired the mythical creature which is dubbed as a Ninki Nanka. It is a reptilian beast with a dragon-like plausibility as well as scales all over its body and it has been a popular subject of West African storytelling. Although many people believe there is no such thing as a Ninki Nanka, some cultures believe there is. The people of Gambia have a rich and diverse cultural tradition and their timeless myth. The dragon is a mythical figure for the people of Gambia, who believe it has thick scales, an elongated body, and a head crest or a winged-dragon.

1Dragon Like Ninki Nanka Have Different Appearances Based On The Sightings Or Myths

At one point in 1944, Early descriptions of the Ninki Nanka depicted to this beast as a “huge reptilian-like monster” that comes out of the darkness from the mud and slime of mangrove swamps and consumes whatever it finds before disappearing back into the murky depths of the marshes.

In the year of 1935, Doctor Thomas Hardie Dalrymple was told about an animal. The animal was documented as a creature that mostly lived submerged in the slime of the mangrove forests. On moonlit nights, it would come out and crawl along the water’s surface searching for food on leaves. With the head and face of a horse, sloping back like a crocodile and neck like a “giraffe,” this beast was thought to be 30 feet long.

In great detail, A photograph of a concrete dinosaur statue in the Gambia causes excitement among some locals. The person who took the photo, Doctor Thomas Hardie Dalrymple, initially claims that one of the natives said “A white man photographed Ninke Nanka”. Well-known survey completed in the 1940s, determined that adults preferred water to other living things it means; they live in the water. While babies spend a lot of time in baobab trees during the rainy season and sightings were mostly reported near or at the start of this season.

Some experts believe the existence of such a creature is a myth. The creature is considered to be a horned animal with three unusual horns, including one on the forehead as well as two others on the head. It’s also said that it was often described as extremely dangerous. This was the first known use of the word by English-speakers. As a Gambian man interviewed by Matthew Hall invented a new drawing that became known as the Ninki-Nanka in the year 2000, a long-necked animal with small legs and a large body was labeled a “kind of dragon.” According to legends It is believed to control water, causing floods.

It is yet unknown what exactly this Ninki Nanka is. Because it has never been described before, each person who has seen it describes the creature differently. Different descriptions have been imparted on the Ninki Nanka according to the Centre for Fortean Zoology in 2006. The Ninki Nanka is described as a “huge, powerful, and horrific” beast with four legs and a horrible head. It has an animalistic head resembling a crocodile with different teeth, but it also has bat wings like a python and the ability to breathe fire. Its gigantic body has scales that shine, or it may even have “a crest of fire on its head.” However, most descriptions seem to agree that it has the body of a snake-like animal with the head looking like a kangaroo.

One other person mentioned that As it grows over time, it could become the size of a 60-foot palm tree and it would find its way out into the deeper sea when it’s ready it means; as it grows larger, it moves deeper in the sea. A lone eyewitness survived to tell of his experience on the day of the incident involving the ninki-nanka. The man described the creature as a 160 foot long animal that was covered in shimmering scales with a feathery crest atop its horse-like face. The creature emerged from a large hole in the surface of the ground – that did not have wings or legs. At times, it was described as having writing on its crest, and one of the attributes described repeatedly was the mirrors-like scales.

Some Africans have a variety of opinions about Ninki Nanka, that’s why it’s important to do more research. It is believed that the more information you gather and the clearer your positions become, the easier it will be to make policy decisions. When Chris Moiser conducted a study about the Ninki Nanka in urban Gambia in the year of 2000, he revealed that there are differenting attitudes to the meaning of this term (Ninki Nanka).

If you ask someone whether the tales of an animal are real or not, chances are they’ll give you a different answer. This often happens because people emphasize different aspects of the rumor. In this case, both the Wolof taxi driver and schoolteacher believed that it was real but feared and taboo, while some local jewelers traded trinkets, even a Mandinka hotel cashier dismissed the idea of it as a myth. Shortly after Matthew Hall’s visit, a Gambian man revealed to him that the Ninki Nanka had been around for a long time, but it was now essentially extinct.

This is not strictly true. One informant offered a different perspective by saying that the Ninki Nanka is still alive, and most of the time it’s just scarcely seen.

2 Famous Sightings Of Ninki Nanka Dragon


Although no one is sure as to whether it’s a real creature, according to one statement, a Ninki Nanka supposedly died and buried it on the south beach after being killed by an “old wise man” wielding a machete. Some experts have speculated that the Ninki Nanka sightings which have only been documented for a long time in Kotu could be several thousand years old. It’s possible that the man who saw them died of these sightings, too. A jeweler relates this story to his uncle. Supposedly, the uncle of a jeweler claimed to have encountered a Ninki Nanka monster in Kotu upriver from where he lived many years before 2006. The man died about five years later, and the jeweler believes that the sighting killed him.

There are also rumors that a kangaroo-faced, fork-tongued ninki nanka was spotted in the forest and After witnessing this, one of the eyewitnesses ended up dead and it remains a mystery to this day.


The locals experienced a worrisome and difficult time when the British authorities drained their lake of water in the year of 1911. They were actually concerned with a “dragon” because it was rumored to live in the depths of a nearby lake, locals feared that their last hope of living would be defeated by this beast of the water.

The locals believed that the only thing the dragon feared was its own reflection, so they constructed a mirror in order to protect themselves, in other words that the inhabitants could face their fears and later think that it would be trapped and never come out. It was never seen again after it had been erected; it means the dragon mysteriously disappeared.


After being disrupted one night about agitated local peoples in 1935 by the River Gambia, Doctor Thomas Hardie Dalrymple made further inquiries. The locals were informed that something called a Ninki Nanka monster had been spotted. Weeks later, Dalrymble received word of another active ninki nanka, However, he found themselves unable to continue their search because of an infestation of mosquitoes.


Many people have reported seeing a ninki nanka around what is now Abuko. One known sighting was recorded by a guard man, named Papa Jinda who claims to have seen it in 1943 around Abuko. He describes it as an animal covered in shining scales and says that it was huge.


Some believe that Papa Jinda observed a ninki nanka again in the year of 1947, and soon after at this point in time, he began to suffer from health problems, including leg and side pain, headaches, and hair loss. Two weeks later, he died of the effects.


The 1992-1993 Gambia River incident, where overnight, the River Gambia was contaminated by a black foul-smelling substance. Although initial symptoms were minimal, they quickly became severe and caused the death of thousands of fish and sickened thousands more in the surrounding area (Local People). There are many theories surrounding the cause of the pollution. One of them, the cause of the pollution, was theorized to be the remains of a dragon that washed into one of the streams by heavy rains.


According to many reports, a ninki nanka wreaked havoc on a road. This such accident occurred somewhere between 2001 and 2003 on a rainy day when a ninki nanka caused a lorry to crash. Instead of damaging only the lorry, a spacious furrow was created along the road due to its crossing.


Despite being firmly contradicted by claims made by another witness, a man stated to see a ninki nanka three years before the 2006 CFZ campaign for the first time in Kiang West. His name was Momomodu, and he was a park ranger there. He watched this creature emerge from a hole in the ground. It traveled around for more than an hour before disappearing back into the hole. He fell ill and got lesions on his skin two weeks later. The disease was cured when a famous Imam gave him the remedy from a herbal potion.

3 Experts & Cryptozoological Theories Based On Ninki Nanka

Many people have speculated about the basic physical characteristics of the ninki nanka ever since Richard Freeman’s initial observations. According to Richard Freeman, he believed that the ninki nanka might be actually a giant, marsh-dwelling monitor lizard with a long neck. It had a similar size to the Australian Megalania as well. In the years following the 2006 campaign, this cryptid had its only one first-hand eyewitness. To Freeman, this meant it might have been a memory of something previously alive and now extinct in the Gambia. However, Freeman did not rule out the possibility that such a snake could still exist elsewhere in Africa. At some point, this now-extinct or extirpated snake would have been considered a boogeyman kind of beast. This could have been due to the coming of Islam, which may have demonized this type of animal so it wouldn’t be associated with evil.

Another explanation by Oll Lewis was that the ninki nanka is a manifestation of a pre-Islamic python deity which has been demonized. A possible meaning of the term ninki nanka has been suggested by Dale A. Drinnon, and it has been applied to diverse aquatic creatures such as elephant seals, giant stingrays, and even feasible spacious monitor lizards. He singles out the attributes of animal-like bodies such as, elephant seals overall have a very unusual appearance. One attribute is the long trunk and puffy skin that covers their bodies. Another specific one is the 30′ length including a fat body and powerful trunk. Although the document is not conclusive, he also proposed a relationship between water elephants and Benin. He uses the term “water elephant” referencing not only the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but also Benin and Nigeria.

Drinnon focuses more on early descriptions of the animal as a long-necked, giraffe-like, reptilian creature. He speculates that the sivathere is most likely this animal based on the description of its head that looks like that of a horse or a rare type of giraffe with uncommon, horse-like horns.

4Ninki Nanka In Popular Culture

Touré Kunda is a Senegalese music group who released an album named Casamance au Clair de Lune in 1984. Their most notable track, “Ninki Nanka”, has been included in the album.

5Gambia Expeditions For Dragon Like Creature

The River Gambia is one of the most renowned tours in Africa. Nowadays, you can take an exciting tour with expert guides along the Ninki Nanka Trails – a trek that shares observations of the River Gambia. It’s a great place to go for enthusiasts, and a popular destination for tourists who are in search of fascinating wildlife and wildlife tracking expeditions.

A large expedition known as the “J. T. Downes Memorial Gambia Expedition 2006” gained a lot of attention and it was featured in many online articles.